The Brand Bible…



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Guest writer Richard Lloyd joins our Creative Director Gareth Robertson in piecing this Blog entry together. Richard is a long time associate of Gareth and has kindly shared his views, opinions and knowledge of Corporate Identity Guidelines after working with large companies, brands and organisations over a glittering 30 year portfolio career including spells with Experian, Dun & Bradstreet, InfoGroup and Cyance to name a few. Richard now works with CMC Partners, a group that helps other business owners develop an exit strategy to get the most out of their exit from the business they have built up over time. He is a real expert in this complex field and has helped countless business owners smoothly exit and remove themselves from a company with succession plans in place.



Above, Richard Lloyd and Gareth Robertson


What is the purpose of Corporate Identity Guidelines, and what benefit are they to my business?

The term Corporate Identity Guidelines will probably be a familiar term for most business owners but they may not fully understand what these Guidelines are or do. This Blog entry is intended to explain what Corporate Identity Guidelines are, what they do and why they are important for any reasonably well established business to consider having a set written and professionally designed.


So… What are Corporate Identity Guidelines?

GR: Quite simply, they are a set of rules that govern how your brand identity is executed across various forms of media. They set out the rules for how your logo looks and how it is applied and (more importantly) how it is not to be applied. Corporate Identity Guidelines also set the rules out for the correct fonts to be used, colour references or mixes, how stationery is constructed and how supporting brand furniture is applied across all forms of media, marketing and communications.


So what are the benefits of having Corporate Identity Guidelines set up?

GR: Having Guidelines in place allows you to keep a tight reign on how your brand is identified by associates, clients, contacts, colleagues or potential new clients. A brand is the personality of a business but the identity is the portrayal of that personality and therefore needs to be executed properly overtime when it is put out in to the public realm.


RL: CI Guidelines will help execute an identity on two tangible levels:

  1. They will give external and internal suppliers parameters to work within
  2. They will help ensure that the brand value is reinforced and protected over time

The document is a central resource that can be vital when a business goes out to market itself or a product as the Guidelines can be written to include sub-brands, product lines or different divisions of a business. All of the elements can be brought together so the identity flows seamlessly across all forms of media both online and offline.


What is the value you are protecting with good Corporate Identity Guidelines?

RL: Various brand value research studies have been carried out in consumer markets to determine the premium that people will pay for brands over and above a base line. Measuring brand value and assessing the value of intangibles by asking consumers to separate out the brand and place a monetary value on it is difficult because this is not what we do in the real world. In fact, most consumers, when asked to place a monetary value on brands, are in denial about paying a premium just for the name. That is for all the other mugs, not for me.

That said, when people are asked in brand value surveys to place a monetary value on a car (the same car is used in the photographs but different badges are superimposed on the bonnet to suggest it is a different brand) the Volkswagen brand is seen to be worth more than that of Ford while the Mercedes brand has a value above both. In each case, the brand is seen to be worth around 10 per cent of the retail value of the car.

The recognition of brands as an asset to the company is not new to firms making consumer products but, until recently, it has been largely ignored by industrial companies. In effect there has been a failure of industrial companies to recognise that brands do have a value, including the possibility that they also have a value on the balance sheet. However, as already mentioned, that the company name and brand are often one and the same in industrial markets, presents additional difficulties.

The value of the brand cannot be placed on the balance sheet, but it will certainly form a key part of the value when you look to sell your business, it is well worth protecting.


Ok, so how do I start writing a CI Guideline document for my business?

GR: Quite simply, you don’t. The best way to establish some guidelines is to employ a branding and identity specialist to write them for you. Here at Design Pit, we have written several Corporate Identity Guidelines for our clients and we are well placed to write, design and supply a digital Guideline document once we have taken in a detailed brief and researched the various areas in which the identity is applied. We can then tailor the Corporate Identity Guidelines to fit the way the brand is executed, tying up any loose ends with a rationale for why things are applied in a certain way.


A quick summary of what a Corporate Identity Guideline document could do for your business identity…

  1. Dictate your logo size and placement
  2. Defines your colour palette
  3. Selects fonts that reflect your unique identity
  4. Select brand furniture, graphic elements or iconography to set you apart
  5. Set a style for your photography
  6. Establishes Web-Specific elements
  7. Sets your tone of voice
  8. Demonstrates the key component parts of your corporate identity
Richard quotes research from Interbrand: