What is a Branding Book?

     
     

Published: January 23, 2017

In our last three posts, we talked about what branding is and why it’s an essential part of your marketing strategy. We also covered the basics of conducting a brand audit and solidifying your company’s core values, voice, and overall look including logo, colors, and other elements.

For smaller companies, compiling this information into a single document is sufficient for keeping everyone in the organization on the same page. For bigger companies with a more complex branding strategy, a branding book serves as a comprehensive style guide that will inform and guide your marketing, branding, and communication efforts for your entire team.

What Goes in a Branding Book?

Here is a quick rundown of the many elements that make up a branding book. Over the next several posts, we will break each of these down in detail so you can have a clear idea of what each of these sections should define and the importance of taking the time to clarify each element. It is typically broken down into two parts.

Part One: Defining your brand’s purpose and its value to current and potential customers.

  • Brand Story: Your story is a cohesive narrative that connects with your current and potential customers on an emotional level. It focuses on human-to-human contact and goes beyond the sales pitch to instead inspire action.

  • Mission Statement: The mission is used to communicate the core purpose of your company including how you will serve customers, employees, and the community.

  • Core Values. Your defined values will guide internal decisions, employee culture, and relationships with customers and suppliers.

  • Brand Promise: The promise is a summary of your mission and value statement to serve as an internal rallying message.

  • Differentiators. What sets you apart from your competitors? How will you integrate these differences into a promise, a procedure, or a business model that employees and customers will use to know why your business is superior?

  • Tagline. A simple statement that defines the emotional benefits of your brand. It tells the customer how they should feel about your brand and inspires support.

  • Elevator Speech. Summarize your brand into a simple, brief overview that inspires interest in your brand. It should be kept to 60 seconds or less.

Part Two: Visual and Written Content Guidelines

  • Logo: A logo is a visual image that serves as a shortcut to all that your branding includes. 

  • Voice: A consistent, recognizable voice will define you as a company and will support your mission, core values, and promise. It will serve as a guideline of how your brand should speak through every form of communications.

  • Personality. What are the characteristics of your brand; what would it look like if it were summarized as a person? The brand personality is based on who you already are and who you want to become and all content should reflect this personality.

  • Appearance. Consistency in appearance is the only way to communicate a cohesive branding message. It includes typography, colors, graphics, and photography.

A Systematic Approach

When your team takes a systematic approach to defining these elements and answering these questions, the result is a clear path for your entire organization to take when it’s time to represent your company both internally and publicly. 

The next several posts will go through each of these components to help you better understand what your team should be thinking about and answering so your branding book will serve you for years to come.
 
Next Post: Branding Book: What are Your Brand’s Core Purpose and Values


Categories: Branding
Tags: Branding, Branding Book, Mission, Vision, Values, Tagline


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