Employees throughout your company and even in your external network are responsible for maintaining the brand’s core values. This means being familiar with and following religiously the brand guidelines. This is particularly important to keep in mind while adapting assets for different ad spaces.
”Familiarizing employees with brand values is one of the easiest tasks that goes undone.”
Maintaining the correct brand colours over online and print assets, keeping sufficient room around logos when resizing web banners or translating brand copy all pose significant threats to the brand’s identity. But maintaining a clear and easy-to-follow set of brand guidelines will ensure that anyone who will work on your assets will give the brand the treatment it deserves.
Familiarizing employees with brand values is one of the easiest tasks that goes undone in many, even large scale brands, and there are a few simple ways to make sure your employees understand and follow your brand guidelines.
"Employees throughout your company and even in your external network are responsible for maintaining the brand’s core values."
Ensure that your brand guidelines are quick and easy to access for all employees. You might send these by email to all employees, however these may quickly disappear among the masses of daily emails and new employees may not have received them. Using an internal files sharing system such as Dropbox or a DAM (Digital Asset Management) system could be the best option to ensure that there is one master file that is kept up to date and will ensure that employees are not sharing old versions between themselves.
Easy to follow
Brand guideline documents can be daunting to even flick through. 100 pages of strict rules to follow can turn a simple task like creating a Powerpoint template into a multi-day challenge. Rid your guidelines of unnecessary rules or outdated content types. Make sure your employees get only the information that applies to them. You may have guidelines that apply differently in different regions. Make region specific documents so your employees don’t need to sift through pages of rules they will never use.
The language and terminology used in your guidelines should be simple to follow even for new employees not yet familiar with the internal lingo. Including complex technical terminology or high level English in an international company may cause users to make innocent mistakes.
Another way to make brand guidelines easy to follow is to offer pre-made templates that already meet the guidelines and will not allow users to make changes. Whether it be for Powerpoint presentations, letterheads, stationary, business cards or other assets offering a fixed template is a great way to make sure your guidelines will be followed consistently.
Your brand guidelines should include specific examples of which fonts and logos that should be used and in which situations. It is important that these assets are stored in the same location as the guidelines themselves and that employees can be sure they have correct and up to date assets. Especially if you are using company specific fonts that are not widely included as standard in word processing applications.
3rd party users
If you are outsourcing your creative production to an outside partner or agency, ensure that they also have access to all guidelines and all logos or fonts they might need. Brand guidelines will often include company sensitive information and therefore it can be a good idea to have your external partners sign an NDA so your employees can feel secure with sharing these assets.
Your brand guidelines are key to maintaining your brand identity and employees often struggle to recall even basic details. But with some simple techniques brand guardians and managers can offer easy ways for employees and external content producers to understand and follow your guidelines and keep the brand alive.