The term 'Brand' is tossed about so much that it has lost it’s core meaning. But in the context of identity it has a very specific meaning. Brand Identity is how your customer perceives and experiences your business offering through our human senses. The emotions you hope to engage with your promise are affected through visual communication. Most likely, your brand will be seen before experienced.
In the B2B world, visual engagement is often the beginning of the experience. If one comes across the name of your business in content, or if a peer refers or recommends a potential customer to your company, odds are they will go to your website to check you out and develop an impression from there.
The best way to manage that process is with a Brand Identity System.
What are the basic elements of a Brand Identity System?
The basic elements include a set of well-prepared guidelines that anticipate all of the expected encounters with your Brand Identity. It is a system, containing multiple elements, that allows your communications to speak in one consistent voice. Visual distinction is an important tool in this management process. It should incorporate much more than what your logo looks like.
- Brand Promise Overview — Explain the business mission and values. What are the philosophy and goals of your company? This information should be understood and accessible to all employees and representatives.
- Logo Guidelines — Provide size, spacing requirements and standards for formatting. A good way to depict this information is through examples of real world applications including the dos and don’ts of logo usage. The logo is considered as a final piece of art, not to be modified or duplicated without authorized oversight or approval.
- Color Palette — Define a standard for the use of color. This is a powerful tool in your brand identity. A primary and secondary palette should be designated for print and web standards. This is usually indicated with formulations in Pantone, CMYK, RGB and HSB.
- Font Standards — State primary font options for a consistent text standard that can be maintained in deploying company content. Choose a robust font family with a variety of weights for headlines and a readable font for blocks of text. Make sure there are matching web fonts. And most of all, follow proper licensing procedures.
- Templates — Offer designed layouts of content style, grids, margins, font usage and white space. Print collateral, signage standards and requirements for media usage are examples of real-world demands on your brand identity.
- Web Standards — Name a webmaster educated in the company’s role for users of the website. Specify a strategy for the use of social media tools and formalize a hierarchy of messages. Company size, as well as target prospects and clients, plays a large role in the degree of responsibility for social media strategy.
- Assets — Create a library of file formats with access through a designated authority. These assets should be maintained and updated as the company grows and new requirements need to be addressed. The content can include photographs, design elements, font folders (properly licensed), and file formats such as PNG, EPS, JPG, TIFF and RGB.
Should you have a Brand Identity System?
Do you need one? The answer is determined by the complexity of application and the priority you assign to the importance of managing your brand identity. The use of a system strengthens your brand and supports your commitment to your brand promise.
Clearly a Brand Identity System is an important tool for managing your Brand Identity with consistency. For more information, download our eBook, “9-Step Checklist for Creating Your Brand Identity.”
Download our helpful and simple-to-follow branding planner: 9 Step Checklist for Creating Your Brand Identity, and get:
- A proven step-by-step process to create a blueprint for your brand identity
- All the questions you should be considering when refreshing your brand
* This article was originally published in September 2016 and updated for relevance and pertinence.