Updated: Jul 16, 2019
“Visuals are important because people remember only 20% of what they read and 10% of what they hear. However, people remember about 80% of what they see and do. That means the more interactive your brand message is, the more likely a person is to remember it long term.” —Jeanne Juneau, Designer
A good visual always starts with great branding. Since people remember 80% of what they see, establishing, maintaining, and adhering to brand standards is an essential practice for a company to protect the integrity of their brand.
A well-developed brand standards guide is an essential go-to tool for establishing and maintaining brand identity. A brand standards guide is a key asset to help content creators, employees, or anyone representing the company communicate a consistent brand message to your audience.
What are brand standards?
Brand standards are a set of tools and rules on how to use your branding elements: logos, taglines, visuals, and voice. These standards are used by designers, writers, and anyone else using your brand elements to develop your marketing materials.
Brand standards should be used to keep your company’s brand consistent. Whether your business is small or large, brand standards are critical to help your brand work efficiently and effectively. Without standards, your brand message could change dramatically at any point, especially if the logo is used improperly or color choice is not consistent.
A few important reasons why you need brand standards
Brand standards are important in strategic brand management; they are used to determine brand positioning for a company or organization. These standards help communicate a company’s voice—what that company is trying to say. Standards can place your brand at the forefront of the market. Consumers should easily identify your brand, which is essential to your company’s success.
Changing your logo colors, or other elements, to better fit certain marketing material should be done cautiously. Changing brand elements may dilute the power and recognizability of your logo to consumers.
Set standards and rules
A brand standard guide will include specific rules and guidelines for using font type, color palettes, visuals, and corporate and product logos. For example, specifying size, position on a page, and the use of white space.
Need a brand refresh? Think about rebranding
Rebranding is vital for any company that is looking to freshen up their brand recognition. A brand refresh maintains a visual connection to how the brand identity was seen before with an up-to-date, modern, more vibrant design that is geared toward today’s more digital audiences. The rebranding process isn’t simple and shouldn’t be looked at as a quick task. As Jeanne states, “It demands time, attention, and a deep dive into who you are now and how you want to be perceived in the future. Rebranding reviews, examines, and clarifies who you are, who your audiences are, and how you want to be perceived in the future.”
Start with a business reason: A thorough understanding of the business reason behind rebranding is essential. Is it a need to reposition in the market place? Accelerate growth or improve reputation?
Research your firm and your target audience: This is crucial. Without objective research, you will build a brand on false assumptions. And without adequate research, your investments in employee time and new marketing materials will be a financial loss. The wrong rebranding could even lead to a negative reflection of your company.
Use positioning and messaging to capture your brand strategy: Your messaging must balance who you are with who you want to become. Be able to support your positioning or your brand will be hollow, lacking impact and recognition.
Build your brand identity: Describe your brand in a brand standards guideline, which will ensure your brand is implemented consistently and most effectively across all of your marketing materials.
Build online presence and marketing collateral: Your website is your single most valuable communication and business development tool. Develop marketing materials to effectively communicate your message.
Brand building plan: Develop and launch a plan to promote and strengthen your brand refresh. Build on this, as it is essential that your designers, writers, and employees embrace the new brand.
A few last words
A brand standards guide is an essential asset to keep brand identity consistent, recognizable, and understandable. Brand standards are essential for establishing, maintaining, and adhering to these criteria in order to protect your brand’s integrity. However, if a company decides, after careful deliberation and market study, that a change in branding is necessary, then brand refresh should be considered.
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