Style Guides: Crucial Marketing Tools Most SMBs Forget

Establishing clear brand guidelines can help shape a cohesive brand image.

What are style guides? Think of a brand you can easily recognize just by its visual elements alone. 

It could be the Apple logo or the bright red color and cursive font of Coca-Cola. These brands have developed a solid visual identity that is immediately recognizable to consumers, even without reading the message or seeing the brand name.

The power of a robust visual identity lies in consistency. By consistently using design elements such as a logo, color scheme, and typography across all materials, these brands have built recognition and trust with their audience. When consumers see an advertisement or product from these brands, they can immediately recognize it as belonging to that brand.

Additionally, advertising efforts can reinforce brand messaging and create a consistent brand experience across all media. For example, Coca-Cola’s advertising often features a bright, cheerful aesthetic immediately recognizable as belonging to the brand. It helps to reinforce the brand’s messaging and create a cohesive brand experience for consumers.

These brands have built recognition and trust with their audience by developing a strong visual identity and using advertising efforts to reinforce brand messaging. When consumers see a product or advertisement from these brands, they can immediately recognize it without even reading the message or seeing the brand name. This identity is a testament to the power of solid branding and advertising efforts, underscoring the importance of consistency in building a strong brand identity.

What Is a Style Guide?

A style guide is a precise document that outlines your brand’s visual and written elements, including logos, color schemes, typography, and messaging. It provides guidelines for how to use these elements in different contexts, such as on your website, in social media posts, or printed materials.

Besides this term, you might also hear this document referred to as one of the following:

  1. Brand guidelines
  2. Brand standards
  3. Brand book
  4. Brand manual
  5. Brand style sheet

These terms refer to documents or guides on how a company’s branding and design elements should be used across all marketing materials.

What to Include in a Style Guide

A style guide should include the following thirteen elements:

  1. Brand identity: This information includes your logo, tagline, and other visual elements that define your brand.
  2. Color palette: Your brand should have a set of colors used consistently across all materials.
  3. Typography: Give freelancers and employees guidance on the fonts used in your brand’s messaging.
  4. Imagery: This information guides graphics artists on the images that should represent your brand.
  5. Voice and tone: Your brand should have a consistent tone across all messaging. Explain what you want to your writing team.
  6. Writing guidelines: These guidelines cover grammar, punctuation, and other elements of writing style.
  7. Social media guidelines: This information explains how social media managers should present your brand on social media platforms.
  8. Website guidelines: Explain to your web developers how to include your branding on your website.
  9. Marketing materials: This section includes guidelines for presenting your brand on printed marketing materials, such as brochures and flyers.
  10. Examples: The style guide should include samples of how your brand should appear in different contexts.
  11. Review and revise: Review the style guide and revise as necessary to ensure it is clear, concise, and comprehensive.
  12. Share the guide: Share the style guide with all team members involved in creating marketing materials, and ensure they understand the guidelines.
  13. Update the style guide regularly: Update the style guide regularly to ensure it reflects any changes to your brand identity or messaging.

10 Key Benefits Style Guides

  1. Consistency: A style guide ensures your brand appears consistent across all materials.
  2. Professionalism: A consistent brand presentation helps establish your brand as professional and trustworthy.
  3. Efficiency: Providing this guidance saves time by providing guidelines that eliminate guesswork and re-work.
  4. Brand recognition: Consistent use of brand elements helps build recognition with your audience.
  5. Clarity: A style guide helps all team members understand how to use brand elements.
  6. Scalability: Your guide will ensure consistent branding as your business grows.
  7. Differentiation: Your guidelines can help differentiate your brand from competitors.
  8. Marketing materials: A style guide ensures that marketing materials are consistent and effective.
  9. Brand positioning: This document helps ensure your brand is positioned consistently across all materials.
  10. Cost savings: A style guide helps avoid the cost of redesigning materials that don’t fit your brand identity.

Summing It Up: All Business Owners Should Have Style Guides

Stylie guides are increasingly critical to building a robust and consistent brand identity. You can ensure your messaging is clear and professional by providing guidelines for using your brand elements. As a result, your audience will recognize your brand wherever it appears. Follow these steps to create a style guide for your brand and enjoy the benefits of a consistent and effective marketing strategy.

If you need more tips and tricks for content creation, follow Word Innovations on Facebook. Or, if you are a small or medium business owner looking to put professional content creators to work on your behalf, we are here to help. So please send us your style guide today–we’ll get to work on your behalf!

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