5 Minutes To: Creating brand guidelines that retain integrity and authenticity

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So, I admit it. I’m a massive fan of the hit BBC show Dragons’ Den. It’s worth watching just to catch a glimpse of Steven Bartlett, the founder of Social Chain, a social media marketing agency currently causing waves around the world. Besides watching a host of budding entrepreneurs trying to convince the Dragons that they can take the business world by storm, the show permits the viewer to be a secret sixth dragon by letting them in on each exciting marketing pitch. Each week, my housemate and I pontificate on whether we buy into either the product or the entrepreneur and, ultimately, if we would make the entrepreneur an offer.

Each team has to champion their cherished brand in just a short time. A strong and clear brand identity is vital to successfully launching a product or service. Without it, potential customers have no idea what distinguishes the brand from all the others on the market So, the entrepreneurs have to consider which colours to use, the graphics that match the market demographic, the brand name, the font type and how to convey essential information using language that resonates with their target audience. This leads to the million dollar question: just how it is possible to formulate a unique brand identity that can successfully retain a company’s core values and integrity? 

This week’s 5 Minutes To post will focus on the three central pillars of creating a standout brand identity for any product or service.

 

Pillar One – Know your why?

The first question that any business owner should ask themselves is what exactly is the why behind their business? Consider how your unique products or services add value to your customers’ lives. The internationally renowned speaker Simon Sinek formulated the Golden Circle. The Golden Circle consists of the Why, the How, and the What.

By clearly articulating your business’ primary purpose or core beliefs, potential customers buy into why your business exists and can become loyal advocates of your brand. In a nutshell, customers don’t buy what your company does; they choose to buy into why you created the business in the first place. This is incredibly powerful and has the potential to super charge your business and your brand. 

 

Pillar Two – Brand character and personality

The brand personality of your business is centred around your target demographic. Do you want to target high-net worth individuals, people wishing to improve their fitness, pet owners looking for the best nutrition for their beloved pets? Start by creating a highly targeted customer avatar. The customer avatar will help you highlight the adjectives that best describe your brand personality. By honing in on the needs and lifestyles of your target customers, you can build connections that allow your customers to relate to your brand on a personal level. 

There are five main types of brand personalities. 

  • Sincerity: Generous, thoughtful, and value-oriented
  • Competence: Authoritative and accomplished
  • Excitement: Lively, easygoing and youthful
  • Ruggedness: Sporty, rough and outdoorsy
  • Sophistication: Elegant and renowned 

Once you have identified who your target audience is, you can move on to creating a tone of voice that will strike the right chord. Then, you can weave your brand personality and tone of voice into your marketing messages and stories.

 

Pillar Three – Tone of Voice

In a nutshell, your company’s tone of voice allows you to speak effectively with your audience in a way that resonates with them. It gives you the freedom to convey your key messaging in a way that is unique to your company’s voice and values. The Nielsen Norman Group* identified four primary tones of voice dimensions.

  • Funny vs Serious: Do you want to be humorous? Do you want to set a serious tone?
  • Formal vs Casual: Do you want to take a formal or informal approach? 
  • Respectful vs Irreverent: Do you want to take an irreverent approach, or should your brand take a respectful approach? 
  • Enthusiastic vs Matter-Of-Fact: Does your brand have a lively persona? Does your brand need to take a straightforward and matter-of-fact way?

Check out this Beacon blog for a deeper insight into Brand Personality.

Once you have found your voice and brand personality, you can finally create your copy. When structuring any marketing copy, think of an inverted pyramid. Always aim to add the most critical information first and then fill the rest of the pyramid with greater detail. Whichever communication channel you use to share your messaging, always follow the Google SEO test – write your copy to be found by humans and computers!

 

So, get the ball rolling by defining your company’s central purpose. Then, move on to brainstorming a list of adjectives that aptly describe your brand personality. Once you have defined your why, it’s easy to start creating the magic that is your marketing copy. Always aim to create fresh, accessible copy written in an active voice. By applying these three central pillars, you will lay down solid foundations for all elements of your marketing communications.

If you’re interested in refreshing your brand guidelines, get in touch with Beacon at hello@beaconagency.co.uk

 

Resources

*https://www.nngroup.com/articles/tone-of-voice-dimensions/