brand guide template from a full service creative team

Brand Guide Template and Brand Consistency

by | Apr 15, 2023 | Blog, E-commerce, FAQs Articles

A Quick Word From Your Full-Service Creative Team…

When you are starting a business, one of the most important decisions you will make with your creative team is how you will brand your company. Although this may sound like an easy one-step process, this could not be further from the truth. Developing an effective brand includes everything from graphic design choices to brand identity initiatives, the content choices you make, and much more. Because there are so many decisions to make, it’s essential to have a clear and concise brand guide template so that all of your marketing materials are on-brand and aligned with your vision.

In this article, our full-service creative team will provide a baseline branding process for your company and give some tips on how you can create a successful brand strategy. With this brand guide template, you should have a decent road map for the future development of your company’s overall brand identity and product message.

brand guide template infographic

What is a brand anyway?

To put it simply, a brand is the culmination of all the tangible and intangible associations a company has built up over time. It’s everything from the products or services you offer to your company culture, values, and mission. Your brand is what sets you apart from your competitors and is meant to be an extension of your company’s identity.

When we put all of this together, there should be an underlying narrative that tells the story about your product and company. This is the foundation of a strong brand and something that our full-service creative team can help you develop.

(Need to know more about brand strategy? Check out our article on Brand Strategy and Why it Matters!)

Where to begin?

There is quite a big difference between a brand kit template and a brand guide template. If you look at these “brand kit” templates online, you’ll notice that they all want you to start with your logo design first. This strategy will get you a symbolic representation of what you believe your company and product represent. Although company logos can be a great source of inspiration, we do not recommend starting with the company logo or graphic design.

In our experience, the development of a strong brand always starts with the strategy first. The reason being is that if you do not have a clear understanding of your company’s positioning, values, and goals, it will be difficult to make informed decisions about the design and messaging of your brand.

(Still not sure what the difference is between a brand and a logo? Read about the difference here.)

These are some of the questions our full-service creative team recommends you answer before starting the branding process:

– What are your company’s core values?

– What is your mission statement?

– What do you want to be known for?

– Who is your target audience?

– How do you want your customers to feel when they interact with your brand?

 

These questions should act as the opening doors to your creative process and will jump-start the development of your brand guide template. If you can answer these questions, you will be well on your way to understanding the messaging and voice you want your brand to have.

old spice ad campaigns

Brand Guide Template: Detailed Outline

Now that we have the appropriate starting point, let’s have the questions above act as our guide through the outline process. To make it simple, we have bullet points and explanations for each part of the brand guide outline. Afterwards, we will discuss a few over-arching themes you want to keep in mind while building out your brand guide template and brand development strategy.

company background for brand consistency

Section 1: Company Background

Core Values/About Us

  • This section should be guided by your company’s core values and act as an introduction to your brand. This is the perfect place to start talking about what sets you apart from your competitors and how you want your background to be presented. This is a chance to find out what’s important to you and construct the foundation for your brand narrative and identity.

Mission Statement

  • You will also want to decide what your mission statement will be. This simple sentence or phrase will capture the essence of what your brand is all about and be a rallying point for both customers and employees.

Tip From Your Full-service Creative Team: Try finding a quote that inspires you, has inspired you, or embodies the underlying message you want people to hear through your company’s storytelling.

 

main branding factors

Section 2: Main Branding Factors

Apart from your graphic design and company logo decisions, determining your main branding factors will be the bulk of your remaining brand guide template. The answers to “What do you want to be known for?” and “Who is your target audience?” should help guide you through this process.

Brand Identity

  • This is what will make you recognizable and differentiated in the market. It’s how people see, feel, and think about your company. Creating a strong brand identity can help increase brand awareness, customer loyalty, and indirectly increase your ROI in the marketing department. The more effectively you can convey this to your audience and creative agency, the more you will get out of the money spent on that creative agency or advertising firm.
target market for brand guide template

Section 2a: Target Market

  • Once you have developed this brand identity and underlying narrative, there are some specific nuances you need to determine with regard to your target market. This is one of the most vital branding factors for any newly developed company. Even if you have a very strong brand identity and hardline message, it is useless if you are not speaking to the right people.
  • According to a study from the University of Pittsburgh, there are few key elements to any audience. These are the elements you should take into consideration:

Audience Expectations – What expectations does your product or brand set for the audience?

For example: if you are selling safety equipment for outdoor sports, your audience expects the equipment to be effective.

Topic Knowledge – How will you convey the efficacy of your product? Considering not everyone will be an expert on the topic, how will you ensure your message is still being conveyed?

For example: if you are selling a new type of fishing rod, and part of the appeal is that it is easier to use, you will want to target those who are recreational fishermen or have an interest in fishing but don’t consider themselves experts.

Demographics – There are those who start their company and release their product without consulting a team of marketing experts beforehand. The problem is they only focus on the demographics of their target market or target audience. This is a common mistake and often only gives you a two-dimensional view of your target market.

For example: if you are selling a new type of tennis racket, and your target market is ” affluent middle-aged women,” this only gives you a very limited view of who will be interested in purchasing your product.

Demographics are extremely important but are only one piece of the target market puzzle.

Setting/Lifestyle – This is the environment in which you will be marketing your product. Determining where you should market your product (i.e. stores, websites, etc.) is just as important as to whom you should market your product.

For example: if you are selling a new type of running shoe, you will want to market it in places where people who run frequently shop. This would include sporting goods stores, running specialty stores, and even some department stores.

You will also want to consider how this product will fit into your target market’s lifestyle. If your target market is busy professional women, you will want to make sure your product is marketed in places where they are likely to see it (i.e. not just running stores but also websites, magazines, and social media platforms that they frequent).

As you can see, this is a very lengthy process, and the more people you have to brainstorm these topics, the better. Creative agencies like Unhinged are filled with experts and creative professionals who can be part of this brainstorming process. The ideas are always yours, but the feedback and contributions are priceless.

Your content will revolve around section 2 of this outline primarily because it paints a comprehensive picture of your target audience and brand identity. Content creation and content strategy are entirely separate processes. Our content strategy workshops and content creators can help you incorporate your brand guide template into the content strategy process.

(Check out this article about digital marketing and Why Content Creation Requires Real People!)

brand consistency with logo design

Section 3: Logo Design and Brand Presentation

Now that you’ve been patient, we finally come to the fun part: logo design and visual representation of your brand. We won’t go into the finite details of this process as this is just an outline for your full-service creative agency and graphic designers to use for their professional services. However, we’ll give you a quick overview of the process and what to expect from us. Logo design – Our team of experts will work with you to create a logo that embodies your company’s values and mission. We’ll start with a brainstorming session to get some initial ideas down on paper. From there, we’ll create a few mockups and present them to you for feedback. We’ll make revisions based on your feedback until we have a logo that you love. In the meantime, logo design will include:

– Color scheme

– Typography

– Iconography/Symbolism

– Visual identity standards

And more Logo design aspects from Hubspot!
brand consistency is key!

Brand Consistency

When creating this outline, the most important element to keep in mind is brand consistency! Customers need to think of your brand as something concrete and tangible. They need to be able to see your logo and know immediately that it’s yours. This is why we focus on creating a strong visual identity for your brand. Without consistency, your brand appears flimsy to the general public and you miss out on building brand loyalty.

Conclusion

To quote Silicon Valley creative, Marty Neumeier, your company narrative, brand identity, logo, and visual design choices are created to be a “result.” They solve a problem for your target audience and culminate into one solution for you as the business owner: a successful business and product. Ultimately, results are what we are after and brand consistency is the road we take to get there!

(See this quick video on branding to hear more from the boss himself!)

As we stated earlier, this is just a guide for us as we move forward with developing your brand. The real work begins now and we can’t wait to get started.

Download our free brand guide template now and start building out your brand’s bright future!

Thank you for choosing Unhinged Creative Agency!

 

This article was brought to you by Unhinged, a full-service creative team specializing in brand development, content strategy, and graphic design. Visit our website to learn more about our services or contact us to get started on your branding journey

References: Stone , Taughnee. “10 Essential Branding Factors to Build a Successful Brand.” Endeavor Creative | Brand Strategy for Service-Based Entrepreneurs, 8 Nov. 2019, https://endeavorcreative.com/branding-factors/ 22 Best Branding Quotes to Inspire You – 99designs. https://99designs.com/blog/business/branding-quotes/ “Audience Analysis.” University of Pittsburgh: Department of Communication, University of Pittsburgh, 2015, https://www.comm.pitt.edu/oral-comm-lab/audience-analysis Free Templates | CANVA. https://www.canva.com/templates/ Hoppe, Meg. “7 Principles of Kick-Ass Logo Design.” HubSpot Blog, HubSpot, 29 Oct. 2021, https://blog.hubspot.com/insiders/logo-design-tips Marino, Susie. “5 Reasons Brand Consistency Matters (+10 Ways to Build It).” LocaliQ, 5 July 2022, https://localiq.com/blog/brand-consistency/ Millman, Debbie. Brand Bible: The Complete Guide to Building, Designing, and Sustaining Brands. Rockport Publishers, 2012 TheSkoolRocks. “What Is Branding? 4 Minute Crash Course.” YouTube, YouTube, 31 Dec. 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sO4te2QNsHY
About Jake Tripp
I'm a content strategist and copywriter who specializes in social media and blog content architecture. I help brands nationwide to communicate their values and build loyal audiences.
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