Brand style guide: how to ensure company-wide implementation
To ensure brand recognition, it’s important to document brand design elements in a brand style guide. This allows employees to check current guidelines and implement them correctly in their documents or communications. A brand style guide includes instructions on the logo, wording, font colors, as well as the mission and vision of a company. Here’s how you can ensure brand compliance in your company.
What do you need a brand style guide for?
A brand style guide provides the basis for your employees to present a consistent corporate image to your customers and business partners. Why is that so important?
The more often we see something, the better we remember it. That’s why we associate certain colors with companies, such as red with Coca-Cola or magenta with Telekom.
In the B2C sector, this is achieved with broad-based advertising measures. Creating B2B recognition value is often more difficult. Especially in B2B communication, MS Office documents can act as brand ambassadors.
It’s essential to represent the company in a brand-compliant way during correspondence. But a consistently coherent corporate image can only be achieved if all company employees adhere to the current branding style guide.
How to ensure that your brand style guide is implemented effectively
Once your company has a brand style guide – created in-house or by an agency - it must be distributed to employees to create a good foundation for implementation.
Designate a corporate design officer
One person in your branding or marketing team should be responsible for corporate design and brand compliance. This way, everyone has a contact person for questions and someone responsible for all corporate design-related projects, such as creating a brand style guide as well as maintaining and updating it.
- A competent contact person for all corporate design and branding topics.
- The appointed person needs sufficient time and resources to perform the job diligently.
- You need a plan in case the person leaves the company or falls ill.
Get users actively involved
You should involve your employees both in the creation of the brand style guide and in the question of how you want to introduce it to everyone. In this way, you arouse interest, promote an exchange of ideas, and ensure that the branding guidelines are firmly anchored in everyone’s mind.
- Involvement creates more engagement.
- New perspectives help in the creation and implementation of the brand style guide.
- The more people are involved in branding discussions, the longer they take.
Internal brand compliance training
One way to inform employees about the brand style guide is through in-house training sessions. These take place during core working hours in one or more sessions, depending on people’s availability. They’re led by your branding or marketing staff who were responsible for creating the branding style guide. All your employees should attend one of these training sessions.
- It’s a practical way to introduce all employees to the style guide, increasing understanding and acceptance.
- Everything takes place in-house. You control training content. You can schedule several training sessions and provide refresher seminars without much effort.
- Training can seem very theoretical. Participants often can’t remember all the information.
- Recordings of trainings are rarely viewed as a refresher after the fact.
- Live training takes time out of employees’ workday.
Hire an agency to create your brand style guide and implement it
You can commission external agencies to create your brand style guide and provide appropriate training. You must clarify whether the training will take place on your premises or employees will have to visit the agency.
- An external look at your branding may bring new ideas.
- The external service provider has more experience in creating brand compliance training.
- In addition to the challenges of in-house training, hiring an outside agency is costly.
Make your branding style guide easily accessible!
Your branding style guide should be available to your employees in one central location and also delivered personally to all your employees via email. The guide must be easy for everyone to find and use. If someone has to spend a long time looking for it, that increases the risk they’ll rely on uncertain memories about the content or ignore corporate design guidelines altogether.
Simply sending a PDF is not enough. Instead, try to integrate your style guide directly into your brand and marketing tools, and even into the software people already use.
- All employees have quick access to the guide.
- Uncertainties are quickly clarified by the brand style guide.
- Automatic application of style guidelines – if the brand style guide is embedded in the applications people already use.
- Misinterpretation of the style guide is reduced or even eliminated.
- A structure must be created in which the guide can be centrally available or embedded.
How can you verify compliance with a brand style guide?
Simple: you can’t. It’s impossible to check every single document and email against corporate design before sending it out.
But you can make it as straightforward as possible for your employees to adhere to corporate design - whether by providing the branding guide in an easy-to-use way or by deploying tools that simplify the creation of brand-compliant documents.
The empower® Brand Control solution is one such tool. Our solution easily integrates into Microsoft Office applications. The empower® add-ins for MS Office allow you to preset your corporate design fonts and font colors so that everyone can easily select them in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. This improves brand compliance, and saves people about 8 hours a week of formatting work!
Our empower® Design Check enables people to check the compliance of their presentations with corporate design. If the check finds deviations, they can be automatically adjusted with just one click.
The empower® Brand Control solution allows you to centrally manage Outlook signatures across your company. You control the appearance of company-wide signatures and ensure that everyone includes relevant legal information in their email signatures. For more information on email signature marketing, see our email marketing guide.
Contact our experts to learn more about the empower® Brand Control solution. We look forward to hearing from you!
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