When you go into a Woolworths store, what do you see?
.. but look in between and in the background, and you’ll see the Woolies brand, purposefully and consistently integrated into every facet of the store. Whether it’s the logo, their signature green colour, the font used throughout, and even their cutesy apple icon (not to be confused with Apple!), there’s nothing unexpected about the representation of their brand in store.
And Woolworths isn’t alone. Most brands, big and small, have this consistency throughout their retail stores, online presence, marketing materials, and offices. And at the cornerstone of this visual representation is a company’s ‘brand rules’ - the do’s and don’t’s of their brand.
So, why is this important? Whether you’re starting out as a fresh business, growing to a team, or expanding to multiple locations, consistency of brand is critical to ensure that you can be recognisable and credible in your online and offline world. And it’s these consistent touch points that build brand recognition and, over time, loyalty to your brand experience.
Your brand consistency starts with a style guide, a rulebook for everyone in your team to eliminate the guesswork from how your brand can be represented. A critical tool for your in-house team, and your third party suppliers, your style guide will shape your brand’s presence in the marketplace, while still allowing for creative marketing messages to shine through.
So, where to start? And what do you include?
Your brand values - At the core of your brand is who you are and what you stand for. Whether you’ve got a brand, or are developing one, it’s critical that your visual representation reflects who you are, who you’re speaking to, and the message you’re trying to get across. Are you a brand with historical beginnings? Or do you pride yourself on innovation? These are some of the influences which will help to shape your visual identity.
Your brand logos - it’s not enough to simply come up with one version of your logo. You’ll need one for white backgrounds, coloured backgrounds and even in black and white. Being clear about all of the different options - including what to do when the logo is really small - will ensure that your brand is clear and on point with the message you’re aiming to deliver.
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Icons - remember the Woolies apple icon made from an apple peel? This is a signature part of their messaging, as well as their overall brand. It can be used exclusively of the logo (like on the side of the shopping bag or the delivery truck) and is also now synonymous with the brand even when the name doesn’t appear alongside it.
Supporting elements - Think fonts, colours, and even taglines. These are the elements of your brand that support your logo, and help to build consistency. These supporting elements make up part of your brand story, so being consistent is important, but so is ensuring that these elements enhance the story, rather than detract from it.
Language - More than the visuals, the language that your brand uses is key to staying on track with your brand. Consider whether you’re formal, conversational, colloquial. Are you aiming for personable? Professional? Trusted? Or are you chasing the ‘hip’ customer? These are the styles which should support the visual identity, but translate into your language usage too - on your website, your radio advertisements, your promotional materials.
Here’s a few handy tips on how to make sure your style guide is on point with your brand message, and stays that way:
- Engage a professional - Creating a style guide is a highly skilled process, and it’s recommended that you engage with an expert to help tell your brand story. Not simply the story of where you are now, but where you’re going in the future. Good graphic designers and copywriters will take the time to understand your brand, and deliver the message on target with your audience’s needs.
- Share it widely - make sure that anyone who is ever using your brand - from advertising and sponsorship through to web development and printers - has access to your style guide. This guidebook, supported by a consistent brand approval process, will ensure continuity across all of your brand channels.
- Review and refresh, regularly - Trends change, as do styles, customer needs, and maybe even your product offering. So a regular review of whether your style guide is meeting your brand needs (and sizing up to your competitors) is a critical part of keeping it relevant, and growing your brand with your business.
Do you need a style guide?
Do you need a refresh?
Contact DMCG today to find out how we can help.