Following a branding guide is easy.
I used to manage a team of internal designers that knew our corporate font was Futura. They knew it like the back of their hand. As for the accounting, HR, sales and executive teams, this was a much harder concept to understand. They would love to toss around Arial, Times, heck even a Helvetica every now and then. They would then call me over to their desk to ask if it was okay to send their project, and does it meet the brand guidelines? First thing out of my mouth was always, "Change the font to Futura."
I really couldn’t understand why they just wouldn’t use the standard font that was established. Were they bucking the system, didn’t care, or just think that Time New Roman was really pretty?
That's when it dawned on me. They called me over -- they do care. They simply did not know. So, I worked with our marketing director to get the guideline out to anyone that would be sending external communications, and then I went shopping. I found a shirt that said “This font is called Futura,” and I wore it for a week. And then like magic, everyone started using Futura for external communications.
With that being said, here are several ways to ease the pain internally when implementing a new brand guideline:
- Have a kick-off party. Introduce the teams to the new brand. Explain where it came from, the thoughts and ideas behind it, the language and tone of voice. Get the logo on cookies. Everyone loves cookies.
- Publish the brand guideline and give it to every employee. It really makes life easier if they simply know what the rules are.
- Think about publishing the brand guideline online or through an intranet site. This will help with future changes (see below).
- Update as needed. It’s okay to have changes to your guideline. Things will evolve with your business as you grow. Keep a version number on the bottom and review for changes bi-monthly or quarterly to stay current.
- Not everyone will like it. That’s okay. Marketing, designers, and writers have spent endless hours talking to you, your company, and your employees to come up with the solution. Just because someone says they don’t like something, perhaps they just aren't seeing the whole story. But document what and why they don’t like it, see if it becomes a trend, and if so, it may be time to update.
- Monitor your data. How is the new brand trending? Is it helping sales? Are you becoming more public? Do you see more engagement with your consumers? Hopefully so. Record what’s working and what’s not. There is no science to it; report back to the team the successes and failures.
- Have brand champions. You can’t do this alone. Have people in other departments that support the brand, help police it’s policies and lead employees to make a good decision when implementing.
Hopefully these help as you embark on on implementing your brand guidelines.