It’s easy to tell a good brand from a bad one, and for a simple reason – it’s the good ones we remember.
Airbnb. McDonald’s. Apple. Google. Coca-Cola.
Each one conjures up its own unique set of associations. Not just colors, logos, and styles, but feelings – ideas and beliefs these brands have managed not only to cultivate in the minds of their respective audiences, but become synonymous with.
How, exactly? Through consistency. By knowing what they stand for, and expressing that across every visual and verbal touchpoint with their customers. By developing a specific, unwavering commitment to the same style and tone – the same look and feel – everywhere.
Fortunately, this kind of branding consistency isn’t limited to the world’s biggest, most famous brands alone. It’s a feat your online business can achieve, too – with the help of a little something called a branding package.
But what is a branding package, exactly? What does a good one include, which brands are doing them well, and – most importantly – why should your online business create one?
Let’s find out.
What Is a Branding Package?
A branding package (also known as brand guidelines, a brand pack, a brand package, or a brand identity guide) is a collection of resources designed to outline a business’s image.
How does that business present itself to the world? What kind of words does it use, and in what style does it communicate with its audience? Moreover, how does that business express itself visually: be it with color, typography, design, or icons?
A branding package covers all this, across a company’s online and offline elements.
Online is a business’s digital branding: the set of rules that governs how its website, social media, marketing emails, and presentations all look.
Offline could be business cards, packaging, print ads, corporate gifts, or physical collateral: such as brochures, letterheads, and exhibition stand material.
Why Use a Branding Package?
Good branding is vital.
After all, it takes 5 to 7 impressions for people to remember a brand. So yours doesn’t just need to be memorable – it needs to be presenting a consistently memorable experience at each and every customer touchpoint.
Why is a brand package so important, then?
Because it allows you to achieve that “Holy Trinity” of brand: consistency, continuity, and recognizability.
By utilizing the same colors, font, design, and visual style – and speaking in the same, distinctive tone of voice across all your communication channels – a branding package helps your prospective customers understand your brand. And, eventually, form a relationship with it.
As your business grows – and you bring in more staff to handle different parts of the day-to-day operations – consistency becomes even more important. How do your content writers know what your email marketers are up to? And is the person putting your business cards together the same one that designed your website?
Branding packages solve these issues, putting everyone in your business on the same page. These guidelines can solve quarrels, prevent misunderstandings, and make it easier to bed new staff into the tone, essence, and unique voice of your business.
The best branding packages, then, ensure that vital continuity – even as staff join and leave your employ. They maintain those all-important standards of quality. And, by cutting out any room for misinterpretation, branding guidelines enable quicker, more effective decision making that’ll save you time – and money.
What Does a Branding Package Include?
A branding package is rarely limited to a single facet of your business’s brand.
So yours, naturally, should run the gamut: from your company’s top level branding, to guidelines for both its digital and physical assets.
Below, we’ll unpack what’s covered by each – and why they’re all important!
Top Level Branding
Your top level branding guidelines define your brand’s look and feel across all touchpoints: from both a design and written perspective.
This includes your business’s:
- Logo: This has to be original, memorable, and instantly recognizable. Not an easy mix, granted – but if you get it right, the rewards are great. Plus, we can help – our guide offers everything you need to know about making a logo online.
- Tone of voice: This is a set of rules and guidelines governing how your business communicates. Empathetic? Nurturing? Authoritative? Humorous? Serious? Your tone of voice also encapsulates the type of words and language you use, as well as more technical elements. How long are your sentences and paragraphs, for instance? Do You Capitalize Your Headings? Do you use emojis and hashtags in social posts? Tone of voice guidelines will help you decide.
- Font: Whether you’re more Montserrat than Merriweather, or love Lora over Lobster, the font you choose will go a long way to defining your brand’s visual essence.
- Brand colors: According to data from Forbes, color improves brand recognition by up to 80%. So don’t go all Picasso on your brand’s palette – pick a couple of main colors, a pair of secondary hues, and never utilize more than five in total – across all your business’s collateral (how to choose a color).
- Guidelines on image use: Does your business embrace the ease and convenience of stock images, or prefer the pull of UGC (user-generated content)? Do you stick to one or two images per article, or build your content around them? What’s your policy on GIFs? A good branding pack can help you figure it all out (how to get professional images).
Physical & Print Guidelines
Even in today’s online world, there’s still a place for physical (printed) material – be it for sales, marketing, or customer service purposes. Of course, that means there’s still a need to integrate guidelines for your physical and print resources into your branding package.
These should govern best practice for your:
- Product packaging
- Any corporate gifts you’re sending out to clients
- Business cards
- Exhibition stands
- Physical advertising: such as marketing that appears in newspapers, magazines, or on billboards
Digital Branding Guidelines
For purely ecommerce businesses, a set of digital branding guidelines are a must. These will define how your brand looks and feels throughout its online facade, including its:
- Social media
- Marketing emails
- Presentation templates (i.e. how your Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Slides presentations look, and the typography used)
Great Branding Examples
So, we’ve walked you through the principles of great branding – and how a branding package can help you implement them across your own business’s collateral.
But how does that all look in practice?
Let’s take a whistle-stop tour of three of our favorite companies – all of which are getting the branding game just right.
Homegrown fast food franchise Wendy’s – now one of the world’s biggest – owes the foundations of its success to that logo.
Depicting the daughter of founder Dave Thomas, Wendy’s logo is up there with McDonald’s’ golden arches as one of the industry’s most iconic. And the blue and red of its logo doesn’t appear in isolation – you’ll find that color scheme echoed throughout Wendy’s entire website, and across all its marketing collateral.
Wendy’s uses color and branding to convey its values and vision. It even takes things one step further – offering its brand packaging to the public as downloadable assets.
World Wildlife Federation
Do logos come any more iconic – and with more immediate recognition – than this?
Largely unchanged since 1961, the WWF’s monochromatic panda has defined multiple generations of animal lovers. Over six decades, in fact – how’s that for continuity!
The WWF utilizes consistent typography – and a predictable-yet-pretty visual style – to develop its brand across its website and social media.
Love him or hate him, when Jeff Bezos created Amazon, he didn’t just create a company – he created a brand.
Amazon’s black-and-orange color scheme and imagery (that tick is recognizable anywhere) appears throughout all its physical and digital assets.
On a site that sells such a variety of items, it could be easy for Amazon’s visual style to become diluted. Its brand identity – and even better branding package – ensure that doesn’t happen.
Amazon relies on the same typography and visual style throughout its website. Moreover, a distinct color palette – built around its flagship coupling of orange and black – give it a unique visual identity.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of a branding package. As a crucial source of brand consistency and continuity – across all your company’s communication channels – they’re not merely a “nice-to-have.”
They’re a must-have – and vital if you plan not just to sell items, but actually build a brand online.
A branding package will help potential customers sit up and take notice of your brand. It’ll empower you to nurture them throughout the journey from casual browser to avid consumer, and – for your more established customers – help you build a community to support and engage them.
And, ultimately, keep them coming back for more!
Once you’ve established your brand image, you’ll want to start sending products off to consumers, and you can find out how in our guide to shipping.
Then, they’ll work with you to create your business’s branding package. Depending on the agency, costs will vary – though you’re looking at a fee of up to $50,000.
Plus, there’s a whole bunch of other informative resources and articles on our site to help you put together a branding package that’ll do your business justice – so be sure to stick around here on Website Builder Expert for more where this came from!