At the beginning stages of your business, branding is typically not at the top items on your list. Most new and/or small businesses will put it towards the middle or at the end of their to-dos. Once you get to that part of your to-do list, you may have no idea where to even start. It can be a daunting task that makes you feel overwhelmed to the point of avoidance. This seems irrational, we know. But we’ve seen plenty of organizations that have done exactly that, and come to us for help. We typically will start with a brand book. Our clients ask, “Oh great, but what is a brand book?”
When building your business, branding seems like the cherry on top. It looks nice, but it’s not always necessary. That is the wrong frame of mind to have! Branding can sometimes make or break your company. So, let’s get started and break down the “must know”s of a brand book.
What’s In A Brand Book?
A brand book is simply a set of rules that explain how your brand works and functions. In more official terms, it is an official document that lays out explaining your brand’s identity and presents the brand standards. Some refer to a brand book as: brand guide, brand manual, brand toolkit, brand identity book, style guide, or visual identity guidelines. Brand books influence every aspect of communication, marketing campaigns, and services/products. It affects every department as your business grows. Keep your marketers, sales teams, designers and more aligned with consistent brand messaging.
Here are a few things that can be included in your brand book:
- Your brand’s history, vision, mission statement, personality, and key values
- Logos (examples of correct and incorrect logo treatments)
- Tone of voice
- Design system
- Business card and letterhead design
- Color palette
Know that your brand rules should be flexible enough for your creative teams to function. It should also be rigid for your brand to be stylistically consistent and recognizable. If you want a more detailed brand guide, it will include some of the following items:
- Supporting graphic elements
- Design layouts and grids
- Photography style
- Signage specifications
- Advertising treatments
- Website layout
- Social media profile page applications
- Brochure/flyer layout options
- Merchandising applications
- Editorial guidelines
Take these strategic guidelines to serve your business with the following purposes:
- Keeping your whole team on message
- Improving your brand position
- Add depth to your brand by aligning it with your business strategy
Your brand guide should be developed when your logo is being designed by an exceptional graphic designer, your marketing team or a marketing agency. What does this do for your brand book? It will help all of your promotional channels stay consistent. No matter what the future holds for your business or who is working for you down the road, a brand guide will keep each department aligned. Even when you’re promoting your brand through a third party hire (i.e. photographers, designers, printers, advertisers, etc.), your finished brand book helps convey your company’s message, image, and service/products. Always meet with these third party hires to discuss at greater length about your brand in case they have questions or need clarity.
So, what is a brand book? To put it plainly, it’s your company’s branding bible. Keep your organization consistent and on track with one, and you can avoid a messy brand. If you are looking for guidance or help with creating your brand book, contact Dorian Solutions today!