The brandbook is one of the main documents of the company, in which the elements related to the brand are formed and described: concept, goal, mission, marketing strategy and principles of visual communication. Many companies operating in the B2C segment have a brandbook that helps standardize visual style and internal policy.
In this article, we will look at what a brandbook is and why it is needed, as well as tell you how to make your own.
What is a brandbook and what is its value for business
Brandbook is a document with a detailed description of the brand. It describes the concept and mission of the business for employees, and shows several options for the layout of the logo. It serves as a guide for employees and partners of the company, helps to comply with the internal policy and style in the design.
The document is being developed by branding agencies that specialize in brand development. They have a team of marketers, copywriters, designers who will create a philosophy and style from scratch, and then make a book.
It is worth noting that the development of a brandbook is not a cheap service. If we talk about full-fledged books, the cost varies between $3,000-5,000. Because of this, corporations mostly have their own management. In an average and especially small business, a brandbook is less common.
However, the high price is not a reason to abandon the creation of the book, because it performs 2 global tasks:
Supports the unity of style. The brandbook contains all the elements that make up the client’s idea of the brand. For example: a way of communication, a visual representation.
Simplifies the production of content. Designers, marketers, copywriters and other specialists will have approved guidelines on how to communicate with the target audience, how to design an image, which fonts, color schemes, images are acceptable, etc. You will not have to regularly coordinate new elements and build a positioning strategy, because everything is already described in the brandbook.
How the brandbook helps in promoting the brand on the market and interacting with customers
A brandbook is created because it greatly simplifies and standardizes interaction with customers, contractors, and helps in hiring new employees. Consider the advantages of the book:
Detailed information about colors, fonts, patterns and other elements that are needed to compile technical specifications for performers. You will not have to work out the TOR for a long time, and specialists on the ground will receive a detailed and competent explanation of the task up to the shade number that you need to paint over the button.
The approved legend, values and mission help marketers develop a new advertising campaign and position the company correctly in the market.
An HR manager relying on a brandbook will be able to identify people who are not suitable for the company. For example, the candidate is a strong manager, but his manner of communication does not correspond to the accepted one. The brand’s book reflects details such as the specifics of interaction within the company and with customers.
Brandbook and corporate culture
Having a common set of recommendations helps to maintain the corporate culture. The brandbook specifies how to communicate correctly, what kind of relations should be between superiors and subordinates (rigid hierarchy or horizontal management). This simplifies the integration of new employees, since one reading of the book is enough to study all the nuances.
Who needs a brandbook
The book of brands is popular in different niches. Of these, there are 4 groups of companies that need a brandbook.:
In conditions of fierce competition in the market, organizations are forced to fight for the consumer, so they need a strong and recognizable corporate identity. It will become the basis for the company’s self-identification, memorability and building loyal relationships with customers.
Scaling an enterprise with the help of a franchise greatly complicates the control of service standards, design, etc. The brandbook will become one of the documents regulating the activities of partners. The franchisee in the book will approve all the details down to the smallest detail. If you do not develop a brandbook, the brand identity will be at risk, since it is problematic to control hundreds of partners in different parts of the world and convey values and rules to them.
Customers make a decision to purchase a product based on their personal feelings, trust and understanding of the company’s characteristics. Because of this, companies try to constantly be in the buyer’s field of view and build strong relationships with him.
Therefore, the brand identity is of great importance, which will help to create associations between the color, logo and the company itself. Corporations need a brandbook not only to build relationships within the business and with customers, but also to separate businesses.
They work with different audiences and differ in purpose and concept. Therefore, marketers should understand these features in order to maintain the identity of the directions and not mix them.
What does a brandbook consist of?
There are no strict requirements for the size and content of the book. International companies create brandbooks with 100+ pages, in which all the little things are prescribed in detail. And the brand of a small company is still under development, which is why books usually contain up to 5-10 sheets and not all sections.
- The main thing is to convey the brand concept, Tone of Voice and features of corporate identity. Branding agencies identify the following elements as key:
- Description of the company’s position. It consists of a mission, values and a unique trading offer. It is recommended to describe them in as much detail as possible.
- Portrait of the client. It specifies the characteristics of the target audience (age, gender, social and financial status, geography of residence and other features).
- Brand name. If a complex and non-obvious name is chosen, you need to tell about the meaning, correct spelling and pronunciation.
- Slogan and descriptor, if any.
- Brand name. Allowed and prohibited variations are represented in the brandbook. The security field is also marked, i.e. the minimum distance from the sign to other elements. It is necessary to preserve readability.
- Branded fonts, colors and ways to combine them. This is an important component that will be useful to designers when designing a website, catalog.
- Branded graphics. This section includes patterns, textures, illustrations, prescribe the features of working with photos. Also here I place modular grids for the layout of materials.
- Design examples. Here the theoretical provisions are shown in practice. The brandbook shows how the approved design looks on the packaging, uniform, catalog and other media.
Brandbooks of large companies also contain:
Norms of corporate etiquette, rules of communication between colleagues.
Service standards and features of communication with customers in retail outlets, by phone, in social networks and other places. Sometimes the book shows acceptable phrases for starting and ending a dialogue, whole scripts and even scripts.
Requirements for interior design of premises.
Stages of creating a brandbook
The development of the book consists of 9 stages:
- Analytics. It is necessary to conduct marketing research, study the market, the product, and also consider the strategies of competitive companies.
- Creating a brand platform. At this stage, they develop the position, mission, vision of the business, i.e. the foundations of the company’s identity.
- Logo rendering and style development. Designers and artists create up to 3 concepts, after which they are agreed with the customer. The selected option will be used in the following stages.
- Formation of the brandbook content. The executors determine the management structure and scope of work.
- Preparation of technical specifications for all sections of the book. At this stage, the customer takes part, because the result depends on the requirements.
- Brandbook design development. Experts lay the layout style for the future book.
- Creating design elements of corporate identity.
- Filling the book with text content, photos, etc.
- Layout in accordance with the approved style.
Preparing for printing or publishing a book in electronic form
The creation of a full-fledged style guide, depending on the amount of work, takes 3-6 months. The list of corporate identity carriers is of key importance in determining the timing.
If we talk about compact guides and logbooks, then the working time is much less: 4-8 weeks. They do not involve long-term research and preparation of many examples, so it is easier to produce, cheaper, and therefore suitable for small and medium-sized businesses.
Advice from an expert
Experts of Gingersauce, a service for creating and generating brandbooks, recommend that businessmen study the niche in depth, think about plans for the next 5-10 years. It is important to do this so that the book remains relevant for a long time and contains answers to all questions that employees may have.
For example, if a company has physical outlets, it means that you need to register the interior and exterior, staff uniforms, paper coupons. At the same time, in a year she plans to launch her own online store, therefore, elements will be required to create a website design.
How to use a brandbook
The book is not created in order for it to just be somewhere in the depths of the official website. It is necessary for standardization and control of the work of personnel. Therefore, after the publication of the brandbook, it is necessary to give each specialist a copy so that colleagues can get acquainted with the content. You need to give 1-2 weeks to study, and then conduct a questionnaire or surveys to check your understanding of the mission, purpose, etc.
Based on the brandbook, all processes related to:
- content production;
- interaction within the company;
- communication with clients.
At the same time, all the basics described in the book become unshakable rules. They can be changed later, but employees are required to adhere to them. Otherwise, there is a risk that the brand will lose recognition, the design will become unprofessional, and the quality of service will drop.
It is also necessary to convey to specialists the importance of regular self-tests on the brandbook. This is especially important for content producers, colleagues working with clients.
Examples of successful brandbooks of well-known companies
British Airways is an international airline company. Her brandbook can be called the best example in terms of describing identity. It elaborates in detail the rules for using the logo, colors, and font. Of the 100 pages of the book, more than half explain how marketers, designers, and copywriters should work with content. At the same time, it contains not only theoretical provisions, but also a lot of text and graphic examples.
I LOVE NEW YORK is a logo invented by Glazer in 1977. Initially, it was just part of a campaign to attract tourists. Later, they built their own RC around him and created a brandbook in 2008. It tells the story and purpose, analyzes the audience, and also contains the text of the song of the same name.
Also, marketers described fonts, the location of letters, etc., so that manufacturers of T-shirts, booklets do not violate the general style.
McDonald’s Corporation operates under a franchise, so it has a huge brandbook in which all aspects of the business are spelled out to the smallest detail: interior, exterior, the form of chefs, waiters, managers and animators, packaging, etc. At the same time, the company regularly inspects restaurants opened under the franchise, which is why establishments in Japan, Korea, and the USA are exactly the same (except for the introduction of special offers in the regional menu).
Brandbook can become a priceless assistant to your business and save you plenty of time and resources. Marketing experts of Grentana International are experienced in defining and developing a corporate identity, and will be happy to help your company create a brandbook that will significantly boost your promotion.