Tick, Achieve - Why Brand Guidelines Should Become Branding Values Checklists

31st August 2016

It was author Kevin Duncan that eulogised checklists in his popular business book ‘Tick, Achieve’. Duncan is in favour of creating lists in order to help us march towards our business objectives and accomplish more – in fact, he is in favour of ‘lists of lists’, too. How far down the road to List Mania you wish to go might depend on the budget you had set aside for note pads, but there is no denying that marketing departments could profit from incorporating some of Duncan’s wisdom into their branding procedures.

Are brand guidelines getting the job done?

All too often a brand guidelines document is created diligently by a marketing manager or head of marketing, before being consigned to sitting in a documents folder and used irregularly. It might rear its head when a leaflet, brochure, or other piece of marketing collateral is being designed, but is it a failsafe that ensures a company’s entire output to the public domain meets certain specifications when it comes to the image they wish to portray? That’s why brand guidelines should become branding values checklists.

Constructing your branding values checklist

The type of values you include to tick off on your checklist will of course be entirely subjective to your company’s line of work, and the way it markets itself. For example, a firm with a B2B focus could be communicating its brand through leaflets or event participation, while a consumer orientated brand such as a soft drink might be thinking more about mass advertising. Nevertheless, the principles you include on the checklist are just as important.

Typical checklist categories to include are brand personality (what is the image you wish to project?); brand ethos (what do you stand for?); positioning within your market place (pitching your brand in relation to your competition) and relationship with the customer (how do you address your target audience?).

Looking in the mirror

If branding values aren’t something you have explored to any great depth up until now, the best way you can set them in place is to do some soul searching. Rather than attempting to transplant the branding values of a leading company in your market, nail down what your current strengths are, what makes you different from the competition, and put yourself in the customer’s shoes to assess the kind of company they would like to deal with.

Download our Guide to Creating Your Own Brand Values Checklist

Include the essentials

While semantic branding values are hugely important to how your brand is projected, they should translate into tangible actions on the checklist wherever possible. Determine how you want to refer to yourself as a company, your products and your employees – do you always use capital letters in the right place? Are your product names being written consistently in every format?

Think about your logo, the colours you will use in every day communication and in marketing campaign collateral, the typography and fonts you want to use and taglines which can be used consistently across many channels.

By ensuring the semantic and physical elements of your branding value checklist are covered off every time you market your company, you can achieve a level of brand consistency which will speak volumes about your reliability as an organisation.  



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