Lebron James spends a million dollars a year on his body and he’s already the best player in the league… Do you think the “GREATS” wing it when performing, creating content, or products that reflect their brand?
You know they don’t! Just like the plays King James run on the court, there’s a playbook for his brand off the court as well. Sometimes called style guides, to communicate to everyone in the company how to represent the brand. Whether you’re still in startup DIY (DO IT YOURSELF) mode for your business, starting to hire freelancers, or managing a large team, it pays to have your brand book defined as soon as possible.
WHY IS A PLAYBOOK SO IMPORTANT? THERE ARE TWO MAIN REASONS: 1. It forces you to get serious about defining what is — and what isn’t — a part of your brand. Until you take the time to make some decisions, write things down, and get serious clarity about your branding, it’s easy to add a little thing here, change a little thing there, and that undermines your consistency. What exact shade of blue are you using? What fonts? What kind of photography do you choose for your blog posts? How do you sign off your emails? What hashtags do you include in your tweets? All of these are important elements of your brand, but until you take the time to get them defined, you’re likely to be all over the place, choosing something slightly different each time. 2. having a Brand Book will save you endless amounts of time, money, and frustration, especially as you grow your team. When you get to the stage of hiring freelancers or delegating tasks to team members, it can feel overwhelming. You know what you want, but your team members aren’t mind readers. Having a single document you can hand to everyone who works with you saves you time, because you don’t have to explain it all or go through many rounds of revisions. It saves you money because you have settled on a single set of brand elements, so you don’t have to be constantly purchasing more (more fonts, more photos, etc.). And it saves you frustration because everyone who works with you immediately gets your vision — it’s all there for them. PEOPLE TO SHARE YOUR BRAND BOOK WITH INCLUDE: Photographer Graphic designer Web developer/programmer Copywriter Social media expert Facebook/Google ads expert Event planner Virtual assistant Customer service representative Etc. In other words, anyone who is involved with any customer-facing portion of your business. If you’d like some inspiration about how other brands have put together their brand books, I like MailChimp’s exhaustive style guide, and this list of 50 other meticulous style guides for brands big and small. Just remember that your brand book doesn’t have to be a work of art (as some of these examples are) or a novel-length document. In fact, it only needs four simple steps.