Can one little document really have such an impact? A well-crafted style guide can absolutely boost your brand, save you money and so much more.

Just what is a style guide? Simply put, it is a glossary of your brand’s core elements and how they are to be used. Some might call it a brand book, brand guide, even a lookbook, but they all contain items such as:

the logo  +  corporate colors  +  brand fonts  +  tone of voice  +  imagery style

A) Logo excerpt from Virgin America's Style Guide, B) Font excerpt from Twitter's Style Guide, C) Color excerpt from YMCA's Style Guide, D) Tone of Voice excerpt from Adobe's Style Guide, E) Imagery excerpt from YMCA's Style Guide. All images are property of their respective owners.

A) Logo excerpt from Virgin America’s Style Guide, B) Font excerpt from Twitter’s Style Guide, C) Color excerpt from YMCA’s Style Guide, D) Tone of Voice excerpt from Adobe’s Style Guide, E) Imagery excerpt from YMCA’s Style Guide. All images are property of their respective owners.

We’ll go into the details of a style guide in another post, but here let’s take a look at how a style guide can help you in your daily marketing activities.

Brand Benefits

Consistency – At its core, a style guide provides tools for keeping your brand consistent. And we all know how important consistency is to a memorable, successful brand. When your employees and vendors have easy access to your marketing assets in a central location, keeping your brand consistent becomes so much easier.

Trust & Loyalty – The consistent use of colors, fonts, logo, imagery and tone of voice all work together to build trust among your audience. People who experience your look and feel in a similar manner over and over begin to feel comfortable and familiar with it. As they come to trust your messages, they also feel more loyal to your brand as you become their preferred brand in your category. They can even move to becoming advocates on your behalf, which is especially helpful in social media.

Cost Savings – Think of all the times you or your marketing colleagues are interrupted with requests for logo files, questions about fonts or colors. How many times have you had to redo a presentation from another department because it didn’t have the right look and feel? Now imagine employees and vendors having access to those assets without having to come to you. Having a central location for the marketing assets, coupled with clear instructions for how to use them, saves your time and saves your colleagues’ time as well.

Employee Benefits

Competitive Advantage – By having messaging and visuals easily accessible and available, your organization is working towards creating a consistent and distinct brand, which makes it easier to recruit distinct employees, which in turn affirms the distinct branding. Certainly Southwest and Chik-fil-a are two great examples of distinct branding living through their equally distinct employees. And they surely have the competitive advantage in their categories.

Easier to internalize company values – When employees are able to interact and utilize the branding assets autonomously, it makes it easier for them to buy in and actually live the brand values. This can lead to a stronger commitment to the brand, to the company, which leads to another great benefit….

Employee retention – Seriously? A style guide can help keep good employees? Yes – especially when it is part of a strong corporate culture. When an organization cares enough about its brand to put its elements in a living, breathing document, they are showing they truly want and expect their employees and vendors to be an integral part of that organization – that each person matters. And if employees stay longer, that circles back to saving costs through reduced hiring efforts.

Vendor Benefits

Quite a few of the benefits listed above also apply to your vendor relationships. When your vendors have access to your style guide, that saves you time. They also have very clear expectations of what their finished product needs to reflect. For instance, your printers and designers will have no doubt what colors and fonts to use, keeping your branding consistent and valuable.

Take a look at this post for style guide details – what goes in them and examples to inspire you!

Ready to have your own style guide? Give us a call at 256-714-6596 or email us. We’d be happy to help you create your brand’s guide.

Cover Photo: Markus Spiske / / CC-BY