Ten Elements All Written Company Guidelines Should Include

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GuidesQ: We are creating written guidelines for our brand for the first time. What is one important element or topic I should definitely include?

A: Humor. “We’re the type of company that likes to have fun with everything, so the guidelines for our brand tend to incorporate a lot of our humor into everything we put out. Let your brand shine through. Don’t let someone tell you how you have to be or what you have to be doing. Let your company and everything about you be incorporated into your guidelines.” John Rampton, Due

A logo, but know how and when to use it. “Often times, companies will send out their logo without guidelines on space relationships, approved colors or approved variations. This is an issue because designers at other companies will bend and manipulate a logo to fit a design or layout, but in doing so they will ruin the integrity of both.” Thomas Cullen, LaunchPad Lab

Your mission statement. “While we might all think we’re in business to make money, the reality is that we have other reasons for working hard to achieve our dreams. You’ll want to include a mission statement that focuses on what makes your company tick from the inside out. Don’t be limited; pour your heart into this piece and see what statements really resonate with you.” Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

The message that ties all communication together. “One of the biggest struggles in communicating as a brand is understanding how each individual message fits into your overall brand strategy. The best way to keep your messaging across channels and mediums coherent is to define what the ‘bigger message’ is that you are telling your customers. For a good example, look at GoPro, their bigger message would be something like ‘Everyone can be a hero.'” Nick Reese, BroadbandNow

Your brand’s look, feel, form and function. “We’ve articulated our branding guidelines around the look (visual elements), feel (emotional elements), form (what we do) and function (how it all works and the customer experience). Documenting brand colors and fonts is a good place to start, but equally important is the tone of voice in your writing and emotion evoked in your imagery. Your aim is to create a positive lasting impression.” David Ciccarelli, Voices.com

A specific tone of voice. “You should set the tone of voice you want to establish for communications. Whether it’s technical, funny, irreverent or serious, you need to be consistent in how you communicate — not just in what you say. Doing this also forces you to go back, look at your target market and compare their needs to how you’ve been communicating in the past. You might find ways to improve communications, too.” Dave Nevogt, Hubstaff.com

Particular aesthetics. “Take note of every detail that needs to stay constant throughout your brand. For example, the exact colors, buttons, height of the text, font, etc. Include your brand’s core values, action words and adjectives. You can also offer examples of your brand as a whole. Everything thing that goes into what you need to embody.” Jayna Cooke, EVENTup

Core values. “Focus on your mission statement and core values first. My brand’s mission statement is broad — Make Life Better — but it informs everything that we do. If partners and my team members know from the get go why we do things, they’ll better understand what differentiates our brand and know how we do things without much instruction. Then they’ll be more likely to take initiative.” Nick Bayer, Saxbys Coffee

Concrete examples. “Describing your brand standards is important in helping your employees understand the ‘why,’ but providing examples makes those standards concrete and greatly increases compliance. No matter what the topic is — logo usage, brand name guidelines, trademark symbol usage, brand voice, etc. — or how straightforward your guidelines are, provide examples (both correct and incorrect) for everything.” Robert De Los Santos, Sky High Party Rentals

A manifesto. “A manifesto can be a simple statement of principles or a bold, rebellious call to action. It’s a powerful reminder of who are and why you’re here. Building a manifesto into your written guidelines embodies and documents your beliefs so that whoever interacts with the brand knows what you believe, what you stand for, what’s important to you and why you matter.” Sunny Bonnell, Motto

(Source: TCA)