Want to be taken seriously as a professional? Then you need to put effort into your business brand consistency.
There’s an easy way for consumers to see the difference between a fly by night operation and one that plans on being around for a long time.
Consistency in professionalism, customer service, and branding all contribute to being seen as a trustworthy business. It’s an important part of a businesses reputations.
The challenge is accomplishing brand consistency across all employees. The more people and more departments the harder it becomes to maintain brand consistency.
Add a new department and suddenly they think the guidelines don’t apply to them or worse, they don’t even know about them! Each department sees themselves as a unique entity within the organization and sometimes doesn’t even know company-wide brand guidelines exist.
That needs to stop for a company to appear consistent in the eyes of consumers. There’s nothing more important than propagating an image of togetherness.
There are a few things you can do to help build your business brand consistency.
Keeping Brand Consistency Company Wide
There’s no single thing you can do to help create or keep brand consistency company-wide, it’s true.
Then again, when is there ever one thing to a solution?
You can’t expect to plug a few color hex codes into a word document, store it on your computer and call it good. If you’re the only one in your company then that might work but beyond you, that’s never a good solution.
Even if there are only two people then how do you reconcile changes?
What if you work with a freelancer?
You don’t want to email a document with brand guidelines because if they continue to do work for you then they’ll eventually have an outdated document.
What does in your brand guidelines too? Hex codes are a good start but they’re far from what you need to keep your business brand consistency airtight.
Create brand guidelines
The first thing you must do for a consistent brand company-wide is to create brand guidelines.
That sounds pretty obvious but you’d be surprised. Also, it’s sometimes hard to know what should go into brand guidelines and what is fine to leave up to creativity.Every organization no matter what size should at least have minimal brand guidelines defined. Click To Tweet
Too stringent of brand guidelines can suck all the life and creativity out of your company. There’s nothing worse than doing that and having your marketing bland and cookie-cutter.
What to include in brand guidelines
Here are a few suggestions of what should absolutely be documented in your brand guidelines:
- Color codes-you should include the hex code and the RGB code with all your company colors (I hope no more than 5) at a minimum. If any other information about colors is necessary be sure to include that also.
- Logo-include all the versions of your logo and how they can be used. General guidelines are OK such as what logo to use on different color backgrounds. Some brand guidelines document go so far as to define necessary buffers around the logo and other fancy stuff. Also, do’s and don’ts are included but not necessary.
- Font face-show the main font for your company and also any secondary fonts. There should be at least one header font defined and one body font. They could be the same but that needs to be defined in your guidelines.
- Font size-with the font face defined you should also define the font sizes for each variation. You should define at least each header size (1-6 at least) and the body font size.
Those are the main parts of brand guidelines but anything that defines your business and keeps it consistent is good to include.
I also define how buttons look for my business so those are consistent also. I’ve even seen some that have gone as far as defining photography moods.
Creating brand guidelines is great but they won’t do much good in a vacuum. You have to do a little something more to make sure your brand guidelines are known and used by everyone.
Make brand guidelines easily available to all
This is often where things go wrong yet it’s the most important step.
You have to make brand guidelines available to all in one central location. Not only that but the only place brand guidelines should be seen is in a central location.
That means you don’t want people to download your brand guidelines. Even the smallest change means there are outdated guidelines out there and then inconsistencies are reintroduced into your brand.
You can make your brand guidelines available in a shared document (one central location), a shared PDF that’s encouraged not to be downloaded, or best of all a page on your intranet.
Google sites is available for every business small to large if you subscribe to G Suite. There are a lot of options for you to share your brand guidelines with employees and freelancers.
Making the guidelines available to everyone is a great step in the direction of keeping your business brand consistent. The bigger the company the more important it is to go beyond simply making the guidelines available.
Marketing The Brand Guidelines
Creating guidelines and making them available is one thing but not enough for most. If your business is just two people then it’s not a big deal, just tell the other person about them!
Well, what about when you’re 50 people in multiple departments? Telling them all about it is a bit more difficult. It’s even more difficult when you start getting into the hundreds or two-hundreds.
At those sizes keeping everyone in the organization on point with branding guidelines is a bit like herding cats. That’s where everyone starts doing their own thing. Each department starts to do what they want and individual employees usually aren’t communicated with about the brand guidelines.
Then there’s the problem with new hires coming on. How do they know about the brand guidelines?
There’s a bit of marketing required to make sure that branding guidelines are known to everyone and that they’re easy to access and understand. There’s almost always a disconnect between the brand guidelines to how they’re actually used if they’re not promoted within the organization.Marketing often has a bad habit of putting effort into creating brand guidelines but not enough in marketing those guidelines. Click To Tweet
It’s more likely that most of the effort is put into creating the brand guidelines rather than promoting it. Marketing creates guidelines but then doesn’t promote them. That’s a common scenario.
An effort has to be put into marketing the brand guidelines also. Business brand consistency only comes from everybody being on the same brand page. That means marketing has to not only create brand guidelines but also market them throughout the organization.
It’s not only important for large organizations either. Brand guidelines need to be promoted and marketed for any size organization.
How Consistent Is Your Brand?
Sometimes it’s hard to understand how others see our brand. It may take someone from the outside who can take an objective look at your organization and its brand.
Our free Online Presence Report is a good way to see how you appear online. We check to make sure your brand is high-quality and consistent across the internet.
Part of the goal of our digital marketing solutions is to help businesses with their brand consistency. That means we start by defining what it is in your organization that requires consistency and then help define that to the world.