I've always judged wine by its label. Who doesn't? Your cover and the following pages should be the wine label to your brand. Clearly be yourself immediately and set the tone you want your staff to experience, and your staff to give your customers. This post covers what topics you should cover when introducing your organization in your brand book in 6 "easy" steps:
STEP 1: MISSION FIRST. First, let's be clear. You need a mission or guiding principles before you can create a brand identity. (If you need a little more clarity around brand definitions, check out my Brand Dictionary.)
Your mission informs who you are, who you are serving, and your overarching goal. Your mission is the core of your identity and informs how you look and sound. If you haven't written your mission yet, start there. Need some inspiration? Check out these mission statements.
STEP 2: DESIGNING YOUR COVER. Your cover should feel like your organization. If you are a small business owner and don't have design experience, just include your logo, the name of your business, and Brand Book on the over. I have design experience and that's what I did because my brand visual identity is clean and uncluttered.
STEP 3: WHAT'S INSIDE? Start with your Introduction (Hello). Your Mission and Vision are critical components along with Who You Are and will set the tone for the creative explanations that follow throughout the book. Tone follows. Then, make a list of every way you communicate with your audience- from your website to your logo, to T-shirts. Those will go in your creative examples section. Wait until you are finished with the book to include page numbers.
STEP 4: INTRODUCE YOURSELF. Your introduction shares your story. Explain the history of the organization, describe the founders, the reason the business started, challenges, and successes. Don't make it too long though. Keep it to a page. Then explain the purpose of the brand book and how you expect people to use it. Introduce the brand book to your staff the way you want your staff to introduce themselves to your customers. Get the tone right, right off the bat.
STEP 5: Your mission should stand alone. Leave space on the page to let the words stick. You can illustrate it with an expressive image, but I like to let people create an image for themselves of what accomplishing the mission looks like.
STEP 6: MAKE YOUR VISION CLEAR. Your vision is your aspiration. Like the mission, it's powerful all on its own. Don't worry, there are many guidelines and pictures in their future.
At MJC MKTG I clarify organizational identity for my clients so I took a minimalist design approach that aligns with my core of keeping things clear and straightforward. Also, by using less color in printed items, I save money which allows me to pass those savings on to my clients, and supporting another component of my mission. If you need help determining your look you can contact me here.
In my next post I'll be covering how to write about Who You Are and how to create your Tone of Voice.
Until then...Be consistent. Be clear. Be seen.