Brand Standards Manuals: Part 1

By Alex Rebele

The Value of a Brand Standards Manual


Your brand is more than just a logo or tagline – it’s your identity. It communicates who you are and what you stand for. And a strong brand can move mountains for your business.

Any company that understands the importance of brand development will invest heavily in its brand, ensuring that it is unique, engaging and wholly representative of the company’s values and identity. Defining and developing your organization’s brand is no easy feat, so once it has been perfected, it’s extremely important to maintain its integrity — and one of the most important tools to help you do that is a brand standards manual.

In this two-part series we are going to cover everything you need to know about brand standards manuals. In Part 1 we are going to explore the importance of safeguarding the presentation of your brand and three ways a brand standards manual helps to do that.

1. Ensures consistency

Ensuring that your brand has the same look and feel across all channels is critical to brand recognition. If your logo looks different in a TV ad versus on social media, how will customers know it’s the same brand? If your brand voice is playful on radio and authoritative in print, how will customers be able to relate to you? A brand standards manual is a document that employees can easily reference to understand when, how and in what format all brand assets should be used so that all public facing communication is consistent and on-brand.

This also helps ensure consistency during turnover and transitions. Let’s face it – employees aren’t going to stay at your company forever. But with a brand standards manual in place you can ensure that the annual report your company distributes in 2016 matches the look and feel of the annual report from 2012.

2. Offers the logic behind the logo

A good brand standards manual will offer more than just visual guidelines for your brand. It will also explain the rationale behind that brand – the emotions, ideas and values of your company. Having this type of information in the hands of employees and board members will help them better understand and communicate your company’s inherent value to other key audiences such as customers, journalists and potential partners.

3. Helps when rebranding

Brand standards manuals are great to reference when you’re considering a rebranding. You can look at who your brand currently is, who you want it to be and if your current brand standards are set up to help your business achieve those goals. If you decide to refresh your brand, the brand standards manual works as a valuable foundation from which to work. If written properly, the manual will give your design and strategy team and in-depth look into your existing brand, making it easier to identify areas for improvement.

Ready to find out everything that goes into a brand standards manual? Check out Brand Standards Manuals: Part 2 where we’ll go into detail about what we include in branding blueprints.

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