How to Create an Effective Brand Style Guide

Crafting a brand voice that evokes a positive connection to your brand is no easy feat, especially in a world in which we encounter 5,000 ads per day. But every brand success story starts with a comprehensive brand style guide as a foundation. 

Think of how brands like T-Mobile, Reebok, and even Tinder have recently used their brand voice to make people feel supported during the global pandemic. Or how Ben & Jerry’s used their brand voice to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. 

The world in which brands inhabit is changing all the time, and for Wrike, our market was also evolving, creating a pressing need for a new brand style guide. “Wrike’s growth had been so rapid that the brand became a bit diluted and unstructured,” explains Kevin Lynch, Senior Manager of Content Marketing at Wrike. “The time was right to regroup, refine, and relaunch.”

The truth is that creating a successful brand voice can take a lot of planning. The final product – Wrike Reimagined, was an ambitious brand refresh that included a new redesign, along with a brand style guide that amounted to 109 pages (just like in our software, we really value clarity).

So, why was the creation of a new brand style guide such an important move for Wrike’s future? First, let’s fully get to grips with the different elements that establish an organization’s brand voice.

What is a brand style guide, and why is it so important?

According to marketing software brand Hubspot, “A brand style guide governs the composition, design, and general look-and-feel of a company’s branding. Brand guidelines can dictate the content of a logo, blog, website, advertisement, and similar marketing collateral.”

It might be the world-famous yellow arches within McDonald’s logo, the synonymous white font on blue associated with Facebook’s branding, or even the way that fast-food chain Wendy’s responds on Twitter

For Wrike, the new brand style guide was all centered around an equation. Kevin explains: “What makes the direction of the brand style guide unique is its application of an ‘equation’: Standardization + Configurability = Versatility.”

But what makes it so important? Two words: brand consistency, says Nicky Daly, Content Editor at Wrike: “Maintaining consistency across channels allows us to speak with one voice and helps customers relate to us.” 

William Arruda of Forbes agrees: “Successful brands are based on authenticity, drawn from real achievements, real strengths, and real emotions that are alive and well at all levels in the organization.”

3 rules for building a successful brand style guide Rule 1: Settle on three central concepts for your brand

As Kevin explains above, Wrike’s new brand style guide revolved around two key concepts leading to one overall goal — standardization, configurability, and versatility. Each of these echoes what the teams at Wrike hope to bring to people’s working lives. 

Standardization points to the advantages of incorporating SaaS into your working processes. Kevin explains: “With Wrike, businesses can employ artificial intelligence and machine learning to scale and power their business.”

The second important element of Wrike’s brand voice? Configurability: “Configurability is woven very deeply in our platform and relates to customizability, ease of use, and the human side of work management,” Kevin shares. Wrike’s design uses shapes to depict standardization and hand-drawn patterns to denote

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