Brands are more than just profit-seeking marketing concepts: they are entities with personalities and values that they transmit to their target audience.
The impact of brand consistency can greatly benefit both brands and customers in the long haul - being consistent is one of the most important priorities of brands around the world.
However, achieving consistency and coherence is not always easy, unless we have a successful brand book at hand.
But what is a brand book? This guide will show you all you must know about brand books and why your brand needs one.
- What is a Brand Book?
- What’s the Purpose of a Brand Book?
- 5 Essential Elements of a Brand Style Guide
- Wrapping Up: Understanding the Concept of Brand Brooks
What is a Brand Book?
A brand book is a document that gathers, showcases, and describes all the guidelines and rules for how a brand should be communicated across multiple marketing channels.
A brand book includes all the essential components that employees, the marketing team, target audiences, and other individuals must know about the brand to achieve brand consistency through different means.
If we look at the different brand book examples in the market, we can see that successful brands decide to create a brand book to unify the company’s vision, communication style, and branding decisions in all external and internal communications.
The result is the creation of a strong brand identity that characterizes consistent brands in different industries and markets.
What’s the Purpose of a Brand Book?
Brand books are useful and make a brand unique if created correctly. They provide authenticity and easily show what the brand stands for.
88% of consumers say that authenticity in a brand is one of the most important factors when it comes to supporting and purchasing goods or services from a brand.
Therefore, let’s take a look at the main goals of brand books for companies.
Explain all the elements that describe a brand
From the brand platform and foundations to the core values of a company, brand books explain all the elements that should describe the mission statement of a brand.
This includes key components such as brand promise, tone of voice, brand’s identity, and the main brand’s mission.
The first impression that people have about a brand personality will stick with them for a while, and it will determine how a brand’s target audience perceives a company.
And although first impressions are mostly visual, understanding the vision statement of a brand can drive consumer passion efficiently.
Establish a consistent brand identity
Coherence and consistency across the many communication channels are some of the most important aspects of a brand image.
Business consistency helps customers to build trust, and statistics show that almost half of the consumers prefer to support brands that they know and trust over the ones that they don’t.
Beyond focusing on visual elements, which are also important, a brand book is the best brand guide to follow to achieve similar brand messaging on all channels.
Educate people on a common brand culture
Following the guidelines in a brand book ensures that all individuals in a company are on the same page.
The company’s own brand book it’s its “brand bible,” and new employees must comprehend and internalize the brand persona that the business tries to showcase.
This is especially useful for creating employee consistency. Picture this: an employee goes to work dressed in a suit, and then the next day, the same person comes wearing ripped jeans, sunglasses, and clothing styles that are not on-brand.
This can certainly contradict the steadiness that a brand is trying to achieve.
Coordinate actions, marketing efforts, and the branding strategy
When a brand communicates, it should do it in a standardized and invariable way.
Imagine that a brand has different logos on different platforms or different tones of voice - this would negatively impact important branding elements.
Therefore, in order to coordinate actions and marketing efforts, most brands follow the communication guidelines established by the brand book.
This allows the possibility to show the company’s purpose similarly in press releases, social media channels, websites, and other channels.
Foster brand evolution
Brands evolve over time - that’s a fact. Brand books are a great way to demonstrate the evolution of a brand through the passing of the years.
For instance, if the brand logo has changed, then comparing the old one to the new logo is a great way to show how the brand has changed.
Of course, the key element of a brand’s personality is its purpose. But the future is bright and has new things to offer, which is why brand books also help brands to transition from one stage to another smoothly.
5 Essential Elements of a Brand Style Guide
Brands create a brand book with a previously determined purpose in mind. Although a brand style guide can be heavily different from one brand to another, there are a set of brand book key elements and visual guidelines to follow.
1. Logo guidelines and usage
A brand’s logo is the most important visual element of a company. It’s necessary to establish logo usage guidelines based on the brand’s needs and communication goals.
For example, some logos need to be resized or placed differently depending on the design elements of a social media post or a billboard.
This creates the need to determine how the company must use its logo across all channels to ensure great logo optimization.
2. Color palette and typography
The primary and secondary colors of your brand determine the entire visual aspect that your target audience will associate with it when they think about the company.
Standardizing the brand’s color palette across all channels is a great way to maintain visual consistency.
Likewise, having a defined font style is one of the best ways to keep the brand’s message unified. Many brands use only one or two primary typefaces, so choosing the appropriate fonts and sizes for different types of content is necessary.
3. Imagery and visual language
A brand's visual language shows what the brands want to transmit to its audiences with its visual content.
Photos, illustrations, interactive elements, and graphics must always follow the brand guidelines on all communication channels to properly transmit the brand identity to everyone.
4. Brand tone, story, and values
One of the most important parts of a brand's personality is the words they use to express its voice.
There are words that brands like, and words that brands don’t like. The implementation of guidelines regarding the brand’s tone of voice is important to ensure on-brand communication in a persistent way.
Some brands will have a more serious and formal approach, whereas other brands will want to sound more confident and direct.
5. Brand guidelines, style, and personality
If we look at the most relevant brand book examples, we’ll soon realize that they have a defined style that goes along with the public perception of the brand.
Therefore, when companies create a brand book, they make all the necessary changes to ensure that people can quickly identify the brand book with the overall sentiment of the business.
Brand books are customized and adapted to the needs of the brand, which means that even if there are basic steps to follow when creating a brand book, the truth is that the key relies on adapting the book to the unique points of view of the company.
Wrapping Up: Understanding the Concept of Brand Brooks
Brand books are more than simple manuals: they establish the behavior and path to follow for brands to achieve one of the most important factors in marketing - consistency.
Nowadays, having an original voice and showing coherence helps brands to establish real connections with their audiences, which undeniably increases the value of brands over time.
That’s why we see successful brands with great brand books that help them through their missions, and learning from them is the best way to find our own brand’s voice and style efficiently.
Is a brand book necessary?
Yes, brand books are necessary. According to Forbes, brands with established style guides have more chances to succeed in competitive markets than brands that don’t pay attention to the way the public perceives them.
What are the most common brand book formats?
Normally, the standard formats for a brand book are PDF, online flipbooks, and slide format (Google Slides, PowerPoint, etc.). It depends on the brand’s needs and requirements as a whole.