Brand Managers know how challenging it is make sure the brand message is consistently reflected across the company departments, outside service providers and customers. Moreover, it takes time and effort to communicate the brand essence, differentiation elements, what the brand values are, and how these values should be promoted to customers.
Therefore I believe that brand manuals are a must for every firm that wants to own a strong brand. Often ignored, these documents help the marketer maintain the unity of the brand portfolio by making sure that people who work on various brand elements will not alter its substance.
What is a brand manual?
Also known as brand guidelines or standards, these documents summarize what the brand is all about from a strategic perspective and provide step-by-step instructions on how brand elements such as the logo, color scheme and fonts should be created, positioned, and communicated.
Why is it important?
Your should have guidelines for all the brands in its portfolio in order to:
Guide graphic designers in the process of crafting a unified “look and feel” for the communication materials
Make sure the communication message is reproduced correctly, consistently, and in line with the firms objectives across different departments, communication channels and suppliers
Provide company employees with direction and focus
Let the designers to focus on elements where he/she can add value and eliminates unnecessary changes made for the sake of being different
Provide a one stop source of information about the brand to the new employees
Increase marketers’ productivity and efficiency
Who Is The Beneficiary?
The manual will benefit every employee, outside collaborators and partners who are involved in managing, changing and representing the brand
Who Should Write It?
In most cases the responsibility of putting together the manual in delegated to the Marketing department. That being said the entire company should be involved in its creation. Internal personnel should be trained to become ambassadors for the brand since their buy-in is needed to uniformity in communicating the brand message.
The brand manual is distributed to a wide audience with diverse backgrounds, so the information should be presented in plain language without unnecessary jargon. It should include many examples and be “visual” rather than an elaborate story.
All employees should have access to the brand manual, as well as external parties involved in the brand building process. Remember to make it available them to every new employee and service provider. Many firms post the brand manual on their website, which show openness and desire to create a powerful brand.