What if I was to ask you right now to name the first three brands you can think of…

Who is it that springs to mind? And what is it you picture when you think of them?

The chances are that no matter what product those brands are famous for – sportswear, coffee, cars, electronics – you are able to recognise and remember them because of their corporate guidelines.

Why are they important?

Corporate guidelines are important to any business that wants to strengthen its brand identity, improve its customer reach and increase sales. Which is pretty much every business out there!
They essentially act as a guide or rule book, communicating how each brand should be represented visually.

Corporate guidelines determine how the different elements of a brand should look, and that incorporates everything from logos to online adverts, shop fronts to apps.

When it comes to graphic design, corporate guidelines will very often involve designers producing a vast quantity of different variations of designs and logos that can be used as part of future marketing campaigns. The danger here is that the focus becomes on churning out a load of designs that fit the key elements, but shifts away from the overarching objective.

That end goal is always the same; to help the business thrive and sell more products or services – and that is really what corporate guidelines are all about.

5 reasons why you should be using corporate guidelines

Corporate guidelines aren’t just important for designing marketing materials; when done right they can be used as a resource for anyone in the company to inform how their brand should be represented and what sets it apart.

  • They promote consistency.
    If you want your product or service to be recognised by customers (whether old, new, or never-seen-before), you have to have branding consistency. If a logo is suddenly dramatically altered to fit a new advert, or a creative decides to use different colours on some marketing materials, the branding can become confused. The upshot of disconnected visuals that keep on changing is that customers find it harder to recognise your brand and engagement is reduced…and that is never good for business.
  • They’re essential when scaling up.
    If your business is in the early stages of infancy you may feel that corporate guidelines aren’t necessary (though it could be argued that they’re useful at any stage!) but what happens when you start to scale up? As new employees join the company, perhaps new branches open in different locations, your control over your branding and ability to keep it aligned become more diluted. Having corporate guidelines in place will ensure everyone in the company, or indeed working with it, understands your branding and is consistent with it, no matter how many different staff members and locations are involved.
  • They allow a standard to be set.
    Marketing campaigns and materials can vary wildly and with them so too can branding standards. Branding rules help to ensure that standards remain the same across every type of visual you produce and can include detail such as spacing between words, colour palette for logos and specific typography to be used. Of course, guidelines shouldn’t be too rigid – some flexibility is needed and can be really beneficial – so it’s about achieving the right balance of creativity while maintaining a universal standard.
  • They promote engagement with your brand.
    Good corporate guidelines will help your company become a recognisable brand. When audiences can pick out brands from a line-up simply because of the typography or colours for example, without the need for a name or logo, it helps to build up engagement and enable customers to feel more connected to the brand. It can help to build trust amongst your audience too and build a reputation when your visual marketing gets recognised again and again.
  • They can be reviewed and evolve as your business does.
    Importantly corporate guidelines aren’t there to be created and then never touched again. Just think how many companies have been able to re-brand with huge success. Corporate guidelines can and should be reviewed regularly – your business is ever-evolving and your branding should be too. The key to making each re-brand or alteration a success is to keep consistency when delivering any changes, and of course, any new designs should still meet the brief of reflecting your brand’s messaging and values.

There’s a lot to think about when creating corporate guidelines but with some out-of-the-box clever marketing and really creative design, they can genuinely help businesses to thrive, and most importantly deliver more sales.

The first step is to really explore what your brand is, what its values are, and what messaging you want to convey. If you’d like to find out a little more about corporate guidelines and the kind of work we can do here at Kerslake Design for our clients, feel free to get in touch – we’d welcome your call.