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Why You Need a Brand Standards Manual

01.20.2014 / Posted in Articles, Branding

Although brands are more than just logos and colors—see this article series for the full story on branding—the visual representation of your brand needs safeguards to help build and protect brand equity.

The Value of Brand Standards

Your brand is an asset that requires consistent representation to preserve its value. Brands become recognizable through repetition, and a brand’s recognition factor is one of the keys to your brand’s value.

So you must ensure every brand instance—from the Web to reports to social media to professionally printed materials—hits the same mark.

Without a brand standards guide, consistency becomes impossible. Brand guides help everyone—from employees to partners to outside vendors, such as printers—understand how to use your brand elements appropriately.

What a Brand Standards Manual Includes

What a manual covers depends heavily on the visual components of your brand and the breadth of your company.

If you have multiple business units, products, and services, you will want to outline in the manual how to use all branding exclusive to each. In some cases, companies even have separate brandmarks and colors for each division, product, or service—meaning that these companies have extensive brand guides to run the gamut for their organizational branding. If your company centers on one main product, you won’t need an extensive brand guide.

All brand guides include guidelines for the following elements:

  • brandmark
  • approved brand colors
  • complementary hues
  • fonts and point sizes for text in different situations
  • icons and unique graphics
  • visual tone and feel
  • paper stock for varied printed materials
  • language and phrasing

Some brand standards manuals even delve deeper, explaining the rationale behind the brand look and feel and outlining the company’s brand promise, values, and attributes.

You can see an example of a brand standards guide FrogDog developed in this case study.

Companies should always develop brands with the company’s future in mind. When building equity in an asset, longevity is critical. Therefore, brands must account for potential product- and service-line additions, growth into new markets, and potential acquisitions. Likewise, brand standards manuals must grow with the company; they need regular revisiting, revision, and addition as the company grows and changes.

It is easy to see now that brand standards are very helpful visually, but a voice and tone guide can also be a key resource for your brand.

Don’t have a brand manual? Get one. We can help.

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