Brand is everything if you are trying to create a business of value – Gary Vaynerchuk , Entreprenur, Author, Speaker
Isn’t that what we are all trying to do? Create a business of value? So we can do what we love for a living, provide financially for our families, be there for our children and contribute to the community? So let’s talk about brand and how a style guide can help you.
Your brand is more than your logo. Your brand is everything that your customer sees, hears and experiences when coming in contact with your company. It’s how you communicate your message, it’s your tone of voice, it’s your actions and it’s what you look like. It’s what makes you different from your competitors and what your customers identify with.
Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room – Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon
It’s important that you are purposeful and consistent with your branding. You want to become recognisable and trusted. You want to connect with your customer. Your brand will do this for you and a style guide will help you to define your brand.
If you had your logo designed by a graphic designer you may already have a style guide, like above, specifying your colours, ways to use your logo and its elements, and the fonts to use on your website. This is a great place to start. As mentioned above though this isn’t the extent of your brand.
Here are some other things to consider:
- What is your brand message or mantra? What are your strengths and how are you different to your competitors?
- What is your brand experience? Describe how the customer will feel when they come into contact with you.
- What is your brand style/voice? Are you quirky, fierce, conservative, playful, professional?
You can start by casting a critical eye over the content you have put out there already. Is there a theme running through it or are you sending mixed messages? If you have a theme that’s great! You’re already on the way to having a brand voice. If you don’t, what content did you get the most response from? How is that different to the posts or images that maybe didn’t do so well?
The next step is to look at imagery.
- What websites or images do you love? Why? How do they make you feel and is this how you want to come across to your audience?
- What images on Instagram or Pinterest bring about the vibe you want to achieve? Moody, light, playful, dark?
- What other graphics or design elements speak to you?
When all of these elements are combined, your voice, your values and your look, and when all these things are consistent, then your brand becomes recognisable. Your customers connect with you as soon as they come into contact with each stage of your business or each piece of content you put out there. That’s powerful.
Putting this together has the added benefit of making you more efficient. Are you designing a new advert? Have a look at your style guide and you know what basic elements and font to use. It also allows you to easily delegate content creation. A virtual assistant (VA), designer, webmaster, photographer, copy writer can look at your document and immediately know your brand style and story. They can then create content that directly connects your brand to your audience because it has been spelt out for them! Less stress right? That’s winning.
If you need some photography for your website that is in line with YOUR brand send me a message. Together we can use your style guide to create images that speak to you customer and connect them emotionally. I love what I do and I’d love to help you.