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Brand Guidelines

Brand guidelines exist for a variety of reasons. But not everyone understands why.

Recently a client reached out to me because they had a new, senior employee who wouldn’t adhere to the brand standards we had created for the organization. Not wanting to rely just on the “because I said so and I’m the boss” argument, my client wanted help explaining to their new rebel why brand guidelines matter. I was only too happy to oblige and thought I’d share our response with you here.

Brand guidelines bring many benefits to an organization. Most importantly, they give them the power to tell their stories in consistent, memorable, authentic, and professional ways.

Consistency. Data show that brands that are consistently represented verbally and visually enjoy greater recall more quickly. In other words, each time someone is exposed to a new iteration of a message, they have to restart the process of getting to know and trust its source.

Memorable. Similarly, when the same face (visual identity) and voice (verbal identity) are presented over and over again, they become easier to remember. Imagine if humans’ faces and voices changed from one meeting to another. Keeping track of who each other is would be exponentially more difficult.

Authenticity. Messages that use the same visual and verbal identities are seen as more authentic. Differences in design and language make it more difficult for people to connect with one organization as those differences suggest multiple points of view, agendas, or leaders.

Professional. A consistently represented brand also demonstrates professionalism and discipline. It’s what differentiates serious organizations from pet projects, fly-by-night operations, and side hustles.

In short, without brand guidelines, your organization looks like a contestant at Amateur Night! Get them, stick to them, and reap the rewards!

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