Why Do Businesses And Personal Brands Need A Style Guide?
A style guide serves as the set of rules a business or brand follows with visual, even verbal production of assets that represent the company. A style guide can be dedicated to the use of logos for certain situations, or as a reference to how something is written is formatted. The best style guides incorporate all of those in one place that employees can reference easily when creating content, products, blog post, and even emails. Without a style guide, there tends to be a lack of consistency across brand channels. Inconsistency in messaging, colors, logo use and written tone can present as less professional, or unreliable, two descriptions that can end your business. You don't want your brand to been seen in that light, or forgotten altogether.
Here are 5 reasons every business and personal brand should implement the use of a style guide, and commit to using it for EVERY representation that goes to the public:
1. Establishes a set of standards/rules that anyone can follow
Picture this: Your new social media employee has created an excellent piece of content that should perform as posts have historically, but it doesn't. No one engages, some people unfollow. In terms of content, it was in line with the brand and provided value to the desired audience, but the tone took a playful turn, and the audience needs an authority. A style guide would have prevented this problem from happening, and your brand would still be seen as having the expertise you worked so hard to establish. People come to expect certain things from specific sources, in fact, it's often the reason that one goes to that source. Imagine going to McDonald's only to find they have decided to sell tacos instead of hamburgers. Would you order a taco, or go get a burger somewhere else? Maybe if you were in the mood for tacos, you have a preference for the street vendor because they make the best ones. Often times, when we have an unfulfilled expectation, it's unlikely we even give it a chance with the replacement. That can be seen as a betrayal, and you lose the customer not only for that day but forever. Too many inconsistencies piled up gives the impression that you're unreliable.
2. Helps you remain focused
We can all be distracted by new ideas, but the loyalists that are already fans tend to get neglected. Your business may find themselves unappealing to new audiences and losing the attention of historical customers. A style guide can really ensure that you are clear on what your audience wants and keeps new endeavors revolving around those needs.
3. Increases perceived value
Consistency helps create the idea of value, which translates into actual value. If you take your logo use seriously, keep your colors consistent, customers see that you are able to be consistent, and what you deliver to them will be consistent as well. If things are slightly different on something small like a logo or packaging, there is an impression that the product or service you provide will also be inconsistent. Not the best look if you plan to be in business for a long time.
4. People will recognize your business
Brands depend on being recognizable, so having a color palette and typeface that slightly changes gives customers room to think there may have been changes that impact the products or services they need from you. If the logo is distorted, then it could be view as a knock-off or a spoof. With the counterfeiting of goods and the rise of higher quality knock-offs, it's important to have a style guide that can ensure everything appears in a methodical fashion. The placement of tags and other consistent ways products are produced can sometimes be consumers only defense against buying counterfeit goods. With rare shoes, the stitching is planned and executed down to the thread, and people use that standard to judge whether or not the pair in front of them are authentic. Same with purses, coats, and basically any consumer good. Maybe we don't notice it until its different, but if Apple placed the back logo on iPhones at the bottom of the phone on some, consumers would surely be hesitant to purchase those phones.
A virtue of Practice Success and business, in general, is consistency. Having a style guide ensures that people get what they ask for, What the expect from a brand is what's delivered. Any lapse in consistency is detrimental to any business. Let's not confuse this with upgrades or changes, which you should announce and research first. Often times, companies without a style guide are inconsistent and have no idea. Creating a style guide makes the actions of employees intentional, and result in consistent output.
If your company struggles with consistency, maybe it's time to call your designer and have a style guide created. We can help too! email@example.com