How To Build A Brand Style Guide Your People Will Actually Use

Building a recognizable brand depends on consistency. Big brand launches and logo rollouts are exciting, but what makes a mark memorable isn’t the announcement — it’s the practiced, professional repetition of the brand in every message, every advertisement, and every communication that every member of an organization shares.PaintSwatches

For a brand to become identifiable, the logo in every flier must be properly presented.

Colors on every website always have to be the same.

Fonts, images, graphics, and other visual cues in anything the organization presents should all be uniform.

It’s the most basic element of branding. So why can’t so many organizations get it right?

We’re not normally ones to point fingers, but it looks like today’s trend toward encyclopedic brand style guides creates more problems than it solves.


Style Guides Should Be Simple Employee Training Tools

Look hard enough in most enterprise organizations these days and you’ll find a handbook to composing the company brand. These style guides are meant to be employee training resources — shared with employees to guide them as to how their work visually represents the company, and how they should format that work to ensure the brand is shown at its best.

Problem is, many of those style guides quickly become protracted tools created by experts, for experts — with scores of pages, each so mired in the technical details of design that no one else in the organization can make sense of them.

Which takes you right back to square one — even with the guidebook at the ready, your employees aren’t sure exactly how to properly represent your brand, leaving each to make their own independent attempt to do so. And so brand inconsistency is born anew.


Training Employees To Represent Your Brand

Today’s extensive brand style guides aren’t missing the mark for want of information — it’s the delivery that needs help. Most employees would happy meet the brand standards, if only they didn’t have to parse dozens of pages of design details in order to do so.

Fortunately, there’s an easy fix for this — just create a brief employee training video supplement to your existing brand guide. Like this one:


Create A Brand Style Guide Your People Will Actually Use — With Video

For any organization in any market anywhere in the world, the first step to creating a brand guidebook your team will actually use is to assess what elements your team actually needs.

Without question, your creative teams will find value in the full details provided in the now-traditional encyclopedic style book. Sharing that in-depth technical resource with the rest of your employees, however, is simply overkill. Branding is an exercise in simplifying the way your organization visually represents itself — the first step in successful branding is simplifying how you set brand expectations with your teams.

1 | Assess Your Brand’s Touchpoints — Where Do You Need To Be Consistent?

The single most important job your brand has is to provide a consistent appearance for your customers and partners. Consistency is reassuring and affirming — it signals that they’ve found the right place, and are communicating with someone who can help.

Your organization may have many touchpoints or only a few. No matter the total, these comprise the entire foundation of your brand. Consider carefully how you expect your employees to represent your organization at each.

2 | Determine The Absolute Minimum Your Team Needs To Know To Represent Your Brand

This is where most brand guidebooks fail. Recognize that most employees don’t need to know the technical details or the philosophical rationale behind every brand decision — they just need the top-line essentials.

In many organizations, that list of essential items will be simply how to get the correct logos, colors, and fonts for presentations and email communications. It may also include dress code and conversation expectations for those companies with a retail sales or on-site service model.

3 | Find A Way To Make Only Those Essentials Easy To Find, Learn, And Share

Here is where a short video presentation can make all the difference. According to Forrester Research, employees are 75 percent more likely to watch a video than to read documents, emails or web articles. More engaging than text, video can make your message memorable, and helps you to highlight exactly what your people need to know.

Moreover, video helps you create a valuable reference resource for your company. A quick recorded rundown of your brand standards is a tool that can be easily included in your onboarding programs, and also provides front line managers with a simple way to remind their teams to follow protocol.

Best of all, for Panopto customers, your Panopto video library automatically indexes every word spoken and every word that appears onscreen in your recordings, so that any employee who needs to find a specific detail (like Hex color codes or the right font for web use) can quickly search across every video in your company archives and find exactly what they were searching for — and even instantly fast forward to the specific relevant moment.



Try It For Yourself!

Video can help corporate communications teams make sure everyone inside the organization is on the same page.

With Panopto, you can tap into the power of video to help build your brand — by helping ensure every member of your team really understands your brand style and represents your company consistently in each and every interaction.

Ready to give video a try in your organization? Sign up for a free 30 day trial of Panopto today.


Published: October 15, 2014