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  • Writer's pictureLiz Maguire

Why a 'Brand Bible' Works.

It's time to take all the pieces of branding in your brain, and put them somewhere for everyone to see. No post it notes and no 'I think that's in an email somewhere...', here. Your business needs a Brand Bible. A Brand Bible is sacred. It is where all the colors and fonts, notes on voice and ultimately, marketing collateral, for your brand lives. It is something which freelancers will ask for, and which in-house hires will wish they had. Whether your business already has a Brand Bible or you're in the market to put one together, this post will explore the necessary components of the guidebook for your business communications.



Whether you already have an outdated branding PDF lurking somewhere on the Google Drive, or your poor marketing team are flying by the seat of their pants when it comes to brand guidelines, a Brand Bible works. Period. There's no argument against a tool which can help across departments from digital communications to customer service. It is up to you how broad or specific you make the contents of your guidebook but what are the three things that should always be included? Read on.


1. Colors & Fonts

What are your brand colors? Please, don't say 'Green and Black'. There's a graphic designer somewhere who shivered. Did you know there are literally thousands of green?And that a digital green is different to a print green? Defining your digital color kit and your print media color kit will help keep brand uniformity across marketing materials, both digital and print. From pull up banners to Instagram posts, being able to define and use the same brand colors builds familiarity. And lends to the overall professional tone of your brand.


Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash


The same goes for fonts. Chances are you are not using the same (or close, let's call 'cousins') font on your website, in your newsletter, and on your graphics for social media. There's a series 'amaetur' vibe from changing type faces too often. There's an old rule in graphic design that no design should have more than 2 fonts. Choose your primary copy font and stick to it! If you want to get fancy and choose a header font, make sure that it agrees aesthetically with your primary font.


Once you've locked and loaded your 'official' brand colors and fonts...write them down someplace! That's where the Brand Bible comes in handy. You can dedicate a page to the simple instructions of where and when to use what colors and fonts. If that's not exciting, who knows what is!


2. Voice

Believe it or not, whether you sell a fashion accessory through an ecommerce shop front or a construction service via referrals...your brand has a voice. Recording just what that 'voice' is will help take work off your plate and allow your marketing/design team to create content that fits with the vibe of your brand. How cool is that?



Some questions to ask of your brand when finding your voice:

  • Do we lead with the Founder name and image? Or are 'we' a 'Team XYZ'?

  • What tense do we write our communications in? Do we use emojis? We use CAPITALIZATION? Which spelling do we use (British English or American English)?

  • How casual are we in communications? Do we joke around? Or are we direct and concise?

  • Overall what impression do we want our customers/clients to take when they receive a piece of marketing (advertisement, email, phone call, etc.) from our brand? Are we friendly and approachable? Or are we highend and exclusive?

Your work on voice can and should take up a portion of your Brand Bible. Don't be afraid to include examples and tips about how to successfully recreate the desired effect. Eventually someone will be reading this Brand Bible without you explaining it over their shoulder and chances are, they'll be running right to print with whatever they make from the details you choose to include. Don't be sparse -- paint with clear brushstrokes exactly how the brand is to be communicated. It will save you time and effort in the end.

The cool thing about noting what the brand 'voice' should be means that you can share this across departments. Because yes, customer service and sales are important too! It's helpful for everyone on the team to have a clear picture of the brand -- especially if they are customer facing.


3. Collateral

Please for the love of all things holy, include your logos in your collateral section of your Brand Bible. And I'm not talking about just the one that every one uses because they'd used it for so long. I'm talking about the entire folder that your graphic designer -- whether they're freelance or in house -- has painstakingly made for you. Because believe it or not, there are so many variations of your logo. Transparent backgrounds, inverted colors, vertical or horizontal layout. The opportunities are endless! And the option to use and apply them in the highest quality direct from the Brand Bible files? Priceless!


Photo by Rohan on Unsplash


Next up be sure to include any and all brand photos (headshots, product photography, events, etc.) and video files (not just the YouTube links!). Being organized in how you present your collateral to your marketing or design team means less headaches for you down the line because you are curating the materials your communications creatives can choose from.


Bonus!

Please, please edit your Brand Bible. If you change the logo design please make sure that you change it in Brand Bible as well. Or if you expand the team and need to include their headshots for whatever reason, add them! By keeping on top of your Brand Bible you can be sure that the marketing material that comes out of your brand is uniform and professional. Oh, and DO NOT under any circumstances record account passwords in your Brand Bible. This is not the place for those! This is a universal document which will in theory be spread far and wide -- be smart about who has access to what.


Summary:

Create a Brand Bible to save on headaches. Recording brand colors and fonts, voice and marketing collateral (i.e. logos and photographs/videos) means that your marketing team can create uniform and professional quality materials for your brand.


Get in Touch.

Have a question about something you read here? Let us know! Write to us at liz@litirmarketing.com.

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