Here’s why your creative business needs a set of brand guidelines!
Your brand is your business’s unique identity. That unique identity contains more than just your logo and your color palette. It’s who and what your business is, as well as what it stands for. It’s also the way in which you work to communicate that information to your ideal clients.
With brand guidelines in place for your creative business, you are assuring that your business’s brand elements are being used effectively in every avenue that your business has a presence. This includes your website, social media channels, email marketing, and any printed/printable materials (such as your client welcome packet!).
What are brand guidelines?
Brand guidelines are a set document used internally for your business. They will clearly outline the rules for how to communicate your brand.
Your brand guidelines will contain information such as:
- Color palette
- Your mission statement
- Brand photography & imagery
- The voice and tone of your brand
Your brand guidelines will typically be created by your brand designer and delivered to you at the completion of your project. It will be used by you and anyone that works within your business (including virtual assistants, online business managers, and subcontractors!).
Why your creative business needs brand guidelines
Using brand guidelines for your creative business is crucial because it works to create consistency. There is a phrase that says “a confused mind never buys”. As a creative business owner, you have to work to bring that level of clarity to your potential clients by clearly and effectively communicating what your brand is all about. Brand Guidelines ensure that your creative business is always portrayed and represented accurately at all times, which helps lead your ideal client into a buying decision.
Your brand guidelines work to communicate a clear and consistent message to your audience
When you speak to your audience on social media, what does that sound like? Is your brand voice flowery, or do you let it all hang out and drop 4-letter words? There is no wrong answer, but switching between tones of voice will leave your audience confused. Yes, even if your audience is not full of ideal clients. Let’s not forget about the power of referrals! Your audience needs to know exactly who you are and what your brand represents in order to feel a sense of trust and subsequently a connection to your brand before they make an investment.
Not sure what to say to your audience? When you are staring at the blinking cursor attempting to write content, revisiting your mission statement & values in your brand guidelines will steer you in the direction of knowing exactly what to say to your audience and how.
Your brand guidelines set the first impression for potential clients while also working to attract them
Your potential clients need to know that they are in the right place when they land on your website and social media channels. Opposite of that, any price shoppers and lookers that land on your website and social media channels should also be able to tell at first glance that they are not in the right place. The brand guidelines for your creative business should not work to attract all the clients, just the right clients!
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Your brand guidelines will set your creative business apart from the competition
This happens all too often with creative business owners. Frequently, you might feel that your niche is oversatured and there is a healthy dose of competition in your area for the exact service that you offer.
Let’s say that you are a photographer. What kind of photographer? Maybe your specialty is shooting weddings, that’s great! But let’s define that even further. Are you a film photographer? Do you shoot adventure elopements that require you to wear hiking boots? Or maybe you shoot black-tie weddings with 200+ guests. Having that information together in your brand guidelines will show your ideal clients the ways in which you differ from the competition! Suddenly that “competition” of yours doesn’t seem too scary after all!
The brand guidelines for your creative business set a standard
Setting a standard with your brand will allow you to easily ‘hand off’ parts of your business when the time comes. Let’s say you want to hire someone to blog for your creative business. How would you effectively communicate to them the tone of your brand, including keyphrases and descriptive words? How would you communicate to them the tone of your ideal client along with keywords your ideal clients would be searching in order to find you? Your brand guidelines would have this information clearly outlined and ready to hand off to the right person!