This article is for startups, founders, self-employed and basically any new company or project manager.
We are going to very briefly look at:
1. what creates your brand image (personal or company brand),
2. why you need to keep it consistent,
3. how can a style guide help here,
4. what to include in your first style guide,
5. how to use it.
// Hello, I am Arta Citko and this is my take on branding basics - advice to founders from a designer’s (and founders as well) perspective.
Your branding = Your image
If marketing is more about what you say, then branding is more about how others see you. Your image. (Btw, not only how they see, but also hear and what emotions you radiate.)
Also, branding is about where you are placed in the mind of your target market. In smart & heavy strategic brand management books it is called positioning. And associations play a big role here.
So, in short, your branding = your image
Got it? Cool. Let’s move on.
Consistency = Memorability
After you create an image that fits and represents your thing, use that image consistently. What do I mean by that? Size, layout, format may be different, but main elements remain consistent - same fonts, same colour palette, same tone of voice, same mood etc.
Consistency helps your brand to be easily recognised and recalled. In contrary, an inconsistent image is like having a friend, and every time you meet her, she’s a different person. You don’t want that, right?
And more.. this combination (image + consistency) along with some other additions, increases brand equity and at the end of the day makes you more $$$*
* Here is a paragraph from Strategic Brand Management book:
"A brand has positive customer-based brand equity when consumers react more favourably to a product and the way it is marketed when the brand is identified than when it is not (..) Thus, customers might be more accepting of a new brand extension for a brand with positive customer-based brand equity, less sensitive to price increases and withdrawal of advertising support, or more willing to seek the brand in a new distribution channel."
why you need a style guide
A style-guide can help you (and your company) to maintain a consistent brand image.
Given as a cheat-sheet to new employees, freelancers and even used by yourself gives everyone:
1. clarity about what visual elements and tone of voice to use in communication with the customer, what emotions to evoke,
2. understanding of how a poster, facebook event cover or presentation should look like,
3. decreases number of on revisions,
4. saves time on having to describe the company image and feel for each new person again and again.