Brand Book, Brand Guidelines, Brand Bible, and Identity Guidelines are indispensable elements for any marketing department, yet many marketing departments don’t have them. The reasons are easy to understand. Brand Books (or Brand Guidelines or Brand Bible or Identity Guidelines) represent a completed brand. A willingness to dedicate the company, its customers, and vendors to properly “following the rules” about the brand. They are tedious to put together. Often represent significant political negotiation. And, frankly, fall somewhat down on the list of things that we have time for in our busy days.
All the being said, however, a brand book can help the marketing department become more efficient with both time and money. And when everyone is using the brand in the same way, the brand grows bigger and faster than could be imagined. A Brand Book – well executed – does provide a tremendous amount of insight in the brand. A brand book should be accessible and understandable for every employee in the business. The brand book should be a reference guide for business partners, ad agencies, website designers, employees, executives, and volunteers. They should be all the hard work involved in creating a brand distilled down so that the complete story and all the relevant parts are included in one place. A brand bible would make the ideal gift for a new employee joining the business, to truly understand what the brand position and values of the business are.
So, how do you write a useful Brand Book (or Brand Bible), and not spend all your time creating a doorstop that, while parting the heavens and arriving on a ray of light, never gets opened read or used? We’re going to be exploring exactly that question in this new series – the Brand Book Tutorial. Post by post, we’re going to look at what should be included in a Brand Book, how to develop it, what it means, and how to share it in a way that is compelling to marketing and non-marketing types alike.
Brand Book Tutorial Series
- What is a Brand Book? – this post describes what a brand book is and why it’s important for businesses small and large alike.
- Does Your Brand Have a Brand Book? – this is the post that started it all. The post that your repeated traffic to inspired this entire tutorial series. If you haven’t had a chance to read a great brand bible, this is the post to introduce you properly.
- What’s the Difference? Brand Book, Brand Guidelines, Brand Bible, and Identity Guidelines – You may call it a “brand book”, “brand guidelines”, or a “brand bible”, or “identity guidelines”. This post will attempt to clear up the mystery of the different naming conventions and help you to understand what they are, why they are, and how they are used.
- The Heavens Parted and Delivered the Brand Book - this post lays out the goals and brand that our Brand Book Tutorial Series will be covering.
- The Power of the Brand Narrative in the Brand Book – this post discusses the considerable power in a brand narrative, as a tool for aligning stakeholders and creating consistent messaging.
- Start at the Beginning of the Brand Book - this post shows you how to start your brand book, and reinforces the very nature of building a brand book …it’s a vicious circle…without beginning or end, but constantly spiraling toward new depths. This is the first of the step by step tutorial sections.
- Keywords for Your Brand’s Position – every brand has a few keywords that communicate what the brand is about. This post will help you to identify what your brand’s keywords are, and how to make them visually interesting in your Brand Book.
- Venn Diagram for the Brand Book – Venn Diagrams are commonly found in brand books because they do such a good job of boiling the crux of the brand down to it’s most important parts. This post will help you to create your very own Venn Diagram.
- Articulate the Brand Personality for the Brand Book – your brand has a unique personality that is integral and critical to it’s on identity. This post will help you to identify what your brand’s personality is and how to communicate it to your brand book’s audience.
- Brand Book Rules (or brand dos and don’ts) – let’s face it…the dos and don’ts section of any brand book is necessary. It’s the reminder of how (and how not) to treat your brand. This post will cover the highlights and serve as inspiration for your brand book rules.
- Writing the Brand Manifesto and Tagline for the Brand Book - no brand is complete with out a Manifesto and Tagline. If you’ve stepped through the Brand Book Tutorial Series so far, you’re in a great position to write your manifesto and/or tagline. This post will help you do it.
In her book, Finding Brand: The Brand Book Tutorial (available at amazon.com), Tisha Oehmen takes it farther and teaches you how to explore and craft your brand, write your brand book, share it with key stakeholders, and to use it to protect your brand. This step-by-step tutorial will help you explore your brand and ensure that it doesn’t get cheated on and that your business succeeds.