So, you’ve invested a healthy chunk of cash in your corporate identity (brand, logo, mark—whatever you wish to call it). These aren’t cheap—we know. It takes weeks of research, planning, and conceptual muscle to create unique identities for companies. But, the true work doesn’t end there.
Just as every company needs an intelligent, polished identity, it also needs a brand standards manual. The two go hand-in-hand. Not having a brand standards manual is like driving a vehicle without insurance—dangerous. Hail storms happen to cars, and damage can be done to your brand, as well.
What exactly is a brand standards manual? It’s an instruction booklet that tells you how, where, and when your corporate identity should be used. It’s a rulebook for your logo and your company’s branding Constitution. It can be concise or lengthy, but a brand standards manual is almost always a necessity.
Are you asking yourself: Do I need a brand standards manual? Well, here are four reasons you do.
1. Consistency. A bottle of Coke tastes the same whether you pop the top in January or June, in Arizona or Alabama. Your brand should have that same consistency, which a brand standards manual helps ensure. The document gives you instructions on how your brand should appear across all media, so your logo looks the same on paper and online.
2. Longevity. Like a car, you want to get good mileage on your corporate identity. Brands are built to last, but they can quickly devalue with improper use. Every time your logo is stretched, in the wrong color, with the wrong type, altered or squished, you lose brand equity. A brand standards manual helps your company hold the value in its brand for many, many years.
3. Collaboration. Unless you are a company of one with an in-house print/web/marketing shop, it’s likely that more than one person will use your branding materials. From printers and advertising agencies, to social media marketers and the intern down the hall, your logo and brand is used by a small army of individuals. A brand standards manual gives everyone access to the same rulebook.
4. Knowledge. Brands are much more than logos and office buildings. Brands are emotions, ideas, and unconscious assumptions based upon how your company communicates to the world. If your company goes through a rebranding or creation of a new logo, there are dozens to hundreds of decisions made that directly impact your business. A brand standards manual puts those ideas and decisions on paper. Your employees may come and go, and your location might move around the block. But, your brand will remain. The information in the brand standards manual gives you the knowledge to weather change.