A brand book, a corporate identity guide, or in other words “brand bible” is one of the main documents of the marketing department, but in practice, not every marketing manager knows that he is responsible for creating such a document, and even more so not every marketing manager thought about the need for its development.
In this article, we will look at the reasons for the importance of the document for both small businesses and large companies; we will describe the main elements and structure of the brand book; we will learn how to write the right development brief and give some illustrative examples from the experience of the world’s leading brands.
1. Do not confuse the brand book and the guideline.
When speaking about a brand book, some experts mean only a separate part of it – the rules for working with the corporate identity of the company, the rules for using the logo, and key design elements.
In fact, a high-quality brand book is more than a description of the corporate style. The brand book outlines the global goals of the company in the market, describes the values and philosophy of the brand, the preferred marketing programs and actions, the key consumers of the company.
2. Create a holistic picture
Each brand book should begin with a story about the brand. Describe those moments of the product’s existence on the market that have left a historical imprint on the character and brand image.
Such moments can be: the composition of the product, images of past advertising campaigns, unsuccessful or successful products, the style of communication and interaction with the consumer.
3. Remember what exactly you are selling
An important section of the brand book is a description of the company’s vision or mission and philosophy, general principles of working in the market and key brand values.
This block is essentially a short description of the current product development strategy, indicates the key brand elements that must always be used and allows all participants in the positioning process to clearly understand what the brand they are advertising is.
4. Draw a portrait of the client
The description of the consumer helps to understand at what level, using what terms, tone or communication style it is more effective to organize the communication of the brand with the client.
Is it necessary to use simple vocabulary, simple visual images, or is it important to use complex professional terms, schemes? Conservatism or innovation prevails in the motive for buying a product? – the exact answers to these questions should be disclosed in the brand book.
5. Eliminate the possibility of design mistakes
It is not enough just to give examples of the use of the logo. A good brand book describes the basic principles of brand design design: acceptable fonts, color palette, rules for using images and images, emotional direction in design, rules for using a company logo. This part should be done by a professional designer.
6. Consider the specifics of your business
Brand book development is always a creative process, so don’t try to stick to a template. The content of each of the sections of the brand book may vary depending on the range of necessary tasks and on the type of activity of the company.
For one company, a brief description of the philosophy and design principles will suffice. For another, you will need a whole Talmud, which provides the basis for marketing brand promotion, in which it will be written where and when this advertising element can be used.
7. Set boundaries for your brand.
As you develop your brand book, keep in mind what boundaries you want to set when working with the company’s brand. If the requirements are very strict, you may be missing out on interesting new and creative solutions. And if the framework is blurred and loose, you can lose the uniqueness and character of the company’s brand.
Brand book checklist
As a result, the content of the brand book should look like this:
1. Description of the history and overall vision of the brand
2. Description of the key principles of the brand’s work in the market
3. Characteristics of the target audience of the brand
4. Description of the nature, keywords, tone and style of communication of the brand with the consumer
5. Basic principles of marketing programs and work with social media
6. Rules and examples of logo use
7. Requirements for fonts
8. Requirements for the color palette
9. Requirements for the style of images
10. Existing design layouts of business cards, brochures, packaging, advertising materials
Finally, support each requirement with visual examples of correct and incorrect use.