Brand and Brand Standards: Why a Style Guide?
What does Xerox manufacture? What color is IBM’s logo? What is brown… and what do they do? How do we know the answer? Brand recognition: instant recognition that goes well beyond a colorful logo, a jingle, or a witty tag line. Successful brands trigger customer memories of tastes, smells, experiences, and feelings. For some companies, communicating their brand successfully can be challenging.
A strong brand stimulates customer expectations. The gap between the company’s brand message and the audience’s reception can vary greatly. Closing the gap requires a total commitment and a powerful vision, which resonates from the executive level, throughout the company, and directly to the audience. Sound marketing builds a bridge between a company’s message and the perception of its audience. With ongoing tracking, measuring, and surveying, marketing teams monitor and adjust their message to increase awareness of their brand.
Successful brands communicate company values. Like equity in a house, the brand value grows as audiences experience it–and as the value grows, it reaches brand attachment. Companies that achieve brand attachment have reached the marketing pinnacle. Consider the brand awareness of Kleenex®, Xerox®, and Coke®. These brand names are so successful they replace generic terms in their product category.
The Style Guide: Brand Standards to Observe
Brand identity communicates all forms of visual and audible presentation, from the executive proposal to the parking attendant uniform. A brand identity system depends on a set of intelligent standards/guidelines called the brand style guide. Brand style guide creates a standard for all departments, vendors, and partners to follow so the brand presentation remains consistent. Every color, font, marketing collateral piece, sign, pen, office, T-shirt, newsletter, word of copy, and overall look and feel reflects a cohesive, unified company.
Brand standards keep everyone on the same page and save time, money, and frustration.
Time: standards keep vendors informed, avoid delays, and accelerate reorders.
Money: standards keep the cost down by reducing mistakes.
Frustration: standards relieve the stress and frustration of mismatched materials and inconsistent messages about the company, its products, and its services.
Building Brand Identity at your company
Imagine McDonald® restaurants with green arches or the IBM® logo in orange. Inconsistency dilutes brand equity. Brand equity does not come cheap because companies substantially invest in building relationships with customers. Companies that value their brand know that consistency builds solid brand awareness.
As companies build their brand, the people behind the companies continue to take charge of bridging the gaps through a commitment to quality, strict adherence to consistency, and unswerving dedication to the customer. By valuing the brand and following standards, like the brand style guide, companies can show others that they stand behind their product, service, and people.