Want Your Business to Standout? Revisit Your Brand Style Guide.
Thinking about Brand Guidelines always reminds me of a corporate brand refresh that took forever and never delivered on a much-promised Style Guide. The Art Director kept asking and was always told, “don’t worry, it’s being worked on.” Months and months of waiting for guidelines that never materialized left an entire department with so many unanswered questions. Why? Because a brand is so much more than a logo, fonts, color palette and a couple of new photos.
VISUALS DON’T TELL THE FULL STORY. INCLUDE YOUR VALUE ELEMENTS.
To truly stand out, your Brand Guidelines need both visual and value elements. Of course, your visuals are especially important since they define your business and create a unique look. But it’s equally important to include your value elements. This is your story of what makes you different and states exactly how you help clients. The visual elements make people stop and take notice but it’s the words that accompany the imagery that will resonate with your audience. The value elements add purpose and personality to your brand. It’s also what helps potential clients decide if you’re the right fit for their needs.
Your visual and value elements each play an important role in your marketing. Visual branding boosts awareness and engagement while value messaging drives conversion and retention.
According to Content Marketing Institute, about 45% of a brand’s image comes from what the business says and how they say it. This means your value elements are just as important as your visuals in your marketing to tell a complete and dynamic story.
These are tough times for business owners. Many businesses need immediate sales results today and don’t want to “waste time on branding” but instead want to dive right into marketing tactics. Unfortunately, without branding that tells your unique story, businesses end up wasting a lot of money on search or social advertising that doesn’t attract or convert leads.
SAVES TIME AND KEEPS ENTIRE TEAM FOCUSED
While it takes some time up front to define your visual and value elements, in the long run you save tons of time. No one is wasting efforts with creative that contains the wrong fonts or a different call to action. And the shorter creative process no longer leaves anyone wondering “is this on brand”? Brand Guidelines make life easier for the entire business because key marketing elements are identified and ready to use.
BUILDS YOUR BRAND EQUITY AND VALUE
Over time, having a Brand Identity creates a cohesive look and makes it easier to build and maintain a strong brand equity. Equity is defined as the overall perception of business’s quality and value. Brand equity is so important for service businesses where your brand becomes synonymous with the service you provide.
So back to that missing Brand Style Guide I mentioned earlier. Almost a year after the new logo and key visual elements were introduced, we finally received the “official” Brand Guidelines. By that point, it was almost laughable because everything was already common knowledge. But no one was laughing about the hours and hours wasted on updating artwork and endless team meetings to synchronize value messaging and ensure consistency across the entire marketing team. I know we eventually grew brand equity with the refresh, but it was such a long and costly journey to get there. That’s one of the reasons why I’m so passionate about using Brand Guidelines to grow each and every business that I work with.
Diana provides marketing solutions for busy Financial and B2B Firms looking to strengthen relationships, get found online, convert leads and GROW revenue. She has 20 years of marketing expertise, including campaigns for top brands such as Johnson’s Baby and Band-Aid.
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Diana Stem is a Marketing Consultant for Financial and B2B Firms. With over 20 years of experience, we GROW Businesses with Strategy, Branding and Lead Generating Content that Converts.