How many brands do you suppose there are in the world? Some have found worldwide fame and others have fallen by the wayside. Do you ever wonder, therefore, what makes a successful brand? Want to know the secret of brand success? Ok, just lean a little closer, we don’t want everyone to hear do we? A little closer still… it’s you.
That’s right. You are the person who knows more about your company than anyone else. You know what makes your company great and how you tower above your competitors. You built the company up from scratch so why aren’t you taking control of your own brand design?
Put Yourself in the Driving Seat
Now I don’t mean that you have to sit there and let your creative juices flow. You can still hand over the actual designing job to those better qualified, but you can retain control all the way through the process with just one simple task – your brand guidelines.
Effective brand guidelines are like the difference between putting up a flat pack set of drawers with clear instructions and putting one up without. You might manage without instructions, but you’d be quicker and much more effective with them. Plus, you’d make far fewer mistakes.
The Rules for Successful Brand Guidelines
Remember that you are trying to explain the very ethos of your company to people who may know nothing about your industry. So describe your company as simply as you can and don’t use technical jargon. This might seem patronising, but prepare the guidelines as though you were talking to children. That way you will be forced to explain yourself as clearly as possible.
So now let’s get onto a few do’s and don’ts of your brand guidelines.
DO get it right. Sounds obvious enough but if you’re not sure how your brand identity is going to be represented then your creative team don’t stand a chance. So get together with colleagues and work out where you want your brand to go.
DON’T leave the logo up to the designer. They might have a completely different idea of what your company represents, so be clear on what you want your logo to say to people.
DO know your colours. There are certain colours which are used on different marketing platforms, such as RGB for screens and CMYK for printed matter. Get to know them all.
DON’T think that one size fits all. Your logo needs to look great in a variety of sizes to fit on business cards or on a full HD monitor. This is where simplicity works best.
DO know your fonts. They aren’t all the same! The right font can have an impact and form part of your brand identity, so choose just a few for headlines, content, taglines, etc and stick with them.
DO a trial run. Put your brand design in a few different media examples such as on your website, on a business card, a print advert, etc to see how it looks.
DON’T forget about your brand once it’s designed. Keep on top of where it is being used and how it looks. Review your guidelines regularly too – after all no brand is set in stone and you may wish for it to evolve with the growth of your company.
DO enlist the help of the professionals. There is more to designing a brand than a scribble on a piece of paper. Professional branding is worth the cost, particularly if you have a great set of guidelines to help.
How to Get it Right
Be simple. Take a leaf out of Aldi’s book. It’s one of the most successful brands which simply reflects what the company offers – a no frills, low priced company and that’s proved popular with customers who know exactly what service they will be getting. Likewise the Candy Crush brand is playful, fun and bold just like the game.
How to Get it Wrong
You are unlikely to notice any bad branding because, well, they’re unnoticeable and for good reason. However if I mention London 2012 you might have an idea why. It attracted 11,550 criticisms and a petition to rebrand it.
But perhaps more unfortunate was a women’s clothes brand. I’ll leave you to figure that one out yourselves!