And How it Relates to Customer Loyalty
“If Coca-Cola were to lose all of its production-related assets in a disaster, the company would survive.”
– A Coca-Cola Executive
The reason? Because of their in-depth brand style guide that guides everything Coca-Cola.
The most important thing that a company has are brand guidelines (sometimes known as a visual identity guide), something to help employees understand how to properly represent the organization both internally and, most importantly, externally.
If you have an in-depth brand style guide, nothing is open to discussion and it minimizes the chance of error: there’s a right way and – inherently – there’s a wrong way.
Now that you have a broad understanding regarding the importance of guidelines within a style guide, let’s look at the particulars, the five specific reasons creating one is integral to your brand.
If everything is written down, all employees can reference the brand guidelines for any inward or outward materials, leading to all collateral looking, reading and overall feeling the same.
Whether it’s the tone, the colour palette, content, a social media presence or the logo, the more consistent and persistent you are, the more people begin to recognize you. The more people recognize you, the more they trust you, and trust leads to purchasing and promoting.
Helps You Work With Outside Agencies
Brand guidelines also help rid the stress which commonly accompanies working with external organizations.
When you work with outside agencies, you have clear guidelines to give them which helps them mirror who you are.
Let’s return to the example of Coca-Cola, their style guide is 46 pages long; they cover themselves from every single angle on what people are allowed to do and what you’re not allowed to do when using any aspect of their brand.
Sets Standards and Rules
This is particularly important for your new employees. Even if you know your brand identity through and through, people who are new to your company do not and this guide can act as a compass for them.
Through brand guidelines, new employees will know what the company culture is, how to hold themselves within the organization, how to write an email, how to write any collateral, where and what type of logo is appropriate to use etc.
Having brand guidelines helps employees in their interactions with customers, in their social presence, marketing collateral, etc., you can know exactly what the public perception is regarding your company.
If your brand personality is human, familiar, friendly and straightforward – think MailChimp – and you have brand guidelines outlining exactly how to speak, write and appear to people, you can guarantee customers will perceive you that way.
A 2005 study, by consultants Booz Allen Hamilton and Wolff Olins, found brand-guided companies outperform their competitors, resulting in improved profitability.
Let’s return to the description under reason one: consistency. The more consistent you are in your branding, the more likely people are to recognize you, the more they recognize you, the faster they will be to purchase from you, as their trust in your company grows, the more likely they are to promote your services to their personal and professional networks.