No matter the size of your B2B organization, a style guide is a crucial tool of your marketing strategy to create a brand identity that consistently creates brand recognition. A style guide is a document that provides guidelines for the way a brand should be presented from both a visual and language perspective. The purpose of a style guide is to make sure that multiple contributors clearly and cohesively create in a way that reflects the corporate style and ensures brand consistency. Everything from design to writing should match this style.
Want to learn how to break through competing messages and elevate digital marketing efforts? Download our Digital Marketing for B2B Companies eBook for a complete guide!
What is Brand Consistency and Why is it Important?
Consistent branding allows marketers to differentiate their product, deliver key messaging and encourage loyalty by driving authority and trust. This guide to establishing brand consistency highlights the basics of why brand consistency is important and how to implement it within your business. By keeping a tight rein on brand consistency, marketers can drive customer perception from the onset of the engagement through the buyer decision-making process.
Consistency across sales, marketing and advertising channels and assets is also valuable to brand recognition in the long run. Studies have shown that we perceive brands as personifications of companies that can affect our buying decisions. We are also more likely to buy from brands we know because they’re familiar to us. Brands with an established look and feel increases our trust. with them which increases our trust. Through consistency in branding, the company has taken control of customer perceptions and defined their brand image.
Tips to Creating a Visual Style Guide
Visual style guides are used to define the way the brand will look – for a consistent and easily recognizable and relatable image. This will ensure corporate graphics are brand centric and uniform across all public materials. So, what should be included in a corporate style guide? Graphic style guides typically include applications and variations of the:
- Design standards in terms of look and feel for
- Illustrations vs. no illustrations
- Images – people, abstract, buildings, cityscapes
- Corporate color palettes including primary and secondary colors
- Formats for presentation or documents.
This guide also includes typography details including:
- Font families
- Layout specifics in terms of how elements are positioned on a page
- Information on website navigation and visual hierarchy.
These key elements of corporate branding will help to establish your graphic design guidelines.
A key benefit of any style guide for your organization is that it creates cohesion among sales and marketing efforts in your business. If you were to leave the visual representation of your organization open to individual interpretation, chances are you would get a very mixed bag of results. A guide will create cohesion, direction and clarity for all marketing decisions in your organization. It can also aid in the creation and upkeep of your website, look and voice of your social media accounts and the development of everything from blogs to ads.
Tips to Creating an Editorial Style Guide
Editorial style guides generally include specific rules around the company voice in writing—normally covering everything from active versus passive voice to grammar conventions. Many companies choose to follow a specific widely known style guide, such as the Chicago Manual of Style or Associated Press Stylebook, whereas other organizations elect to build their own individual set of standards.
The company voice plays back into the idea that buyers personify brands as if they were real people. So, the tone that a business uses across all content marketing, online marketing and even email marketing efforts are demonstrations of brand personality.
Ensuring Alignment Across Brand Image with a Comprehensive Style Guide
Comprehensive style guides define the company image from a visual and editorial perspective to ensure a unified brand. Implementing both a visual style guide and an editorial style guide is essential to keep branding consistent across all corporate materials. This consistency creates a cohesive experience that buyers can expect each time they interact with your organization. Over time, this will help build brand recognition and nurture future customers.
While a style guide is crucial to strictly define your brand identity, to build a comprehensive brand you also need solid and consistent brand messaging. Want to know how to establish brand messaging that resonates? Check out our Craft Brand Messaging and Positioning for Better Business Outcomes course. The course guides you step-by-step to lay the foundation for a brand that’s cohesive, resonant and enduring while driving action from targets and delivering better business outcomes. Accompanied by coaching sessions and business applicable exercises, this course has everything you need to craft the brand messaging your organization needs to elevate marketing and achieve goals.