A brand guide is a manual that explains and usually also shows how a brand is to be expressed verbally and visually when you are creating sales, marketing, and other materials on behalf of a brand.
The purpose of this is to give everyone whose job it is to create these materials specific, easy-to-follow guidance so that, (a) all materials produced for a brand have a consistent look, feel, and attitude, and (b) all materials are adhering to the copyrights and trademarks for the brand that the organization has most likely paid a lot of money to create, use, and protect.
Elements that are generally covered in a brand guide — often also called a Brand Standards Manual — typically include:
- The Brand Strategy (which often also includes information about the market that brand competes in and how they differentiate their brand)
- Vision and Mission Statements
- The Brand Architecture (detailing the umbrella brand and the sub-brands under it)
- The Brand Position, including the positioning line/tagline
- Trademark Usage, depicted both verbally and visually
- Ad, Brochure, Flyer, Web Page and Other Layouts, Grids, Design Elements, etc. — including examples in numerous sizes and shapes
- Brand Colors, including PMS, RGB, CMYK and other formats
- The Brand Logo(s), including media variations, clearances, and more
- Brand Fonts — primary and secondary, online and offline
- Brand Voice — tone, manor, and how the brand is to be talked about
- Sample TV and Radio Scripts/Storyboards
…and the list goes on.
Personal branding has been a hot topic for quite sometime now. It is not a new concept, people have been utilizing its power long ago, even before it became an actual thing. It is a natural by product of being an influential business owner, with a vision to add value and give back to the community through what you offer.
What is it about exactly?
Well personal branding is about your story, background, values, ambitions, offering; it is the culmination of all the things which make you who you are today, it even extends beyond just the work that you do, it involves your personal life too. It is about what makes you unique as a person and as a human being.
It is a very powerful tool for business especially, because it communicates your true value and what you stand for in an authentic manner. By doing so, it connect you with your audiences and builds this bridge of emotional receptivity to what you have to offer as a brand, thus creates credibility around your area of expertise.
It is definitely not about fame, it is about adding value, fame is a result of first and foremost, helping people in one way or another.
Your personal brand is a platform for you to communicate authentically with your target audience, in order to get timely feedback and insights. It also creates your tribe of people who really believe in you and what you are all about.
The most effective way to display your personal brand is on social media, via the various platforms available today. Go out there, share your gifts. Be consistent in your message and values, so people can understand what you are bringing to the table.
Keep moving forward,
Over the years I came to the conclusion that the more I failed the more I learned. It made me shift my mindset in relation to failure, instead of seeing it as a negative thing, I began to use it as a learning propelling me to move forward.
For the longest time, everyone told me to be careful and keep my head down in order to avoid failing, and unfortunately I believed it like everyone else. With the rise of entrepreneurship in the last decade there has been a paradigm shift, where the experience of starting up proved just the opposite. The more you failed, the more you learned and the more you got closer to your desired goals and perhaps the highest levels of success.
How can you know what the road to success is for your, if you have not gone through a process of trial and error to reach where you want to be? it is really very simple, but the mind programming we have been undergoing is more powerful than any sane mind!
So I say, start that business, try that job, go to that place, yes even if it is not thoroughly calculated, maybe with just minimal planning and some good old intuition.
Embracing failure is a recipe for success, because the more you try and the more you fail, the better you get at moving forward and start using failure as a platform for personal and career growth.
Keep moving forward,
Any brand stems from the imagination of the person's/group's who came up with the business idea in the first place. As you start defining your concept, you start identifying more and more characteristics of what the brand will look like and how it will behave.
Therefore, a brand is an extension of one's personality. This is crucial because whenever I work with a client, I always ensure to understand where they are coming from (background, upbringing, motivation, overall personality), it says a lot about why they are making those choices in particular.
Personality is the driving force, behind why people start businesses and do what they do. The culmination of all what they have become, really shapes what they create in terms of a brand. It might not be very clear in the beginning, but once you start digging into one's persona, it all starts to make sense why they made those precise choices (naming, identity, business model etc..). It is on a very deep and subconscious level of thinking, which most of the time is actually unknown and hidden from themselves as a brand owner.
Building brands on such deep levels, really enables effective reflections of one's aspirations and business objective. Keep it deep and be authentic.
Keep moving forward,
Behind every great brand, there is a great story which connects the customer with the brand.
Building emotional connections can happen in many ways and through various means, but one of the most powerful ways to do it is through a brand story.
What is a brand story? there is no one answer to this, it could be the story of how the brand started or the story of the individual behind the brand or the story of the product/service itself. The point is, creating a story ensures there is some kind of emotional connection being built between the brand and the audience, which is a behind the scenes communication, more on the subconscious level.
Stories can be told in many forms and not just through text or written words. They could take the form of sound, smell, touch or indulging any sense for that matter or all of them at once, it just depends on what your brand is about as well as how you want to communicate it.
People rarely speak about the hidden dynamics of branding, which are really what make up a solid brand, that is based on intangible attributes which cannot be seen but felt through our emotions.
Tap into your story and communicate with your customers, if you really want build a long lasting relationship with them.
Keep moving forward,
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As a token of appreciation for all the people that have been following us and our work, we created a step by step branding guide to help all budding entrepreneurs build their brands on solid foundations.
The free report walks you through the steps needed, from the inception of the idea all the way to the final real life brand in tangible form.
It is a great blueprint to follow, if you need to be guided throughout the whole process and understand the broad idea of how to build a solid brand.
Keep moving forward,
Knowing what you want for your brand is key in the process of choosing the right supplier to handle your brand building. There are so many varieties of freelancers, agencies, studios now a days and I believe each is good at something. But there are so many self-proclaimed experts out there, that do not really know what they are doing!
Make sure you choose wisely. How do you do it?
Simple, the more you know which skills you need in the team that will work on your brand, the better the match will be. For example, if you need more of a strategic approach then it would be completely different than wanting just a designer to work at your disposal under your sole direction. This is just a vague example of many other scenarios, but the point is to ensure there is synergy and aligned expectations on what your objectives are and what to expect. If this kind of understanding is not there, it would eventually be detrimental to your project.
My advice is, the company which is doing your branding, should have the strategic, design and managerial skills in order to deliver a well crafted brand. If one of these elements is missing, then it would cause an imbalance in the overall result of the desired outcome. The company should play the role of the counselor and the architect, and their only goal should be to TRANSLATE YOUR BUSINESS IDEA, INTO A TANGIBLE AND RELEVANT BRAND, "based on their unique approach".
You will know you made the right choice, if it does not feel like too much effort and there is a smooth flow in exchanging ideas as well as in bringing your vision to life. This requires trust, transparency and belief that the chosen agency can do a great job with the least amount of interference and limitation.
Have your say and clear direction but do not be too rigid and limiting.
Keep moving forward,
I always like to compare humans with brands. How?
Consider this, when a baby is born they have no name, it all starts with a name, just like a brand does. This is why having a well crafted name, is essential as an intangible initial point of exposure to the brand, if not the very first point of contact.
After that, a baby becomes a child then a kid then an adult, where by throughout this process, the personality gains its qualities, attributes, values. This comprises, the way the person looks, sounds, their behavior, demeanor, tone of voice and many other aspects of that individual.
It is exactly the same thing with brand, you name it, give it a look, a personality. You need to treat it as a real person that is capable of interacting with other people which has a multi faceted personality, by making sure not only that they look good, but behave good, sound good etc...just like experiencing a human being in real life!
What I am trying to say is that, a brand is a multi dimensional thing which needs to be carefully created and nurtured in order to be able to communicate with the world in an effective and resonant way, which is attractive as well as resonant with its relevant target audience.
Having a solid brand personality enables the business to thrive by driving brand loyalty, awareness and builds a long term relationship with customers, especially when competition increases, it won't hurt you since you have built your brand on solid foundations.
Keep moving forward,
I came up with an approach that basically integrates both disciplines, branding and starting up. One is strategic and intangible and the latter is tactical and more tangible. It is similar to the left and right brains, the right is creative and the left is analytical.
Thus, what I do when consulting and advising startups wanting to start their brands/businesses, is to walk them through the process by combining both sides in order to come up with a solid and holistic business.
Usually, people are either too business oriented and do not understand how to architect a brand or too creative and brand oriented and do not know how the business side of it works.
I was fortunate to have studied and worked in the marketing industry for over a decade and have specialized in branding, as well as have started numerous startups/businesses (some failed and others thrived). So my brain became geared to deal with both sides of the coin, which led me to this integrated approach of combining these two interconnected aspects of building a successful business.
This is how we add value at 25 branding, by using this integrated approach which is a huge plus to whatever you are wanting to accomplish.
Keep moving forward,
So I decided to name ourselves 25 branding, because the number holds a certain significance to me.
You see when my age was 25, a little while after graduating university, the entrepreneurial bug took effect! I started thinking of a million business ideas and had the ambition of becoming a millionaire by the age of 30, from one of my never ending stream of business ideas at the time.
This was far from the reality, it was more a fantasy. It is always great to dream and be ambitious but sometimes you have to do what you have to do, in order to reach your dreams. And I did go with the flow..which took me down a different path, but eventually lead me to where I am today.
Back to the number, so when I decided to start 25 branding, I wanted to make sure that the idea stems from my real life story and not on a made up concept. I asked myself, 1- why am I starting a brand development company? 2- and for what purpose?
The answers were simple: 1- Because I have been working in the industry for over a decade, therefore I have wealth of experience as well as knowledge about it. Also, I have a deep passion and an eye for building well crafted brands. 2- the purpose was also very clear, I just wanted to help people who had the same entrepreneurial drive to build solid brands, especially the ones that do not know anything about branding and area willing to trust someone with this task. Basically, people who went through the same business journey and believed they could startup at some point in their lives.
I came to the personal conclusion that 25 symbolizes the age when most people get the urge to start their own venture and get their ideas out into the world. It represents youth, vitality, self-expression and new beginnings. Which coincidentally means the same thing in the science of numerology.
I truly believe that every individual should pursue their passion and purpose in life, that is why we are focused particularly on helping startups achieve just that, through effective branding.
Keep moving forward.