The need for not just branding, but distinct branding, is increasingly important in the corporate world. There’s a reason why everyone – from boutique family law firms and tax accounting firms to bakeries and electrical transformer repair businesses – take this seriously. In an increasingly competitive market, you want to be remembered.
Now, one of the best ways to achieve distinctiveness is with an authoritative corporate identity manual, so here are 3 tips for you.
Distinctive Visual Elements
One of the first things to detail in your manual is the visual elements, such as the logo. You want to nail down your visual elements and their variations—full color, monochrome, grayscale, etc.
This way, you can tell your readers when each version makes sense and why so that your brand adapts well in different situations. Get into the nitty-gritty of color palettes – such as using Pantone for print, CMYK for color, and RGB for the digital scene.
For example, show off your logo in different settings: against dark backgrounds, in small sizes, and with other elements. In fact, it’s a good idea to create a visual storyboard that follows the evolution of your logo. From its inception to its adaptations across various platforms, let your readers see the journey of your logo’s development, emphasizing how it maintains its uniqueness.
Practical Application Guidelines
What is specification without application? You want to spell out how not just your logo, but all your brand identity format guidelines – shapes, centering, contrasts, clear space, proportions, etc – should roll out in different mediums—think digital and print. Break it down.
In fact, include visuals of your guidelines in the wild: on a business card, on a website header, on TikTok, you name it. Maybe even share stories; and show off successful outcomes as well as some bloopers where drifting away from the guidelines caused some brand chaos.
Consistency Across Messaging
Of course, it’s not all just about visuals as consistent messaging is essential for uniqueness.
You want to keep your messaging consistent because that’s the glue holding your brand together. It’s what really lets your brand shine across all the different places it communicates. So again, nail down things like your brand’s tone, and key messages.
Show some real-life examples of how your brand chats on social media, in emails, and on the website. Break down the do’s and don’ts to keep that voice unified, pointing out specific words and tones that change based on where your brand is speaking. This way, your brand talks with one smooth and unified voice, no matter where it’s doing the talking.
The purpose of a brand identity manual is to drive home the idea that sticking to the plan makes a big difference. So, you want to be as clear as possible. Particularly, nailing down distinct visual elements, including practical applications, and emphasizing consistency across messaging is a good place to start.