Branding is more involved than just having a great logo. This will be a guide to help you develop your brand identity and Social Tone Guidelines so it can easily be shared within your company or companies you work with. The importance of developing these guidelines is to ensure you always have your brand represented consistently through all media.
“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.”
– Seth Godin
Brand Identity Guidelines
When you’re documenting your Brand Identity to start out you don’t have to make it overly complicated. You can just keep it simple and start out showing examples of how to use your logo and what should be avoided. It can also include all of your key brand colours, and their CMYK, RGB, and Pantone™ colours. You can also have a typography guide to show what fonts to use for headings and body copy as well as your brand logos to use.
This section will help define what type of photography, images, and the style and crop of images you want to use to represent your brand. For example, you may have a vintage inspired brand so all your images to be used must look like historical photos with vintage film processing. You can have multiple examples on one page with some description text. For example you may say that all of your product shots must include lifestyle photography showing people using the product rather than an isolated product shot. Below you can see an example from one of the Coca-cola Brand Books.
Social Tone Guidelines
Something new that quite a few brands are missing these days is a Social Tone Guidelines. This important because if anyone is going to post on social media, they need to remember the identity and language tone to use. This can be a fairly simple or can be almost as large as your main brand guidelines.
Things to consider in your Social Tone Guidelines:
Simple list of words to use and ones that should never be used
Give your social writing a personality (new mom in a urban city)
Examples of the style of photography to use in posts.
Finally you can have examples of complete posts in your social channels
(Below is an example from Skype’s brand guidelines)
Now You’re on Your Way
When you’re first creating your guidelines you don’t have to make anything complex, and it could be as simple as word document capturing your logo usage, your company mission statement and values. Then as you grow as a company and you define your brand you can keep adding on to your document. Once your mission and values are established you can start to define your social tone and your image identity and how you want to use photography. The beauty of these documents is the whole team can contribute and it makes life easy if you have new people or company’s your working with.