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What is a brand guide? A brand guide provides an overview of the company’s identity, mission, values, as well as serves as an instructional guide on how a brand should be represented in all communication touchpoints. This includes logo usage and variations, voice, values, mission, typography, and color guide.

Creating a full brand guide for your company can be a long and costly process, but today’s modern design and marketing resources can offer quick solutions for almost anyone. Taking the time to develop a guide that your entire team can reference will bring you value for many years to come.

Why is a brand guide useful?

A brand guide offers a set of guidelines and brand assets. But even more so, a thoughtfully developed brand guide should help to establish who you are, what you do, and why you do it.

It’s used to create consistency in all of the touchpoints you have with a customer so they have the same experience no matter where they may interact with your brand. We know not every business has the resources for a dedicated brand manager. And that’s okay! Whether your company is large or small there are options you can take to create a brand guide that works for your needs, at any size.

Who uses your brand guide? 

Your brand guide is used by your internal team and should be used in all physical and digital solutions, no matter the business size. Some examples include; website development, drafting blog copy, social posts, color choice, typography on printed or digital materials, when selecting visual imagery, merchandise, or wearables, and logo usage on anything. Your brand guide is also used by any external vendors or contractors you work with, ensuring that no matter who is behind the design or copy wheel, all output will feel like it’s coming from the same voice and business. 

Does your company need a brand guide?

Most companies will have at least a simple logo design and color pallet, which is a great place to begin when you are just starting out. You might want to consider a full brand guide if any of the following ring true for your business right now:

  • You find yourself not wanting to use your logo everywhere or your current logo doesn’t adapt to modern technology for different applications. 
  • Your current logo or colors don’t really appeal to your target audience, or it’s appealing to the wrong audience.
  • Your business is growing and you want to create some standardizations so when your company is talked about or represented there is consistency. 
  • You’re redesigning your website and want to factor in all of the details that come along with a full brand. 
  • You are working with more designers for different assets for your business. 

What you need to know before you invest in a brand guide

While it can be really tempting to start picking out colors and photos and hire a designer, you need to make sure you have a clear idea of who your customer is.  Do some market research to create your buyer persona.
See our post “ How to define buyer personas and their pain points” for more info. 

Dig deeper into your company’s values, the kind of tone you want to put out into the world, and what resonates the most with your ideal customers. Without this very important step, you will have invested in a very expensive brand guide for a very different company.

Download our free list of company adjectives to get you started! 

Examples of what you can include in your brand guide

Your brand guide can include a ton of things or just a few! This is completely up to what your needs are at this time, but here is a list for you to consider including in your guide;

A simple brand guide:

  • Logo usage
  • Primary and secondary colors for both web and print as well as usage guidelines
  • Font pairings for titles, subtitles, and paragraph text
  • Design parameters for commonly printed items such as business cards, letterheads, and envelopes

For a more complex brand guide:

  • All of the above plus
  • Your companies missions and values statements
  • Photographic style examples
  • Email signature formatting
  • Written tone including keywords and language to be used  
  • Sample ads, brochures, and collateral material

All that and a bag of chips:

  • All of the above plus
  • Scripts and templates for voicemail and common customer interactions
  • Company SWAG 
  • Employee uniforms 
  • Guidelines for signage on buildings, vehicles, and events

Here are some examples of some brand guides we’ve created:

The Tooth Ferry 

Cedar Mountain Herb School

For even more non-Odd Dog guides check these out!

Marketing Pediatric Dentistry

Once you have a brand guide, how are you implementing it?

Great! You have a brand guide! Now what?
Make sure your entire company knows of its existence and where to find it. There are many tools your team can use to organize all brand assets including the brand guide. Google Drive is a great place to start. InVision offers brand boards and collaboration docs for larger teams. Or Canva offers a free and pro version that can be helpful in organizing brand assets to be used and color themes. Meet with your team that will be using the guide the most and ensure they understand the guidelines and clear up any questions or concerns. Ideally, this team will be involved with the branding process, but depending on the size of your team, we know that’s not always possible! Depending on company size it’s a great idea to have at least one person dedicated to ensuring that all brand touchpoints are following the brand guide.

How do I get a brand guide for my business? 

Depending on the complexity you decide on, you can either create your guide in-house or work with a professional, like the Odd Dog team! Even if you decide to hire a professional, it’s important you start the work ahead of time really honing in on your ideal customer and what you want to achieve or offer as a business.

Getting really clear on who your target audience is will be instrumental in creating a successful guide for your business’ branding and goals.

Need help?
We’ve got you! Contact us to see how Odd Dog can help you create your very own brand guide!

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