In this article, we will break down what a brand is, and highlight the importance of a branding guide for any business. Many business owners tend to confuse a business with a brand, while they are both part of a singular entity, not every business is necessarily a brand. Let’s dig a little deeper into what that means.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BUSINESS AND A BRAND
Do you remember learning how all squares are quadrilaterals, but not all quadrilateral shapes are square?
A brand and business work in a similar manner. Every brand, at its core, is a business. It is an entity that gives access to products or services to the people. But not all businesses are necessarily a brand.
So what’s the difference? A brand is more than just the company itself. A brand is bigger than the product or services the business provides. A brand evokes a particular feeling among those that interact with it. Branding is the process of making conscious decisions within a company, to influence how people interact with the business.
Ultimately, your brand isn’t what you want it to be, but rather what people perceive it to be. Branding can make or break a company’s success before the consumer even has a chance to experience what the brand offers. Since it is so detrimental, it is essential to create the best first impression. By making calculated decisions about every aspect of how your business looks and acts to the public, you can better influence the way people naturally feel about it. This is where a Branding Guide becomes an invaluable tool for any new business.
THE TRUE IMPORTANCE OF A BRANDING GUIDE
A branding guide is a collection of items that are integral to a company, or brand’s identity. This document not only includes the main logo, but also correct usage for such, required spacing around the logo, and the minimum size the logo can be presented in. Alternate logos are provided in case space or layout does not accommodate the main logo. In addition, color values are included, as is the specific typography to be used in various scenarios.
A clear brand vision starts with a deep understanding of your target audience and the value your brand offers them. Your brand’s visual and verbal identity should be crafted to speak directly to your customers and evoke the emotions you want them to associate with your brand. According to branding expert Marty Neumeier, “A brand is not what you say it is. It’s what they say it is.” In other words, a brand is defined by the perceptions and experiences of its customers. Therefore, it’s essential to invest in understanding your customers’ needs, desires, and pain points and create a brand that resonates with them.
Once you’ve defined your brand’s visual and verbal identity, it’s essential to communicate it consistently across all touchpoints. This includes your website, social media profiles, packaging, and even your physical office or store. A consistent brand image helps build trust and familiarity with your customers, making it easier for them to recognize and remember your brand. As branding expert David Brier says, “A brand that speaks in a consistent voice will always have a stronger impact than one that’s all over the place.”
Consistency across all aspects of a business is the best way to instill a brand. People appreciate being able to expect the same experience every time they interact with a business. Meeting expectations is key to having a successful brand.
A branding guide is the best tool to ensure you are always representing your business consistently and allows you to pass those habits down to every level of your business more effectively.
When all of this information is compiled together, it makes portraying your company in the best light tremendously easier. Your branding guide keeps brand essentials conveniently packaged in one document to maintain a professional and cohesive image, increasing brand recognition, memorability, and creating a positive experience for your clients.
BEYOND THE VISUALS
A branding guide does more than just ensure you use the right logo, colors, or typefaces. When we sit down with our clients to plan out their branding, these elements are the last thing we are considering. The end result may be visual, but how we get there is just as important.
It all starts with the culture of your brand. Who is your target customer? What kind of person are they? How does this change the way they perceive things? By answering these questions we can create a highly effective strategy to not only grab the attention of the right people but reel them into your brand in a way that is more exciting than simply having a great product or service.
A real brand is more than the quality of its product or service. A real brand drives consumers to want to support it at will. It’s the reason people put stickers on their cars or go out of their way to wear the logo on their clothing. They feel a deeper connection to the culture and purpose of the brand, than just the thing the brand does.
A well-defined brand culture plays a crucial role in building customer loyalty. Brand culture is the set of values, beliefs, and behaviors that define how employees interact with each other, customers, and the brand itself. When employees understand and embody the brand’s values, they can deliver a consistent brand experience to customers. This, in turn, creates a sense of community and belonging among customers who identify with the brand’s values. As branding expert Simon Mainwaring says, “The more shared identity and shared values between a brand and its consumers, the more powerful the relationship.
We take all of this into account when building a brand guide. Every image, every color, every font choice – all comes back to how we want people to feel and connect with your brand. These visual elements act as cues for consumers, to create specific expectations of what a brand’s culture is all about.
There is a reason a brand like Apple relies on minimalism, clean lines, and monochromatic color schemes, just as there is a reason a brand like NEMO Equipment uses rounded fonts and neutral earth tone color schemes. These contrasting styles help the consumer to get a feel for what they can expect in the brand, and ultimately that helps them decide if they will purchase loyally for years to come.
PUTTING YOUR BEST FACE FORWARD
Here at MNGR, we believe that every company should be equipped to put their best face forward. In every branding project we do, we invest our time and effort to get your company to the next level. We realize that good branding gets companies further faster, and we pride ourselves on being able to provide that.
From the beginning, we take time to get to know your business, what sets you apart, what your mission is, what goods or services you provide, and everything that makes you, you. We get a feel for your future, and what your goals are, and we start thinking about how we can help you get there. While we handle the design, we do value input and often give a few options for the direction the design can go. Our expert designers choose design elements and colors that reflect the feelings that your company wants to evoke and compile everything into one convenient package, the branding guide.
We then use that branding guide to determine the design of any further projects that you need to be completed. By basing all future designs on the guidelines provided in the branding guide, the brand image remains cohesive and unified, as every successful business should be.
NEED TO GET YOUR BRAND ON THE SAME PAGE?
Are you interested in having a branding guide created for your company? Whether you have a new start-up in need of a full branding package, including logo design, or if you have an existing business that needs to be rebranded or updated, we here at MNGR can help! Contact us today to let us know what we can do for you!
In the meantime, check out the work we’ve done for other clients here!