Your brand’s mission, vision, and values are embodied in a brand manual and as a business owner, it’s imperative you have this in place if you want your business to remain consistent. Here’s what you need to know.
What Is A Brand Manual?
A brand manual, also called a brand style guide, is a set of rules for how to talk about a brand. It ensures your brand is correctly and consistently portrayed within and outside the company and is shared with employees, contractors, partners, the media and advertising or marketing agencies.
Your brand manual tells others how you want your business to be seen through its logo, font, colour choices, typography, photography, and tone (language); and it shows how all your marketing material should be designed, from your blog posts to your business cards and signage.
Why Are Brand Manuals Important For Entrepreneurs?
If you’re starting a new venture, brand manuals are a crucial part of your setup and should be created around the same time that you do your business plan. It’s designed to:
- Give a voice to your brand so you can ensure the right tone is used in all communications
- Help your brand stand out by giving it personality
- Create trust and value with customers and associates
- Ensure you have consistent content and advertising material
- Increase sales and customer retention by giving your business integrity
How To Create Your Own Brand Manual
Creating your own brand manual is simple, provided you understand your target market. Here’s what you should include in your brand manual:
- Mission statement and Vision: where do you want your business to go and what do you want to achieve? This will ensure your content all have the same end purpose.
- Target audience: Who are the people your marketing and business efforts are targeted towards? How do they speak? What colours or fonts might stand out to them?
- Colours: Choose a colour, or set of colours, to use for your logo and your other branding should follow.
- Editorial: What words should not be used in your content? Are there particular topics or post topics you don’t want to be backlinked to your products? Do you have competitors you don’t want to be mentioned in the same content as your business name?
- Visuals: What font size and style are okay, and what isn’t? Do you have taglines that must be used? Any photos you want to avoid being associated with your business?
Need some inspiration? Here are a few of our favourite brand manual examples:
Skype: The style guide for Skype is quite simple and shows you how you can and cannot use its logo. Their guidelines also include prohibited uses, requirements for usage, permitted usage and FAQs.
Netflix: When you see a large, bright red N anywhere these days, your first thought will head to Netflix. The logo itself is simple but effective, and it has become one of the most recognisable brands in the world. The guidelines set the rules for size, spacing and placement of the logo and the colour coding.
Spotify: Everyone knows the green Spotify logo and while it looks basic, there’s a lot you need to know – and it’s all outlined in their brand guide. For example, the use of a black vs green vs white logo, exclusion zones, and more.
NASA: As you can imagine, NASA’s style guide is big, over 200 pages, and shows you how you can use the logo, what you shouldn’t do, the colours you can use, and other branding rules you need to know.
A brand manual isn’t just about creating great visual content that’s consistent – it also sends potential customers the right message about your business. Using the above tips and brand manual examples above, get started on your own manual today.