In the two previous articles, I discussed how to define your brand values and how to fuel your brand with personality. In this third and final part, I will provide you with some useful information on how you can implement your brand.
Implementing Your Brand
After defining your brand values and personality it is time for the implementation. This is a never ending process and every step taken should empower all the previous ones. Consistency is the only right way of doing this. If there is no common thread in your communication and in the actions you take, you might as well do nothing at all. You have build a strong working tool by previously defining your brand and its personality. This will help you in the creation and implementation of the communication tools.
Create a Visual Identity
Creating a visual identity is essential to make your brand recognizable. It is your brand’s first encounter with potential clients so you definitely want to make a memorable first impression. The first impression will already determine whether a person is interested in your brand or not. So you better get it right from the first time, because it will be very hard to convince somebody who already created a certain image from your brand in its mind.
The visual identity can be seen as the visual translation of the brand, its values and its personality. All the brand elements must follow a consistent visual style which fit perfectly with the brand’s tone of voice. If you want your brand to be known for its quirkiness, it is obvious that you don’t want to go for a minimal and clean visual identity. If you want to be quirky, you need to be big and bold in your visual and spoken communication. Otherwise, the overall picture of your brand will be disrupted and people will not understand what the brand is trying to achieve or where it stands for. People will not be able to identify themselves with the brand and thus will not be interested at all.
Brand guide examples
A brand guide can be as extensive as you’d like to make it. There are some basic elements that should be described in the brand guide like: logo usage, fonts and typography, usage of colors, images, tone of voice, design layouts,… The brand guides below are examples of what essential elements a good brand guide should contain.
Mastercard Brand Mark Guidelines
Foursquare Brand Guide
NASA Style Guide
The Importance of a Brand Guide
It is crucial to get everyone on the same page within the company. Everybody should know exactly what the brand is about, where it stands for and how to behave according to the brand image. Creating a document where all this information is bundled will help people inside the company to understand the brand its values and personality. It will make people feel confident in their communication when they can follow certain rules and guidelines. In this way, it also becomes easy to consistently apply the same communication methods with the same tone of voice.
A brand guide thus serves as tool which represents the brand identity and explains how it should be used. It is a guide where all elements come together and define the connection between the product, the visual identity, the logo, the brand values and personality. A brand guide can help the collaboration between designers and marketers to consistently combine the brand’s visual identity with engaging stories across a variety of platforms. This ensures that every message towards consumers will look and feel the same.
Guard Your Brand
Having a brand guide can be a good thing, but maintaining a consistent use of it is of course the most important part. It sounds obvious because why would you create a brand guide if you are not going to apply its content? Well, the truth is that the content of it can be forgotten very easily. We get influenced by the actions of what other people are doing and before you know, you fall into the trap of doing what everybody else is doing. It takes a lot of time and hard work to build a great brand, but it only takes seconds to destroy it.
To prevent this from happening, it is a good idea to have somebody who acts as a guard. Somebody who is responsible for the brand implementation across all areas. This person will make sure that every kind of communication will always meet the brand standards and that the brand’s story is communicated correctly at any times.