Why do a brand audit?’ is something I constantly have to educate prospective and existing clients. Brand audits help businesses recognise their strengths and weaknesses, they create opportunities for improving, and find ways to help them stay relevant and move forward.
The word “brand” is one of the most overused and misunderstood words in the market place.
Usually, it gets thrown around as metaphor, a label or a descriptor, whether the brand is a entertainer, athlete, movie franchise or just simply a product. Regardless of the use, the goal of every brand is to induce customers to buy their pitch, and ultimately make a purchase.
But, many businesses often rely too strongly on advertising to do achieve this, failing to realise that there’s more to swaying customers than just a message. The employees, culture, identity and tactics of a business are as important as the advertising message when it comes to creating a winning brand.
So how do you make it all come together? By making sure that there’s more than just a great vision being delivered. Management and employees must be on the same page, and this is by implementing a strategy and creating a strong identity to develop and extend a great brand.
What is a brand identity guide?
Simply put, a brand identity guide is a manual that defines the identity and explains how it should be used, both internally and externally. It helps make a connection between the corporate identity and it’s brand promise, so that all elements connect in a coherent way that resonates with both prospective and existing customers.
The brand guideline also has instructions on how all the elements of a brand, business cards, adverts, signage, etc should be used in communication across the board.
It functions as outline for both marketers and designers, helping them to work together to perfect the logo, put together ads that are both striking, and maintain the integrity of the brand across a number of different platforms. It ensures that communication with customers is consistent with it’s values, and that all advertisements will resonate both visually with what you provide to your’e customers.
Once these competencies have been established, they can be expanded on to add a positioning statement, that includes the brand promise, as well as the key reason to use the brand. This should also be wary of the brands vision, and it should include the value proposition, which helps build loyalty.
A Brand Guide’s importance
An important part of all this is the brands personality, which poses the question “who is this brand, and what is it about?” Once this has been identified and expanded, it can be taken back down to a ‘brand mantra’, which is a short, clean way of expressing what the brand represents and what is it’s unique selling proposition.
This mantra must be unforgettable. Ideally, it should consist of an emotional and/or descriptor modifier. For example, the mantra of Nike is athletic performance / authentic. The simplicity of this mantra makes it stick in the minds of the customers.
That simplicity makes it possible to manage the mantra with the brand language that follows, whether it appears in a form of visual or verbal codes. The end result is an unforgettable message about how the company (in this example Nike) differentiates itself from their competitors.
The brand identity guide should contain rules for running a brand. It should speak about what your business achieves, but you should always remember that the brand should be focused on customer needs. In the end, the brand comes from the company, using the principals mentioned above out in the brand guide.
On a different level, the brand guide can also be used for budgeting. Budgeting can be broken down into sections, which can include the time spent creating the brand, along with the cost of designing stationery, signage, printing, etc. It could also include the cost of advertising, PR and the expenses of using a agency.
And finally, a brand guide can also be used to introduce new products or services. These must be consistent with existing brand values because pushing a brand too far can ruin it.
In summary a brand guide is most important to any business, large or small. You must think of it as a operating manual for your business. Without one can ruin your businesses integrity and overall brand value. Speak to us at DesignLab about how we can develop a brand guide for your business.