Use Brand Guidelines to Create a Consistent Online Presence

Creating brand guidelines is crucial, as they can become the foundation for your business’s reputation. Having a written set of principles to follow when creating materials to promote your business will help you establish credibility while instilling confidence about what your business stands for.

Although it’s important to include visual guidelines, your message won’t be consistent if you fail to nail down the overarching values, ideas, and promise of your brand as well. Your audience may become confused about what your company stands for, making it harder to attract loyal supporters.

Here are some steps for creating brand guidelines that will keep you consistent in the eyes of your audience.

Begin by doing your homework

Conduct a thorough analysis of your business before creating brand guidelines. You want to identify its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Once these are determined, you’ll have the knowledge needed to create your brand guidelines.

Once completed, you’ll want to define your audience. Based on your research, create a persona, which is a detailed description of your ideal customer. This should encompass existing audience data (such as their goals, pain points, and demographics). Having a thorough understanding of your audience will help you center your guidelines around why they should care about your business. Also, having these personas in-place will help you create the best possible experience for your supporters.

Explain your brand’s purpose

How will your audience know what you stand for if you can’t explain it to them?

Being able to describe your brand helps someone determine whether what you have to offer is right for them. Begin by creating a list of your company’s core values and writing mission and vision statements.

After you establish your values, embody them in a written mission statement (which tells your audience what you do) and a vision statement (which details what your goals are). For example, your mission might be to provide eco-friendly products to help the planet, and your vision might be to help 100,000 families successfully transition into waste-free lifestyles.

Keep your audience research in mind. Do these statements help you stand out from competitors? Do they address the needs of your audience members? Can they help you consistently deliver and communicate value?

Create your brand ethos

Brand ethos is the place where you explain your mission statement, vision, and core values. It will also cover how you plan on exemplifying your brand identity, including qualities and factors that will affect your business.

Here’s what to include:

  • Brand attributes: This should encompass what your business does and how it accomplishes this.
  • Brand position: Use the statements you created above to write a succinct sentence, similar to an “elevator pitch.”
  • Brand promise: Create a short statement you can use to inspire your fans and employees. Include how the business delivers on what it promises to its supporters.

Use your brand guidelines to communicate effectively

Conducting thorough research and defining the core if your business may not be an easy task. However, creating brand guidelines will help to narrow your focus. You can share this document with your employees, vendors, and even freelancers to highlight what your company stands for and how you intend to provide for your audience. This way, you can stay consistent in your marketing efforts. Now that you know what you need to do, gather your team and get to work.

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Sarah Li Cain

A B2B and personal finance writer who has appeared in publications such as Credit Karma, Magnify Money and Lending Tree.

More by Sarah Li Cain