Best Practices in Integrated Marketing: Brand Style Guides
“You Don’t Have A Brand…”
“You don’t have a brand unless someone is willing to pay a price premium over a comparable product….”
Every professional organization needs a document, or set of documents, to standardize their particular public persona called its “brand”. Your brand is what people are willing to pay for. Your brand distinguishes you from your competition. Your brand precedes your company in the minds of consumers. And that is important in our age of information overload.
Seth Godin, modern marketing guru, said in Quartz, November 2018: “What’s your brand? Hint: it’s not your logo….A brand is a shorthand for the customer’s expectations. What promise do they think you’re making? What do they expect when they buy from you or meet with you or hire you? That promise is your brand. Nike doesn’t have a hotel. If it did, you would probably have some good guesses as to what it would be like. That’s Nike’s brand….That expectation isn’t specific; it’s emotional.” – Seth Godin
Taking it one step further, and paraphrasing Godin, one of my branding north stars Chris Do, Founder and CEO of Santa Monica’s The Futur, said in a tweet: You don’t have a brand unless someone is willing to pay a price premium over a comparable product. Nike can open a hotel and you’d know what to expect. If Hyatt made a shoe, you’d have no idea what to expect. One of these two has a brand. – Chris Do, The Futur
So, how do we communicate this brand?
We conceptualize it. We articulate it. We reinforce it.
Seek First To Understand
Business icon Steven Covey coined this phrase in his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” The principle applies here, as well. Before articulating our brand, we must, first, understand what our brand is now, and what we want it to be going forward.
Once understood, we communicate or articulate our brand so by showing and telling others what it is – and what it is not – by embodying the brand in our messages and actions every day. What are our approved colors; typography; logo sizes, colors and uses; taglines and key messages, etc? What are our values? What is our content strategy? What are our talking points? The brand style guide reminds internal and external audiences of the decisions we have made and the ethical and aesthetic values we have committed to uphold as we reinforce that brand over time, across channels, and within relationships.
We communicate our brand so by showing and telling others what it is – and what it is not – by embodying the brand in our messages and actions every day. For examples, here’s a great article from September 2018.
More Best Practices To Come:
- Company Culture
- Data Culture
- People Culture
- Content Marketing Planning
- Social Media Calendars
- Negative Online Reviews
- Brochures – Digital or Print
- Public Relations
- Value Pricing
- Profits and Sustainability
- YOUR suggestions!