In business, it is important to maintain an element of consistency, creating a promise of trust. Consistency has a profound impact on the customer’s perception of your company. Customers expect consistent service, supply, and treatment with every transaction. Coincidently, many companies are lacking brand consistency. Different looks and messages in brochures, signage, and graphic driven assets create confusion. Clearly, a brand standard manual is needed. Brand standard manuals and directives are tools used, internally and sometimes externally, to control the way your brand is handled by the world. The manual breaks down your brand into easily followed rules or directives with one goal in mind, consistency. Primarily, it contains ways your brand is allowed to be used, as well as, ways not to.
Here, we will discuss brand standards:
Certified Company Colors
One of the fastest ways to ensure your branding remains consistent and powerful, is by locking in company colors. Tightly controlled colors play a necessary roll in brand consistency. One of the problems faced is truly the shear amount of colors! Each color has variations and good brands know that it’s not just any red or any blue. What one person considers as red, may be fuchsia to another.
Colors also vary greatly, depending on the post script profiles used at a printer and therefore, also vary by vendor and printer, during production.
The correct way to ensure consistent colors in every situation, is to lay out strict rules of for color management. This is often accomplished by assigning PMS colors to your brand standard manual. PMS colors are an industry standard, certified in several ways. Many printers or production vendors are able to match PMS colors, assisting your company with color management and consistency.
Every day, logos are placed on objects, graphics, signage, and a plethora of other places, including digital collateral. Your logo is the seal of your company, speaking volumes, depending how your company handles it. One way that brand can get away from your company, is by allowing inconsistent logos across all applications. A logo should have a set of diagrams, illustrating spacing on a variety of examples.
There will be times when a logo has special considerations in order to make it work. Governing rules and directives are necessary for company logo usage. This is greatly dependent on where you foresee your company logo utilization. In this scenario, it is worth discussing an example:
Consider a logo with many dark colors, showing up extremely well on white and light backgrounds. Now, in a different case, your logo must appear on a dark background. What do you do? Unfortunately, one logo rarely works out in all applications. There may be times where modified or available variations are necessary to account for a broader range of applications. You need a document educating your staff, partners, and vendors how to react accordingly to appropriate color changes. In this case, the logo would need to have a white outline for proper visible contrast. It is also worth noting rules about the types of backgrounds that are off limits. All of these examples would be outlined in the brand standard manual.
Mission Statement and Other Standard Copy
Ask anyone in your company what your mission statement is. Our guess is, not many of your employees can tell you what it is. Plenty of companies might not have a mission statement. Has your company standardized any other strategic text? These are valuable tools for your company and brand, but only if the staff knows what it is, where it is, and how to use it. Again, this is where the brand standard manual comes in, containing snippets of text, allowing quickly and easily to find the required information, and utilize it correctly.
Taglines are typically one of the first things a prospect learns about your company. In the absence of a standard tagline, sales or other forward facing sections are likely to make one up. This should not be allowed. A carefully, thought out tagline should be protected and consistently used, ensuring your company is all on the same page. When the company tagline is changed, update the brand standard manual.
Branding standard manuals are designed to protect your brand by maintaining consistency. Without consistency, you will not effectively build or grow your brand, over time, causing massive damage to your reputation. Start thinking about how you would handle your brand in a vacuum, then develop a branding standards manual. Your brand will thank you later.