Have you ever wondered why a Coca-Cola can looks the same no matter where you go? Have you ever wondered why you can identify a Starbucks in Milwaukee the same way you can in the U.K.? This is one very powerful force at work: Branding. More specifically, what we’re seeing is the power of brand consistency.
A recent study by Lucidpress and Demand Metric revealed that 90% of organizations surveyed believe that presenting their brands consistently across all touchpoints and platforms is vitally important to their success. In fact, having strong brand consistency provides an average revenue increase of 23%. What’s more, is that the participants in the study who’d already been practicing brand consistency have 3 – 4 times more brand visibility than those who don’t. So, what’s the key to achieving up to 23% revenue growth? How do you keep your brand consistent across an endless array of touchpoints and platforms? The answer: brand guidelines.
A brand guideline is a comprehensive document that instructs a designer in how to consistently create visual assets that align with key aspects of your brand, no matter what branded content you create. There are several benefits to having a strong brand guide among your company resources, but we’ve highlighted three key benefits in this article.
Brand guidelines are a vital resource that provide designers a standard procedure to follow when creating visual assets for a brand. These guidelines make it clear what to do and what not to do when it comes to the brand’s typography, color pallet, logo variations, photography, illustration, and packaging. They may also include the brand story, target audience, brand values, tone of voice, and more. Because design is incredibly subjective, brand guidelines are important to maintain consistency across the brand when many different designers and agencies are working on it. Brand Guidelines also save a lot of time. For example, if you provide ten designers a project brief with no brand guidelines, you’re likely to get ten very different results. The more detailed your brand guidelines are, the more consistent (and on target) the results will be when completing design projects.
Another major benefit of having brand guidelines is that they help to build brand recognition. Having a cohesive look across all platforms means that consumers will form associations between your brand’s look, message, and overall tone. These associations make your brand more memorable and therefore more trusted by consumers. This combination of consistency + trust will set the stage for further brand growth. Having a clear, well-defined idea of how the brand operates allows room for further development in that specific direction, maximizing your brand’s unique qualities and setting it apart from competition.
Major corporations and large brands, such as Amazon and Google, have very explicit brand guidelines, since they are likely to have several agencies working with their brand at a time. In the case of smaller companies and startups, it’s common to have a more general set of guidelines, as fewer designers are creating visual assets for the brand, and as a result, there is less risk of brand inconsistencies. For new brands, it is important to keep your guidelines flexible as the brand grows and establishes itself. This allows you to refine and update your core brand attributes to continue to create separation from the competition. As new brands gain their footing, it’s beneficial to make brand guidelines more consistent and explicit over time, as more designers will touch your branded content.
These are just three of the many critical benefits to having consistent branding for your organization. As research has shown, having a consistent brand starts with a strong foundation. That strong foundation comes in the form of brand guidelines. And when you have strong, consistent branding, you’ll not only increase the visibility of your brand, you’ll also open the door to increasing your company’s revenue.