Make sure your branding is consistent across all platforms. This will appear more professional, improve your corporate image, and save time for your employees.
Your brand guidelines will help you create consistency across your website, social media, and whatever other platforms you use. Consistency portrays a professional image.
If someone sees a marketing email you’ve sent them, is interested in whatever service you provide, clicks the link, and is taken to a website that doesn’t resemble the email they just received, it could be slightly off-putting.
Creating brand guidelines and sticking to them will also help you create brand recognition. When someone sees your nonprofit’s colors, with copy in the font you always use, written in your organization’s voice, then they are going to immediately recognize you.
Again, this all comes down to consistency. In order for someone to recognize your brand, they have to become familiar with it. You’re going to have to stick with your guidelines long enough for people to become familiar with you.
Drafting an easy-to-understand brand guide will make your nonprofit more efficient. Rather than spending hours answering questions from employees about how they should do something, they’ll have all the information available to them.
Creating a Brand Guide
A brand guide is a document that holds all of your organization’s brand standards. Whenever a copywriter, social media manager, or anyone else in your organization has a question about your organization’s standards, they should be able to look it up in the guide.
In what font should I publish this blog post? How should we sign our fundraising emails? They should be able to reference the brand guide for all of this.
Here Are a Few Things to Consider Including in Your Brand Guide
Obviously coming up with an entire grammatical style guide of your own would be a huge undertaking, as well as a huge waste of time. You’ll likely be using one of the existing standards for grammar and punctuation, such as AP or Chicago Manual. Whichever you’re using, it could be helpful to name it in the brand guide and make sure that employees have access to whichever standard you’re using. There may be instances where you deviate from this, likely with the intent of creating a stronger brand voice and identity, and these circumstances should be listed as well.
This is arguably far less important than having correct grammar, but things like font selection and size should also be included. Again, it’s about consistency. If pages on your website have varying fonts and sizes of lettering, your organization will appear less professional.
Your brand guide should include all of your logos and in what context they should be used. Along with your primary logo, you may also have a series of secondary ones. Which ones should be used on web pages? What about email signatures or press releases?
Include which colors should be used on webpages, company merchandise, and any other circumstance.
Tone and Voice
Do you want your copy to be matter-of-fact, express urgency, be upbeat, or appeal to people’s sense of empathy? In reality, you’ll probably use some combination of these, but you should lay out the tone that different types of copy should have.
Mission and Values
This is especially important for nonprofit organizations. So often, you’ll task your employees with creating content that explains your organization’s goals and plan of action for how to achieve them. It’s paramount that employees are able to reference an official mission statement.