In December, I wrote a quick blog post called “Does Your Brand have a Brand Book?” in response to The Santa Brand Book from Quietroom. Since then, that post has been the most frequently visited post on the Finding Brand Blog, and it’s obvious that there is a significant need for a brand guidelines template.
The Brand Book
When I was just starting out in marketing, my boss asked me to have a brand book created for our brand, and I still remember – to this day – the awe and sparkle that accompanied the words “Brand Book” when he gave me my new goal. It was as if there was something semi-holy about it. Certainly not something that any, ordinary marketing person could create. No, it had to be created by “the Marketing Agency.” And getting the brand book written was both expensive, extensive, and exhausting. With more than a year’s lead time, we (well, in reality, the Marketing Agency) almost didn’t get it written by the deadline.
The day it finally arrived the not-so-proverbial heaven’s parted, a beam of light shown down from the sky and “The Brand Book” was delivered.
The brand book was thick – 50 pages easily, it was technical – esoteric and academic, it was pretentious – how could it not be? and it was … BORING! Seriously, to read the brand book cover to cover would make any marketing addict’s eyes glaze over and the most significant case of insomnia would be nearly instantly cured. What’s worse? Let’s face it – the only person at that business (or any other) that would struggle to read the brand book cover to cover was, me, the person whose job it was to have it written.
But here’s the thing, 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 book would make the ideal gift for a new employee joining the business, to understand what the brand position and values of the company are.
So how do you write a useful Brand Book, and not spend all your time creating a door stop that, while parting the heavens and arriving on a ray of light, never gets opened read or used?
The Brand Book Tutorial and Brand Guidelines Template
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 one element of a brand guidelines template. We’ll work through 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.
To accomplish our goal, we need a brand to analyze, dissect, and understand. For this brand guidelines template, we’re going to use the indomitable “Rubber Duckie.” Rubber Duckie is pervasive, iconic, and perhaps most importantly, doesn’t possess vigilant brand guardians scouring the web to remove all unauthorized traces of the Rubber Duckie. So, to get your creative branding wheels turning – here’s a classic Rubber Duckie song to get you started. Meet you back here next time when we start our Rubber Duckie Brand Book. In the meantime, please leave comments if there is a particular aspect of the brand book you would like to see covered sooner rather than later.