81% of customers need to trust a brand to consider buying from it.
So how do you instil trust in your audience?
It’s the same for companies as it is for people; make a good first impression, be understanding, build a relationship and be yourself. In order to do that you need to acknowledge who you are, what you stand for and how you present yourself. Brands need to do the same; they need to understand their audience and identify their pain points, build relationships through regular contact and consistent comms, and be themselves by honouring their vision in everything they do, present themselves as they see themselves.
Unlike people, brands need to ensure all of this is followed by anyone who works on their advertising and beyond – a company vision should inspire the entire workforce. To achieve this, most develop a set of Brand Guidelines.
Basic inclusions focus on logo, stationery, colours and typefaces. Bigger brands do more and give guidance on tone of voice, photography and typographic styles, and brands that have a network of retailers or outlets might remove all ambiguity with templates for digital and print media channels – there is danger here though, the more prescriptive guidelines increase the risk of stifling creativity. It’s hard to pre-empt every possible brand requirement and if everything else is prescribed down to the size of a bullet point, a curveball will foster uncertainty. But there’s also danger in offering too much freedom. If the use of brand assets are vague, Designers can dive into freestyle mode and unintentionally dilute brand values. I guess the trick is to find an agency who understand branding, are used to working with guidelines and are particularly adept at making brand assets available and useable by all – it just so happens We Are Acuity are experts at delivering such solutions 😉
In my experience, the best guidelines are just that, guidelines, a general rule, principle or advice. They set parameters to work within, provide specifics where necessary and encourage creativity where suitable. It’s true to say that creating an accessible reference library for all end users isn't easy. Guidelines provide technical information that only designers understand, give an overview of personality, explain a feeling or tone that might be open to interpretation and offer advice to people with very different levels of experience across all departments. They’re scrutinised and pulled apart, equally ridiculed and revered.
They can also be a thing of beauty both visually and in the thinking behind them. The first set of guidelines I read taught me so much about branding, and most subsequent guides have inspired me (yes, I’ve stolen ideas from them all), so they can be educational too and should be essential reading for all Junior Designers. And as this was written at Christmas, it gives me an excuse to share my favourite ever set of Brand Guidelines, those for Santa!
If you are a national or global brand that struggles to maintain consistency, whether internally, with agencies or with your local partners, get in touch with We Are Acuity today for a FREE brand and marketing audit by clicking HERE.
Or if you'd like to read more about Local Marketing have a look at our blog page "Local Thinking': https://www.weareacuity.com/local-thinking-our-blog
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