Your brand guidelines
Welcome to The Digital Brew, a podcast about making your business more awesome online.
Your hosts are Angela (a copywriter) and Stew (a web designer). Pour yourself a cuppa and let’s get started with today’s episode…
In this episode, we talk about brand guidelines.
If you haven’t got brand guidelines in place yet, or you’re due to review your existing guidelines, this should be helpful for you.
What are brand guidelines?
In a nutshell… they’re a list of written rules or guidelines around who your brand is, and what it should look and sound like. They exist to guide the creative behind your brand – both copy and design.
When should you create them?
If you’re a new brand, it’s a good idea to set up some brand guidelines before starting any creative. And if you’re an existing brand, it’s best if you create or refresh your brand guidelines before you do a brand refresh.
How do you create them?
You can find so many templates online – some free, some paid. In fact, a lot of the bigger brands have their brand guidelines publicly available (just Google it) so there’s lots of inspiration out there and different ways to do them. Some of them are so pretty and impressive!
I (Angela) have a free brand guidelines template, too. You can download it over at my site. I developed this over the last few years of working with brands and trying to come up with a system to help them identify their brand voice. That way, I can create copy that sounds like them and appeals to their audience.
Plus, we unpack all the elements of these brand guidelines through our briefing process with clients for The Digital Brew.
Here’s an outline of what’s in my brand guidelines template:
- Business goals – generally, what we want to achieve in our business is…
- Brand goals – by creating our brand strategy, we want to accomplish…
- Timeline – roughly what we want to achieve in 3 months, 6 months, 1, 2, 3, 5, 10+ years
- Purpose – the core reason for why our brand/business exists is to… (e.g. help more people do more things, faster, or help people unlock their hidden potential.)
- Audience – our favourite, best-paying, most delighted customers fit the following profile… (age, location, family, education, work, interests, goals, desires, and aspirations, struggles and pain points)
- Features – our product/service includes the following features…
- Problems – the core problems we solve for our audience…
- Benefits of buying our product/service…
- Words happy customers use to describe our brand…
- Position (USP) – despite a competitive marketplace, what makes us unique and attract new customers is…
- Tagline – a shorter snappier version of our USP is…
- Brand archetypes – the innocent, the regular guy or gal, the hero, the outlaw, the explorer, the creator, the ruler, the magician, the lover, the caregiver, the jester, the sage
- Feel – when our customers/audience interacts with our brand, we want them to feel…
- Sound – some words/phrases we want to be associated with our brand…
- Look – core fonts (headings and body text), colour palette (HEX code and RBG), logo
- Action steps – list of things you need to update based on your new/updated brand guidelines
That’s basically it!
Once you have your brand guidelines in place, you can refer to them yourself or pass them onto team members and contractors. They’ll be used to guide any copy, design, or marketing creative – anything customer facing – to ensure it’s consistent and on-brand.
Make sure you review them regularly. As you brand evolves, your brand guidelines will need updating, as well.
Okay, let’s wrap things up.
Make sure you download the free brand guideline template. And start filling out the sections.
Look at other brands for inspiration, but create something that looks and sounds just like you, and is tailored to your audience.
Keep looking at and updating your guidelines regularly – this’ll keep everything consistent and on track.
And that’s it for today!
We’ll catch you in the next episode, which is all about writing your website copy.
Thanks for tuning in to The Digital Brew with Ange and Stew. Make sure you head over to thedigitalbrew.com for more episodes, detailed show notes, resources, and our newsletter. And if you feel like this episode has helped make your business more awesome, pop us a review. We’ll catch you next time!