The Heavens Parted and Delivered the Brand Book

The Brand Book Tutorial Series serves as a brand guidelines template for your brand, brand development, brand identity, and your 'Brand Book'

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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.

Santa Brand Book, brand guidelines template
The Santa Brand from Quietroom

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.

See more from the Brand Book Tutorial Series

Tisha Oehmen

Tisha Oehmen is a professional brand strategist and a leader in the branding field. She was recently named a member of the Global Guru’s Top 30 Brand Gurus. She is also the co-founder of Oregon-based Paradux Media Group and the best-selling author of the book, Finding Brand: The Brand Book Tutorial.

Possessing expertise in both front- and back-office operations, Tisha conceptualizes, develops, and implements initiatives to foster brand effectiveness like no other. With over 15 years of experience in branding and marketing, Tisha has successfully led large financial institutions and health care companies down the path of renaming their business.

Where Tisha really shines is in the work that isn’t done. Sometimes a name change for a business isn’t in their best interest and after meeting with Tisha, they are able to find the true value and equity that has always been in their brand. Tisha has a special knack of being able to communicate the value so that the CEO/Business owner can see its luster and then with a little polishing, make it shine company wide.

Tisha is best known for developing long lasting branding campaigns that speak to the heart of the business, the brand, and the community. True brand, no matter how big or small, has longevity. Creating branding campaigns that have longevity, that have a laser-like focus, is where Tisha thrives.

Tisha received her M.B.A. from the University of Oregon, from where she also earned a B.A. in Political Science. She enjoyed a distinguished academic career punctuated by enthusiastic and successful participation in competitive speaking events, and holds numerous awards for her skill in public speaking. Tisha is widely recognized for her ability to capture an audience’s attention with her straightforward and engaging speaking style.

When not working, she enjoys golfing, baking, reading, and hiking with her partner, Mike, and their two dogs, Chloe and Jackson. She’s also an active member of Rotary International, the Chamber of Commerce, and is a very proud supporter of the Oregon Ducks. Tisha lives in Eagle Point, Oregon.

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