Most CEOs now spend more than £100,000 creating their brand guidelines.
Is the price justified?
Do guidelines get followed?
In our experience, yes.
But ‘only just’.
And not without some pain:
Sometimes the work isn’t quite right.
Or the layout’s a bit off.
Or the headline doesn’t sound like you.
Or the tone of voice is wrong.
And there’s never quite enough time to take it from ‘good enough’ to good.
Or even, to ‘great’.
And what’s the easiest way to get everyone to follow the guidelines?
You’ve already spent hours and hours talking the team and agency through the guidelines.
You’ve already spent £££ getting the brand books printed.
Your teams are experienced. Mutiny’s not in the air.
A consistent brand now depends on how you bring the guidelines to life.
In our experience of creating brand voice guidelines, 3 things make sense
1) Design them for ten past nine on a Thursday night
That’s when most writing and brand design hits problems: the work’s needed in the morning and there’s no one else around to ask. Make the guidelines fun and talkative, not restrictive.
2) Make them only just comprehensive enough
For brand tone of voice guidelines, 4 adjectives on a page never helped anybody. But nor did 120 slides of a PowerPoint deck. ‘Just enough’ in our experience means 10-20 pages with lots of examples.
3) Make them Living Guidelines
Writers are a funny bunch.
They want their work to be recognised.
They don’t like being told what to do.
So, how can you get then to constantly refer to the guidelines and improve your brand voice?
The easiest way we’ve found is to treat guidelines as living things: allow work to be constantly added – and voted on.
You can read about this in STRONG LANGAUGE.
Chapter 41 is about brand tone of voice guidelines and shares how we made Living Guidelines for one of the UK’s biggest car brands, leading to greater usage of the guidelines, 1000’s of hours saved and greater brand equity down the line.
You can read the chapter below, or if you’d like to read the whole book, click here: STRONG LANGUAGE