When I start working with clients as a graphic designer and marketing VA at Trusty Oak, one of the first questions I ask during a kick-off call is “do you have a brand guide I can work with?” More often than not, the answer is “nope,” or “what is that?” In fact, many clients I’ve worked with over the years haven’t had the time to develop their brand identity.
This is completely understandable - time as a small business owner and entrepreneur is precious and is usually taken up by the plethora of other tasks involved in running a successful business. However, with an established brand guide, your business marketing can be taken to a whole new level, making everything from Instagram posts to email marketing a breeze.
First, the basics.
What is a Brand Guide?
A brand guide is a detailed set of rules for your visual identity as a business. It includes chosen fonts, colors, and approved logos for your marketing materials. Depending on how comprehensive your brand guide is, the brand guide can also cover approved logo usage, a mission and vision statement, and social media etiquette. (You can take a look at the Brand guide that I designed for Trusty Oak here).
What is a Style Guide?
A style guide takes your brand guide a step further by detailing how your brand voice should come across in marketing efforts. In Trusty Oak’s Style Guide, our diversity and inclusion statement outlines our core values as a business and how they should be central to our visual brand.
Here’s why having a comprehensive brand guide will elevate your business and make marketing easier than ever.
First and foremost, your brand will have an elevated, refined feel. Having a set logo, color palette, and a selection of 2-3 fonts that can be used across all your platforms will show your audience that you have an established visual identity. Depending on your line of work, your fonts and colors can also communicate a specific mood-related to what you’re offering your customers.
This goes without saying, but the consistency of your marketing materials will instantly boost the status of your brand, making it easy for customers to identify you. Think of world-renowned brands like Apple, Facebook, or Google. Any of their products are instantly recognizable, and their stellar visual identity plays a huge role in that.
It Makes Life Easier
Knowing you have a brand guide will instantly save you time. Whenever you have design-related projects, you can simply utilize the brand guide for references on how to use your fonts, colors, and logos. Additionally, you can hand off creative projects to a graphic designer with no hassle knowing that they will refer to your brand guide throughout the design process.
Your Social Media Presence Will Thank You
The consistency of your brand will make it easy for your customers to understand why and what you do when scrolling through Instagram, for example. Paired with fresh content, a brand guide streamlines your creative production time for social media. Utilizing tools like Canva, where you can store your fonts and colors, makes it easy to create social media templates for future use. This is also a great place to let your style guide shine through - having your brand voice communicate your values as a business, both visually and verbally.
Although it may take some time to develop a brand guide and hone in on your visual identity, it is a priceless investment. Having a brand guide sets you up for success in the long run by helping you establish how you want your current and future customers to see and interact with your brand. Ultimately, having your own brand guide enables your authenticity to shine throughout your business.
Ready to work with a marketing virtual assistant to polish your brand?