You should have THE book on brand. No, I’m not talking about a compilation of high-toned brand theory, served up from some lofty literary perch. I mean the book on your desk—and the desk of others in your company—that explains your company brand in concise terms and then provides detailed instructions on its correct use in every conceivable setting. I’m talking about your Brand Playbook.
If you knew exactly how much your company invested over the years to build a cohesive brand—and how vital it is to connecting with your market, that book would be within arm’s reach every day. It would be the volume you consult every time you, your marketing team, or your agency create an ad, mailer, newsletter, press release, location signage—or anything else. Because without a Brand Playbook, how else will the many people in your company—who touch your market every day—get on the same page, and stay on it? When everyone follows their own instincts instead of consulting the Brand Playbook, you’re almost guaranteed to have a busted play. That can be very embarrassing.
However, the sad fact is many companies do not have a Brand Playbook—and it shows. They assume that just because everyone knows what their logo looks like, it’s just a matter of making sure they have a few JPEG files of the logo in different sizes. But that’s not a Brand Playbook. That’s a prescription for unmitigated chaos that confuses your market and dilutes your brand value in their minds.
That’s because a Brand Playbook is more than just logo styles and colors—although it includes that as well. No, the book I’m talking about provides an authoritative set of guidelines on usage of important brand elements—name(s), logos, graphics, taglines and various brand narratives describing the company’s vision, mission, values and history. As an easy-to-use digital and print reference, it offers the convenience of one approved company source for guiding brand usage across all standard applications. At a minimum it includes:
- Guidelines on brand architecture—how to work with master and sub-brands in combination
- Language on vision, mission and company values; your narrative in story, look and feel
- Signage, print, web and social media
- Directions for achieving proper color values across all implementations—color codes, etc.
- Recommendations on graphic resolution (DPI and pixel) levels—across all media
- Guidance on placement of logos, both in combination and separately
- Use of slogans or tag lines in conjunction with logos
If you already have a solid Brand Playbook, good for you! Now all you have to do is keep it updated and refreshed with the latest step in your brand evolution and make sure everyone in your organization who manages an outward-facing communication project has a copy. If you don’t have a Brand Playbook, now is a good time to start. They aren’t hard to create if you know what’s needed to do it right. As your company grows, you will be increasingly glad you have established a handy, three-ring “convention” that keeps everyone focused on how your team runs a play when it comes to brand—and why.
It may just be the best “book deal” you and your company could ever make.