Your Brand (Guidelines) May Need to Adapt in 2021

Feb 16, 2021
Brand Guidelines Blog Image

2020 was a roller coaster — to say the least. There was a pandemic. There was social unrest. There was a call for businesses to focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. Just as technologies, opportunities and business strategies had to remain flexible to stay relevant, 2020 also showed us that an adaptable brand identity is a brand that will succeed in 2021.

Your brand identity is a reflection of who you are (and want to be) as a company. Before we get into considering if it might be time to create or update your brand guidelines, it’s important to know why you need one.

Your brand guidelines can help ensure brand consistency across all mediums and channels. They are also instrumental in guiding both internal and external stakeholders as they apply your company’s vision, mission and core values to marketing, sales and communication materials.

What Are Brand Guidelines?

Your brand identity guidelines (or brand style guide, brand standards or brand book) are an overview and set of rules for your brand to follow. This can include an overview of your brand’s history, brand messaging and tone, logo usage, color palette, type usage and image styling — just to name a few!

Brand guidelines can also be a great resource for helping to create standard design layouts and grids, merchandise applications and templates for items like flyers, social media posts, stationery, advertisements, video and more.

Thinking through what should be in your brand book can feel a bit overwhelming. There is a lot that can go into making an effective brand identity guide. It’s important to remember, though, that your hard work will pay dividends almost immediately. Both internal teams and external partners can benefit from having a complete brand identity guide. Your sales teams might need templates to elevate their pitches, or it can guide your external partners to create assets that fit your brand and embody your company.

Ask yourself these questions when considering revising your brand identity guidelines:

1. How are you distributing information about your brand?

Are you constantly fielding questions about how to use your logo, what fonts are on brand or what colors are acceptable? Are you noticing incorrect branding on a Zoom background or LinkedIn header? Or are you harboring all your companies brand knowledge in your head without a resource that others can access? These are just a few of the many reasons it might be time to update your brand identity guide or start fresh with a new one to help streamline your company’s image. Don’t forget to consider how it integrates within the workflow of your company. These documents can be as simple as a digital PDF or as expansive as shared folders with assets and templates to an entirely online experience with downloadable content.

2. Are you setting your company (and brand) up to adapt in the future?

Sales, marketing and communication have changed drastically in the past year and will continue to change at a rapid pace. Your company will succeed based on the adaptability of your team and your brand identity as a whole. It is important to consider if your brand is working as effective as it could during a time where your business goals may have changed. Maybe the tradeshow marketing budget is now being used for more digital and social marketing efforts. Your brand should be set up to succeed in the areas where your company is today and will be in the future.

3. Are your brand guidelines a useful resource?

Many organizations feel the need to create brand identity guidelines because it is a ‘check box’ to check. Remember its purpose: to help others understand, and apply, the brand both internally and externally. After all, your brand is a reflection of who you are (and want to be) as a company. Your documents and brand assets should be simple to follow and apply. If you are considering updating your brand guidelines, make sure to include education of how to use assets most efficiently as part of your roll out. We recommend including anyone who will use the brand; these guidelines are for every employee — not just your marketing team!

Your brand identity should be the cornerstone of every touchpoint of your company. It should be felt internally and externally; having a comprehensive document is essential to your brand success.

Ready to get started? Drop us a note below or connect with us @westcomm on LinkedIn. 

Your Brand (Guidelines) May Need to Adapt in 2021


Benefit Communications Report: New Insights into What Works

Toolkit: Promoting Your Benefits Year-Round

Toolkit: Breaking the Stigma of Mental Health

New Program Communications Checklist

Communications Metric Checklist

Open Enrollment Debrief Worksheet