Global pandemic or not, our project scope conversations are always free | Contact

Brand books are good for business

Let’s talk a bit about brand books, and why they are good for business. First of all, we can agree to disagree – but a logo is not a brand. And, a style guide is not a brand book. These are two different publications, which we generally merge together. What we’re talking about here is what we refer to as ‘the whole iceberg’. One is good for consistency (style guides); the other inspires greatness (brand books). The logo itself is the tip of the iceberg.

To kick start 2021 - we undertook the process of producing a brand book for ourselves. Easier said than done, but ultimately rewarding, and the first time we've consolidated all of our unique quirks and features which guide us to do what we do. The book is 240 pages of the Atollon brand story, our principles, values, rules, vision, mission, and inspiration for working the Atollon way.

Thinking differently about brand books.

Working with lots of different brands; naturally, we see (and create) quite a few identity style guides and brand books. We’re often supplied with documents and toolkits to either review and improve, or put to use. These range from highly useful and informative, right through to boring pointless nonsense. Honestly, most people might not know the difference or really care. But, ultimately if your logo is the steak, a good guide book is the sizzle.

Here our aim is to highlight the key difference. To give you some perspective on; ‘How to know if your brand document is a flimsy charlatan or a comprehensive direction’. For many organisations, a style guide is a document solely for the direct use of the marketing department, and the information doesn’t necessarily concern anyone else in the business. Where we want to change your mindset is; a brand book should be critical for everyone in the business because this is where the branding rubber hits the road.

In other words, say you accidentally left your 'brand book' on a bus... And, unfortunately, a competitor has picked it up - what damage would they be able to do with it..?

(A) Replicate the colour of your letterhead printing? or
(B)
Clone the entire heart and soul of your brand down to its DNA?

*If your answer is A we need to talk

 

This is because at a base level; it’s a reference tool to maintain brand consistency. At it’s absolute best; it’s an all-encompassing bible of inspiration. For the vast majority we receive, these are quite often merely an uninspired template filled with irrelevant specs and arbitrary examples – especially when it’s out of date or fundamentally basic design from the get-go.

"This is our brand. The story of Atollon. It isn't a style guide, but it is a guide to our style. It's what makes us individual at our core. It's inspiration for working the Atollon way. Because, how we do anything; is how we do everything."

Why?

In part, this happens because many mainstream designers often think of ‘branding’ as only what it looks like. A shallow face-lift. We think of brands more as a living thing; personality, tone, core values, mission, vision, culture, purpose, customer, story, goals, behaviour, hierarchy, competitors, point of difference, systems, flexibility, direction, and strategy. These are things which positively impact the business far more than a logo, shift the sales dial, and helps customers connect with why the brand exists.

This is why Atollon is the way that it is. We’ve built it, and they have come. Yes there is a lot of competition, but damn it if we don’t try to do things our way. This is because; Our way is researched, a thoughtful approach, beautifully designed, effectively communicated, and done with a can do attitude.

Style Guide

A style guide ensures that your identity looks consistent, even when you have different teams and people working on communication, marketing, design and sales.

Brand Book

A guide to everything that everyone in the company does, and what the customer takes away from their interaction with the company or product, from beginning to end.

"Not all traits are equal. Not all are relevant all the time. Like a steady wave of radiant energy - our brand core effects how we create and operate. This is our values onion, layer by layer; it helps to build the presence of Atollon and gives the brand direction."

The content laid out in your brand book should leave no stone unturned. If it's relevant to you, your customers, your goals - having it documented, actionable, and made clear to everyone involved provides a competitive advantage.

"No matter how impressive, provocative or emotional the end results may be, it should always stem from one simple goal of; ‘making a difference’. So at our core, we believe that if you truly want to make an impact, you’ve just got to try something different."

What good is a guide that doesn't guide you?

A sceptical client once said, “Why would I invest in something that’s just going to gather dust on the bookshelf?” At the time, this narrow-minded view couldn’t see the bigger picture, and didn’t quite understand the potential – but, it did flag to us; not everyone understands the impact a (good) brand book will make on a business.

So, what are the benefits? What is this guide really all about? Done right, thought-out, made specifically for your business, and understood by the whole organisation; a brand book will…

  • Document your brand guidelines
  • Establish a platform for what brand success means
  • Solidify your purpose and uniqueness
  • Tell your brand story
  • Unify your personality and tone
  • Provide direction for communication and initiatives
  • Achieve design consistency and cohesion
  • Rally your team around your purpose
  • Present examples for a uniform brand system
  • Distinguish your brand from competitors
  • Clarify your vision, values, and mission
  • Remind everyone of what makes your business different
  • Keep your on-going messaging on-point
  • Be a good source of inspiration for new ideas
  • Ensure that what your doing is relevant your brand goal/s
  • Protect the strength of your brand
"Our studio identity is intentionally basic and contemporary to act as a framework for what we communicate. Or in other words, what we do and say means more to us."

Want your version of this?

We love this stuff; enhancing and creating brands is a big part of why we exist. You could say; it’s our jam! So, if this all sounded like a fairytale, or you’re looking at your current style guide thinking; something is missing here… Let us have a look at what we can do for your brand. We’re looking forward to making many more beautiful brand books.

Contact

Next Article

Classic Australian Beer Commercials

We love a good design challenge.

Let's Chat!