Brand guidelines are important for any business or federal agency. When you use them appropriately along with a strategic communications plan, they allow you to build brand recognition and streamline how others view you. Knowing the brand guidelines also gives employees a better understanding of how to represent your brand both internally and externally.
If you do not have brand guidelines already, there is no time like the present to create a branding strategy. Not sure where to start? These tips can give you a great jumping-off point.
Do Your Research and Decide What to Include
Not every business needs to have the same guidelines. It depends on the type of business or federal agency you run. A few of the most common brand guidelines that businesses include are:
- Messaging – This includes tone, word choice, personality, etc. The business may choose formal messaging, playful messaging, straightforward messaging, etc.
- Tagline – Many brands are known specifically for their taglines. Some of the most recognizable are, “Once you pop, you can’t stop,” and, “Just do it.”
- Visual – Visual branding can include anything from font choice to the colors included in your logo and the type of photography you choose, among other things.
- Social media – Does your brand use hashtags? Which platforms do you use? These are good questions to ask when considering social media branding for your business or agency.
Be sure to look at what other brands or agencies similar to yours are doing to help you create guidelines that make sense for your industry. Consider looking into the psychology of color and design, as well, as you begin to make decisions about your branding.
Ask Your Employees for Their Input or Feedback
Your employees have their feet on the ground every day. Asking them questions about how they view the brand and what they think the most important things to focus on can give you valuable feedback for creating your brand guidelines. Also, employees interact directly with clients and can offer insight on how customers perceive your company.
Consider distributing an online survey or planning a fun meeting where you can ask questions. Prepare your questions in advance and be sure to really listen to what your employees have to say.
Work with A Graphic Designer and an Expert in Branding
Designing your brand guidelines is not something you want to do in-house unless your company provides design as a service. Working collaboratively with a third-party allows you to get an outside eye and ensure that all of your branding materials are aligned and professional.
Choose How You Want to Distribute Brand Guidelines
Finally, you need to decide what format you are going to use to create and distribute your brand guidelines. For some companies and agencies, the best way to do this is to create a static PDF that they can share with their employees and contractors.
Others may benefit from putting the guidelines on a webpage so they can easily change them as they begin to adapt to these guidelines and find what works best for them.
Either way, everyone in your company should be able to access these guidelines and implement them into their work.
Do you have questions about getting started in branding? Drop them in the comments section of our social media or contact Applied Development today. You can reach us at 410.571.4016 or on the contact page of our website.