Maybe it’s a change of font or a slightly different shade of color on a flyer. Perhaps, it’s the tone of voice in a press release that is not quite the same. When various people within your company change your message and/or the way it is presented, even in the most subtle ways, you risk losing your identity.

That’s why the sometimes tedious and time consuming task of establishing a brand standards guide is necessary. When your company has brand standards that you follow consistently, the result is a clear message about what you do, who you serve and how you stand out in your industry.                         

Well-defined brand standards help you:

  • Define and maintain a cohesive, consistent and unique visual identity for your organization.
  • Define core verbal elements that make up your written and spoken communications.
  • Define a unified message and brand identity for your major audience.
  • Differentiate your brand and services from the competition.
  • Maintain your brand and market position through ongoing brand audit and competitive analysis.

To answer this question, start by defining your brand attributes. Brand Attributes are the personality traits that define the facts and voices of your brand’s character and fuel its creative expression. They help us to determine how we view ourselves internally and how we wish to be viewed by the marketplace, guiding everything from value propositions and positioning statements to imagery and fonts.

  • Legacy attributes are solidly entrenched and consistently embodied by your brand. They are fully assimilated into your internal organization and readily associated with you by external market audiences.
  • Aspirational attributes are those with which you are not currently associated but aspire to be. These brand characteristics can be achieved through a company-wide commitment to operationalization and communication.

An honest assessment of attributes is necessary to strategically plan a successful brand communications model. Do you own the must-have “table-stakes attributes” that people expect from your organization? What valued attributes that build loyalty do you need to grow? Which of your attributes are distinctive in the way they set you apart from your competitors?

Brand standards empower and guide your organization in speaking with a singular voice — from executive leadership to administration, marketing, sales and operations. The focused messaging and unique brand identity that result from this singular voice distinguishes your organization from the competition, builds a sense of pride in employees, closes more sales, increases customer loyalty and cuts costs through more efficient development of marketing communications.

Brand standards provide a strategic foundation for building every marketing tool and sales pitch needed. Organizations reduce the time it takes to create high impact sales materials by applying brand standards when developing these communications.

Brand standards empower an organization to create consistency across all collateral, whether it be a website, brochure, traditional ad, digital ad, mailer or tradeshow display.

Once you establish who you are to everyone in your company, it’s easier to communicate that message to your audiences and gain their buy in. In the end, brand messaging isn’t really about fonts, colors or tone of voice. It’s about the bottom line.