Welcome back to the Brand Voice series! This last article in the series is going to take the brainstorming and data you’ve been collecting and put it into a playbook to empower everyone and anyone who communicates on behalf of your brand. In other words, you know when you pay an employee or a freelancer to create or sell for you, they will understand the DNA of your organization.

We started having you and your team meander through the varied business archetypes. The decision to take on the tone of The Explorer, The Rebel, The Jeter, The Hero, or The Creator in your market.

Then we expanded on bringing the voice of your business archetype to life, specifically through educational materials, customer service communication, and selling tone.

Let’s get straight to it. Your Brand Guide – traditionally a brand guide was meant more as a way to steer creatives. It was focused on style = colors, sizing, fonts, and brand values.

Today with so many entrepreneurs using outsourcing or doing it themselves through digital solutions like Selz and Canva, it’s important to merge a design guide with best practices that also take into consideration tone and messaging that will play across social, eMail, newsletters, and any digital touch points.

Here are the components of a modern brand guide:

Voice + Style Guide:

Guides the tone of your company, go back to your Brand Archetype. What attribution of human personality traits (seriousness, warmth, imagination, etc.) to a brand as a way to achieve differentiation. Usually done through long-term above-the-line advertising and appropriate packaging and graphics. These traits inform brand behavior through both prepared communication, packaging, and through the people who represent the brand – its employees and subcontractors.

Advertising + Communications Guide:

Provides templates and guidelines for creating advertising collateral. This includes sales tone, customer service best practices via eMail, social media, or online forums. For this section take into account all of your customer service touch points and divide communication best practices that way.

Social Media Guide + Policy:

Describes policy regarding social media tools and usage. Critically important if you have multiple people inside and outsourced will be blogging and posting on behalf of the organization.

Guidelines:

As the company gets bigger, it’s important to have guidelines available to employees and subcontractors so no one goes rogue. If you run a franchise or multi-unit brand these guidelines are critical so you operate with one voice, as one brand.

  • Target Audience / Customer Information
  • Brand Guardrails / Filters – May detail what types of businesses with whom you do and do not business. May outline your pricing policy; do you discount? Offer %-off? May describe Who We Are / Who We’re Not.

Brand DNA:

  • Brand Vision: Outline goals and growth for a united purpose.
  • Brand Purpose/Mission: How the brand will act on its insight.
  • Brand Values: The code by which the brand lives. The brand values act as a benchmark to measure behaviors and performance.

Developing your Brand Guide will take time, it’s reasonable to dedicate a quarter to this goal unless you have the luxury of just focusing on this task.

Giving your organization time to test and tweak the guide so that it is most accurate and beneficial to help establish trust, and byway generate customer loyalty and profit is one of the best decisions you can make as the leader of your organization.

Keep checking back at FounderU as we continue to support your business growth! Take your time and enjoy developing your Brand Guide!