Think about a ‘brand’. The first thing that sprung to mind was probably a logo, maybe Apple’s or Volkswagen’s. But, your brand is so much more than just your logo.
Your brand is your identity, comprised of various design elements and communication components. To remain true to your brand, it’s important to establish a brand toolkit for your organisation to use whenever it communicates internally to its staff, or externally to its customers.
What’s a brand identity?
In our last article on branding, I talked about your brand being made up of three things: brand promise, position and personality. Well, these three Ps are all wrapped by your brand identity.
Your brand identity is the visual essence of your organisation. Its fundamental purpose is to signpost your audience to your products or services and differentiate you from competitors. It is often seen as just a logo. However if you look at all great brands it’s not just the individual mark you identify with. Colours, type, pattern, photography, even the sounds of the words you use to communicate, these elements all play a part in your brand identity, and form what we at Mackman, refer to as your ‘brand universe’.
What’s a brand identity toolkit?
Now how do we practically implement your brand identity and further manage your brand universe? The answer is a brand toolkit. Gone are the days of your agency managing every part of your identity. As a business, you now need to apply a consistent style and tone across all your marketing. Having access to the right elements and guidelines allows your identity to grow from within.
Our brand toolkits are made up of a core number of elements which, when used consistently and repetitively, strengthen and reinforce your identity. We typically create toolkits for our clients that include a harmonious suite of elements. From a logo, patterns and colour palettes, to typefaces, taglines and tone of voice. With the right training and practical templates, we encourage our clients to own their brand by using the elements within their toolkits themselves. We applied this when we worked with EOS, where we helped them to create a brand that is unique, identifiable and progressive.
What are the different elements in a toolkit?
Each toolkit is unique to the business that uses it, however you can usually find:
- Logo: A logo in a variety of colours and sizes
- Tagline device: A supporting brand asset used alongside the logo that is usually either emotive, descriptive or both
- Colour Palette: A range of colours synonymous with your brand
- Typeface: A set of fonts for both the logo and supporting copy
- Tone of voice and descriptions: Guidelines on the language you should use to create the right personality for your brand
- Imagery and illustrations: A visual range that provides the right impression to those who encounter the brand
- Patterns and devices: Shapes and patterns taken from a dissection of the logo
- Templates: Standardised formats for any regular forms of communication including newsletters, presentations, reports etc
Why do I need one?
A brand identity toolkit assists an organisation and its staff to effectively and consistently build and protect their brand through visual and written communication. It’s packed full of resources and guidelines so that every person involved in your brand can govern and use it correctly.
So, picture this, let’s say you’ve decided to do some much-needed DIY at home. You realise you need some screws, so off you trot to your local DIY store to buy some. Later, during the building process, you notice you need something else to aid you in your project. Off you go again back to the DIY store to get what you need to complete your masterpiece. This process could go on and on With you going back and forth until you’ve finished what you started, as it often does, for me.
In this scenario, the DIY store is a marketing agency, and your project is your marketing plan for your business. Now, wouldn’t it be more cost effective, with regards to both time and money, if you were more prepared by already having a toolkit with all the elements you need to complete your DIY project?
Together we grow
Our ethos at Mackman is ‘Together we grow’, and this relates to so much more than simply helping our clients grow their business. It’s also about giving our clients the knowledge and skills so they are able to confidently own and grow their brand. We’re huge advocates for upskilling our clients. Giving them the tools they need to create their own visual and written communications. And our brand identity toolkit is one way that we do this.
Bruce Burgoyne is the Creative Director at Mackman, a Sudbury-based full-service marketing agency.
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