Why Your Brand Guidelines Aren’t Working As Well As They Should


Branding — the cornerstone of brand strategy and a crucial step towards earning customer loyalty — is a dynamic concept that depends on consistency. To maintain brand consistency across all your platforms, brand guidelines are essential. How you communicate your brand message to your customers makes all the difference and if your message lacks consistency, it can directly impact brand authenticity and customer experience as a whole.

Brand guidelines are integral to a successful brand as they ensure consistency, while also helping to take extra pressure off your design team as they can follow and implement the guidelines seamlessly across all their assets. Successful branding goes hand in hand with proper brand guidelines that are accurate, accessible, comprehensive and clear. Further, solid guidelines improve brand recognition and appeal better to your target audiences, as you develop a brand identity that’s easy to spot.

Suggested reading: Brand management itself has gone through plenty of developments over time — get a refresher on how with our blog The Evolution of Brand Management | Lessons from the Past and Visions of the Future

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However, if your brand guidelines aren’t working as well as you expect them to, it’s time to review your existing system and upgrade to the latest technology. Most brand guidelines are rudimentary and slow to update, making it harder to ensure consistency.

Instead of making the task of the creative team straightforward, brand guidelines are often confusing, leading to unnecessary wastage of time and resources. Here we will discuss how your brand guidelines are letting your brand down, and more importantly, how to fix them to get the best outcome from your branding efforts.

Your guidelines are out of date

If your brand guidelines are out of date, they will never deliver the expected benefits. Outdated brand guidelines are one of the top reasons for brand inconsistency. It’s no use having guidelines that tell you what your brand was 8 months ago. Instead of helping out your team members and laying out a clear-cut path in front of them to follow, out-of-date guidelines lead to more confusion.

If a team member is following the old guidelines for their current work — because the document has not been updated in time — it will only result in wasted time and effort spent on creating an asset that no longer work for your brand.

Not updating your brand guidelines negates the usefulness of having them in the first place and increases the risk of adding unwanted variations to your creative assets.

To get the best out of something as useful as Brand Guidelines, your system should be optimised to update at a moment’s notice, so that your brand guidelines remain consistent across all divisions.

If you are still depending on verbal communication, printed guidelines or even emails to update your team, the effort can easily fall flat without any actual results. You need to ensure that the latest guidelines are available to every team member and are easy to access so that they don’t miss them.

A sophisticated BMS can help you to ensure that your brand guidelines are always up to date and available on a centralised platform where it is hard to miss, leaving no room for confusion. Easy-to-edit brand guidelines available through BMS not only make it simple to update any changes instantly but also eliminate the headache of manually updating your team on the changes (and hoping they’ll read it).

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You’re dealing with a poor ROI

Every step of your process should be optimised for the best ROI. Before you spend resources, it’s only wise to ensure the return it will yield. Without proper return, even seemingly small expenses can quickly add up to the total cost-to-market. The same applies to brand guidelines. When you’re spending resources on maintaining guidelines, you need to take every measure to ensure that they are utilised properly to give you the desired returns.

Guidelines look nice printed, but that’s no use when you’re spending more on ink and paper than you’re making back on successful branding. Unless your brand guidelines are properly distributed to all parties involved, it will provide no actual return in terms of branding. To maximise your ROI, you need up-to-date guidelines.

Additionally, delayed distribution can easily undermine its usefulness. Brand guidelines need to be distributed quickly and seamlessly, immediately accessible by everyone who needs them. Delayed distribution means your team will lack the latest instructions right when they need them and will continue following the old guidelines — resulting in wasted resources, poor ROI and moreover, branding inconsistency.

This is where the latest technology comes into the picture. Top-notch Brand Management Software can quickly resolve these problems and help you to ensure better ROI from your brand guidelines. This will help you tell a brand story, improving your brand positioning. BMS can help you in distributing your brand guidelines quickly and seamlessly, without spending a single extra buck — all you need to do is update the file on your BMS.

Your guidelines and assets are totally separated

To ensure that your brand guidelines are working as well as they should, quick updating and seamless distribution are important — but are not the only things you need to do to ensure the best return. You also have to take measures to make sure that the guidelines are actually being implemented and helping your team to work more efficiently, creating content that can support all your branding needs seamlessly.

As soon as you update the guidelines, you need to make certain that your team has access to all the materials they will need for implementing the new guidelines you have set out. If your team can’t immediately access the materials needed, all you have is another bottleneck.

So, before you start out with the update and distribution, the refreshed branding assets, whatever they may be — new logos, images, fonts, colour palettes, etc. — should be readily accessible. When your guidelines and assets reside in different locations and are not linked, all your initiatives to make your brand guidelines work can quickly fall short.

A centralised platform that houses both your guidelines and assets can make the job much simpler. If your guidelines and assets are linked, it will speed up implementation and reduce the number of steps to achieve brand consistency. An advanced BMS will provide a centralised platform for the two, linking your guidelines to your DAM so that your team can directly refer to and use the assets needed for following the updated guidelines.


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With Brandworkz, brand consistency is easy to achieve

Brand guidelines are crucial for maintaining brand consistency. They also help your team to work with minimal training and manual guidance, which otherwise can be resource-intensive. Guidelines act as a sort of brand book, providing a clear picture to your team about what they need to deliver and helping to ensure that all your team members are on the same page. They also ensure your team is working towards the same goal, minimising miscommunication and wasted time.

Suggested reading: For more in-depth guidance on maintaining brand experience for your customers, check out our Brand Consistency Toolkit.

A powerful Brand Management Software is what you need to make your brand guidelines work as well as they should and amplify your brand voice. It will ensure that your brand guidelines are easy to update, need no added step or expense for distribution and on top of that, are linked with the related assets so that they can be implemented right away without going through any extra step in the process.

To get the best from your investment, you need to partner with a solution that actually delivers what your brand needs. Brandworkz is a suite of Brand Management Software that covers every brand management need of today’s business — starting with a powerful DAM for housing and organising your assets to intuitive features like web-to-publish templates, insights and brand guidelines that can be updated quickly and distributed seamlessly from an integrated platform.

To know more about how Brandworkz can help you to improve your brand guidelines efficiency and ensure brand consistency that helps you meet your branding targets, book a demo today.