What is brandbook?
A brandbook is a document with a detailed description of the brand: from the company’s philosophy to the way different versions of the logo are arranged. Such document is necessary for any company – it is a kind of guide, which will help employees and contractors to comply with the policy of the organization and its visual style. Brandbooks are developed by specialists in branding agencies. A whole team works on the task: marketer, strategist, art director, copywriters and designers. They work in depth on the concept, brand strategy and visual communications of the company to gather all the information into a guide. The brandbook is then typeset electronically or for print.
The brand books are developed by digital agency specialists. A whole team works on this task: a marketer, a strategist, a creative director, copywriters and designers. They work in depth on the company concept, brand strategy and visual communication to bring everything together in a handbook. The brandbook is then produced electronically or on paper.
What is included in the brandbook
The size of a company’s brandbook may vary, depending on the number of sections. A large international corporation may have a manual with many hundreds of pages, for example, where the nuances of communication with clients and partners are spelled out in detail. Smaller companies, where the policy is just being formed, may have a smaller brandbook – it will be supplemented as the brand develops. Regardless of the size of the brandbook, it is important that it accurately conveys the concept of the brand, its tone of voice, and the specifics of corporate identity.
The following components of the brandbook can be considered key:
- A detailed description of the positioning or brand platform. It includes the company’s mission and values, unique selling proposition, emotional and rational advantages.
- Portrait of the consumer – a description of the target audience of the brand.
- Brand promotion strategy.
- Brand name: its meaning, spelling and pronunciation – if complex and non-obvious.
- Slogan or descriptor, if any.
- Brand name, its permissible and impermissible variants.
- Logo spacing – the minimum distance from the logo mark to other elements on the layout, necessary to maintain readability.
- Fonts and ways to combine them.
- Brand colors and ways to combine them.
- Additional corporate graphics: patterns, textures, illustrations, iconography, peculiarities of working with photo images, modular grids for layout of printed and digital materials, rules for creating design layouts.
- Examples of designs. This section of the brandbook shows how the design can look on real objects. For example, on product packaging, souvenirs, documents, employees’ uniforms, and other media relevant to a particular brand.
Sometimes, if necessary, the brandbook may include additional information:
- The history of the company.
- Features of corporate etiquette, recommendations for communication within the team.
- Service standards and communication with clients at different platforms: at points of sale, on the website, on the phone, in social media. The brandbook may include scripts, scenarios, recommendations on how to react in emergency situations.
- Recommendations for interior and exterior design.
The content of a brandbook can be roughly divided in two parts – a description of the brand at the level of fundamentals and a guide to the use of corporate identity (this part is devoted to design, it is also called a guideline). The structure of brandbooks is similar in different companies. They start with general statements about the nature of the brand, then describes the specifics and features of the company, and then the rules for the use of visual branding and the presentation of the design on the media.
Why company need a brandbook?
A company’s brandbook is a business tool that makes work more efficient. It comes in handy for in-house employees, freelancers, partners, marketing and design studios that the company will apply to in the future. The purpose of the brandbook is to help maintain the brand image: from the ideology to the visuals.
Here’s a list of the main functions of a brandbook:
- Maintaining a unified image of the company. The mission and values of the brand, described in detail in the brandbook, are reflected in all aspects of communication with the audience. A thoughtful guide will help employees from different departments not contradict each other in their work: marketers, copywriters, designers, sales, and consultants will convey the same brand values.
- Educate new employees and contractors about brand specifics. Instead of explaining brand-specific requirements to each employee, you can simply let them read the brandbook.
- Assistance in the correct use of corporate materials. Not all corporate colors and fonts can be successfully combined – there are permissible and impermissible combinations. It is also important to use the logo correctly, choose the right background and maintain the right distance from other elements. Clear guidelines will help content managers, marketers, SMM specialists and designers to maintain a corporate identity.
Helps to quickly design mockups. The brandbook includes options for the design of the main corporate style media – advertising materials, packaging, souvenirs, documents. If a company needs to make packaging for new goods or release new souvenirs, you don’t have to think much about their design – you can make a mockup by analogy with the examples in the brandbook. This optimizes work time and costs.
How to use the brandbook correctly?
Employees need to refer to the brandbook regularly for current tasks. For example, thinking up texts for new advertising campaigns, training specialists to advise customers at the point of sale, and designing banners, posts, or flyers.
Over time, merchandise or promotional materials presented in the media section may become irrelevant to the company and new ones will be required. In-house specialists, freelancers or studios can develop new designs for promotions, advertising campaigns, events or new product launches. At the same time, it is important to create new mockups taking into account the rules of corporate identity use – to comply with the protective field of the logo, modular grids, acceptable variants of color and font combinations. The brand description and recommendations for the use of the logo and other visual elements are immutable rules. If they are violated, there is a risk that the brand will lose its recognizability, cease to be attractive to the audience, and the design will look unprofessional.
Zīmola apraksts un ieteikumi par logotipa un citu vizuālo elementu izmantošanu ir nemainīgi noteikumi. Ja tie tiek pārkāpti, pastāv risks, ka zīmols zaudēs atpazīstamību, pārstās būt pievilcīgs auditorijai un dizains izskatīsies neprofesionāli.
Stages of creating a brandbook
To develop a brandbook, a team of specialists is assembled, which first of all immerses itself in the client’s business. This usually requires an interview with the organization’s managers. Marketers, brand strategists, copywriters and designers need to know the history of the company, its competitive advantages, target audience and plans for further development.
When the team has found out all the necessary information about the business, the main part of the work begins.
At this stage, specialists:
- Conduct market analysis and identify available niches, study barriers and motives of customers for similar services.
- Identify direct and indirect competitors. It is important to study their positioning features, formats of communication with the consumer and visual language.
- Divide the client’s audience and create a portrait of the consumer.
- Study global or particular country experience in the desired industry. They identify trends in which the industry is developing.
Searching for meaningful accents
The second stage is the development of the brand platform and the creation of a promotion strategy. For communication with the consumer to be effective, it is necessary to create a unified brand image with clear values that will be transmitted through different channels, from advertising to communication with consultants at the point of sale. To do this, all employees need to clearly know the mission, character, unique selling proposition and core brand message. All of these descriptions are thought through by a team of specialists based on research.
Corporate identity development
In third stage the visual elements that will make up the brandbook are developed.. The graphic pattern must be in line with the brand values and the tastes of the target audience, which is why marketers and designers work together on the company’s visual identity. They develop a core set of elements that must be easy to use across different media – print and online. Detailed rules are formulated for branding, fonts, colours and illustrations to ensure that graphics remain legible and recognisable.
Depending on your company’s needs, the brandbook can be produced in electronic format or as a mock-up for printing. The cover and the internal layout of the brandbook are also designed with the corporate identity in mind, and the texts are written to match the tone of voice of the company. A good brandbook is not just a set of dry rules, but a presentable product that is pleasant to use and show to contractors.
It takes a team of experienced professionals to develop a project or organisation brandbuilder that promotes the right brand image and is an effective marketing tool. Our agency is ready to help you implement just such a brandbuild. We also offer web design and web development services