The Ultimate Guide to Creating an Effective Brand Book

by Mike Jansen

Hundreds of blogs, videos, and podcasts are created on a daily basis, explaining the importance of branding. Effective branding not only increases visibility but also plays an important role in increasing revenue.

A study found that consistent branding generated 23 percent more revenue annually for businesses. Despite the advantages, the study found that a staggering 60 percent did not have formal branding guidelines. In fact, these businesses didn’t always follow brand guidelines.

The fundamental reason for businesses, both big and small, failing to capitalize on the benefits of consistent branding lies in the fact that they do not have proper guidelines in place.  

A brand book can help a business grow by providing the consistency required for fostering brand awareness and loyalty.

This blog will help you understand the importance of a brand book, the key elements, and how you can create one for your brand.

What is a brand book?

A brand book is a document that contains various guidelines required to maintain brand identity. From marketing campaigns to products and services, the brand book shapes and influences every aspect of branding.

A brand book mainly focuses on the following:

  • Logo usage
  • Color schemes
  • Tone of voice
  • Photo and image usage

Apart from the above, a brand book also  helps with the following:

  • Various teams and management know exactly what they need to do.
  • It improves the overall brand position.
  • Business and marketing strategies are aligned to give you better results. 

In simple words, a brand book contains the brand’s DNA blueprint.

Why should businesses create a brand book?

Whatever the size of your company, a brand book allows you to be consistent with your branding efforts. Apart from the consistency factor, a brand book helps you keep things in order and provide your employees, customers, and clients a complete image of your brand.

For a designer, a brand book is like the Holy Grail. A designer can find all the information regarding the company logo, designs, colors, website, and other important details in the brand book.

For the marketing team, a brand book offers valuable insights into the language and the brand narrative. The guidelines in the brand book help the marketing team formulate interesting marketing strategies.

A business looking to create a detailed and consistent image of the brand should create a brand book.

How long should your brand book be?

From a single-page brochure to a multiple-page booklet, a brand book can vary depending on the complexity of your brand. A brand book contains all the guidelines, from the visual elements to varied marketing materials.

A small online start-up with a basic website and defined colors and typography may choose to have a one-page brand book. However, a brand with a diverse mode of operations and marketing strategies will be different. A brand that has opted for various modes of marketing will most likely have a brand book with several pages that lay out the usage guidelines.

Ideally, a brand book should not be too long but should share all the required information as briefly as possible.

The key elements of a brand book

The elements of a brand book may vary from industry to industry. That said, the key elements of a brand book may be divided into three broad categories: brand introduction, visual guidelines, and communication guidelines.

Brand introduction

The first section of the brand book generally focuses on the story behind the brand. The idea behind the “about” section is to inform your employees, customers, and investors about your brand’s mission, vision, and values. The section also explores how the various visual identities of your brand have evolved over the years.

Apart from talking about the brand’s past, the brand intro section focuses on where the brand currently stands and what its future plans are.

The brand introduction section sets a context for the entire content that is to follow. Unless you understand the first section, comprehending visual and communications guidelines will become difficult.

Visual guidelines

The visual guidelines section of the brand book is the bulkiest since it focuses on various visual identity regulations. Let us take a quick tour.

  • Logo: The brand logo forms one of the most important elements of a brand’s visual identity. A logo is the signature of the brand. The brand emblem connects with the audience and fosters brand identity. A brand book ensures that the logo is not stretched or incorrectly resized. Apart from informing about the various dimensions of the logo, the brand book also clarifies how and when the company logo is to be used.
  • Fonts: The typeface accurately represents a brand. Each font is unique and affects customers and potential buyers in a certain way. Once you select the font that best describes your brand, you should include it in your brand book. You should also include examples of how your fonts are to be used.
  • Color: Just like fonts, every color affects the mind differently. Red evokes passion, love, and vitality, whereas blue portrays serenity, calmness, and wisdom. Brands and colors share a unique relationship because they help establish brand identity. For example, we associate Coca-Cola with red and Facebook with blue. You should clearly mention the colors along with their HEX, RGB, and CMYK codes in your brand book.
  • Taglines: Whether it is your brand tagline or a product tagline, they help your brand separate from the crowd. While the company tagline might not be the first thing customers notice, it can prove useful as it helps fill gaps that the marketing doesn’t cover. Some companies even use a logo along with the company tagline. In a brand book, you should mention the purpose of your tagline and how and where it should be used.
  • Images: In this segment of your brand book, you should clearly mention the kind of images and photographs that can be used. You should also mention the resource database if you do not want to use stock photography. The images should highlight and be properly aligned with the brand image.
  • Website and page structure: You may have one or multiple websites; mentioning how the images and the letters should appear makes life easier for designers. Apart from the website, you should also mention how you want your company brochure and other pages and write-ups to appear.   
  • PR Policies: PR helps build relationships with clients and customers to promote the reputation of the brand. PR policies also shape how a company is perceived over time. The public relations policy section of the brand book must outline who and how the company is to be represented through various channels.

Communication guidelines

The last section of the brand book usually instructs about how the brand should communicate. The section generally defines the following:

Language: The official language used by the brand to communicate with its audience must be included in the brand book.

Style: The style generally refers to the formatting.

Tone: Like the visual elements, the tone should be in line with the brand personality. For example, if your brand deals with children’s products, the tone of your voice should be cheerful.

Social media: The brand book should include the structure of posts based on various social media platforms.

How to create a brand book

Creating a good brand book depends on how well you understand the unique character of your brand. Once you understand and define the four core components of your business, you will be in a better position to create an effective brand book. Let us quickly explore the four components of a business:

Brand vision

The brand vision is what guides a brand to make decisions. Simply put, the brand vision refers to the ideas behind a brand. Answering the following questions will enable you to understand your brand vision:

  • How big do you want your brand to get?
  • Do you plan to establish branches along with offering new products and services?
  • Define the kind of legacy your brand wants to create?

Brand mission

The brand mission is the purpose behind your brand. When formulating the brand mission, you should avoid any vague concepts, which can confuse the audience.  Answering the following question will enable you to clearly state your brand mission.

  • Why does your brand exist?
  • Is the brand offering solutions to a serious problem?
  • Is the brand trying to make a difference?

The answers to these questions will enable you to separate your brand from the crowd.

The brand book must contain the brand mission and vision in the brand introduction section.

Brand persona

The various attributes of your brand personality and values are referred to as the brand persona. A well-defined persona helps the marketers formulate proper marketing strategies. Customers can easily identify and connect with your brand when the brand persona is distinct. 

Target audience

The target audience is the specific group of customers or potential buyers who are most likely to buy your products or services. Your brand book must clearly mention who your target audience is. And to do that, you need to ask the following questions first:

  • Who is the product designed for?
  • Who should subscribe to your newsletter?
  • What are your customers’ wants and needs?

When you know your market segment, you are in a better position to customize your message according to the demographics.

Pro tips for designing an effective brand book

Designing an attractive and useful brand book for customers and your team is a challenge. However, following a few tips will enable you to create a powerful brand book.

Who is the brand book for?

Is the brand book for your team? Is it for your target audience? Or is the brand book for your clients? A brand book for your team will differ from the one created solely for your target audience. If the book is designed for your team, you must include all the relevant guidelines. If it is for your target audience, you must curtail the use of industry jargon.

Be simple

Whether you want to create a great-looking logo or an effective brand book, simplicity is the key to success. If you want your brand book to be embraced by all, you must ensure that everything in it is in its simplest form.

Be creative    

The best part about creating a brand book is that there are no specific rules. You can create your brand book the way you want to. So, being creative with your designs can separate you from your peers. You can use various images and graphic designs to create your brand book. That said, you should always try to keep things uncomplicated.

Put relevant information

The reason behind creating a brand book is to share key details about your company with your team or a target audience, which is why it makes sense to share specific and relevant information. If you feel your book is getting cluttered with unwanted information, you should immediately remove them.  

Involve your staff

Involving your team in the creation process will make them feel a part of your brand. When you involve your team, you get new ideas plus, your team easily embraces the guidelines. As a business owner, you should always try to involve your team in various projects.

Related: Rebranding strategies: The ultimate guide

Examples of top 5 brand book

  1. Coca-Cola
Coca Cola Brand Book

The Coca-Cola brand book brilliantly brings out the emotions that the brand portrays. The Coca-Cola brand book is the perfect example of creativity and simplicity.

  1. Google Trends
Google Trends Brand Book

Simple, clean, and relevant, the Google Trends brand book presents its brand in the most creative way possible. When you see a big brand such as Google create an uncomplicated brand book, you immediately realize the importance of simplicity.

  1. Spotify
Spotify Brand Book

The Spotify brand book is just as interesting as their logo! The brand book contains all the important guidelines that may be required for creating relevant marketing strategies.

  1. Bacardi
Bacardi Brand Book

The Bacardi brand book has the Cuban vibe attached to it. The brand book talks about its new brand identity along with highlighting all the relevant information.

  1. I Love NY
I Love NY Brand Book

Stylish, creative, and attractive, the I Love NY brand book beautifully explores the brand, the red heart, and the history.

Conclusion

A brand book is an essential element of your business since it keeps the brand identity consistent. As you grow your company and add more employees, the brand book will guide everyone with the standards and requirements of your brand.

Businesses accross the world have consulted DesignBro to build their brand with logo, website, packaging design and much more.

We can help you too!

The Ultimate Guide to Creating an Effective Brand Book
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