Corporate Brand Guidelines: A Brand’s Instruction Manual

Wouldn’t it be nice to have an instruction manual for your brand? Something that directs you – and all of your colleagues – as to how your brand should be treated, represented and communicated to ensure it’s always seen in the best possible way? As much as some of us like to pretend we don’t need instruction manuals to get the job done, sometimes they’re just a necessity. That’s why corporate brand guidelines were invented.

No two of these documents are the same, but they often include things like brand hierarchy, logo usage and placement, color palettes, typography, specific creative design templates, and even corporate messaging protocol and how to handle media inquiries. Anything that makes your brand, well, YOUR brand needs to be included in the guidelines.

Currently, SG is smack in the middle of creating corporate brand guidelines for one of the country’s largest foodservice companies, with 9 plants and more than 10 product brands. This particular company has a decentralized marketing department with literally dozens of people responsible for communicating the corporate brand. The unfortunate truth is the majority of these people aren’t “creative” or marketing people, so their communications materials have historically ended up being a bit of a disaster.

This sometimes happens when employees don’t have access to professional design talent. Without available support, they take matters into their own hands, and production of incorrect, unappealing designs or ones that aren’t cohesive with the brand can be detrimental to the overall brand picture. Fortunately for them, we’re working on getting them set up with a document that can be easily distributed to the various brand stakeholders and referenced on demand. We are even exploring creating an online version, with the ability to search for desired content (the great advantage of an electronic version).

Having corporate brand standards will go a long way to protect your brand identity and create cohesion throughout as it is communicated. Shameless plug alert: Think your organization might benefit from a set of brand style guidelines? We can help!  We’d love to show you some examples of what we’ve done and hear more about your specific needs.