Brand Books encapsulate the very best of brands. They come in many shapes, from simple graphic identity guidelines to comprehensive strategic compendiums. Good Brand Books inspire brand partners to "go for the extra mile". Discover here the 4 principles we apply at Brand Reveal with Megusta when developing Brand Books that deliver growth.
Building a Brand Book - whether for a new born or centenary brand, requires a high level of structure, precision, clear copywriting and great content. After all, as a brand owner you want to help your company affiliates, 3rd party distributors or creative agencies, to put the brand on the right track! Therefore, think of your Brand Book as :
1) An Amplification tool: as your Brand grows, the quantity of markets and partners will rise exponentially, including complexity, mistakes and efficiency issues. Therefore, good Brand Books come with clear and flexible execution tools that allow Brands to amplify their reach by entrusting local programs to affiliates and 3rd parties with clear directions.
On a local basis, a Brand Book is also an efficiency tool as its execution guidance prevents from "reinventing the wheel". And believe us, brands which facilitate the life of their affiliates or distributors, score very high in preference and share of mind !
2) A Modular tool: there is no single recipe for great Brand Books, but contents must adapt to the Brand objectives, complexity, development stage (launch, expansion, revitalization...). Common topics include:
- Brand history (roots, facts, founders...)
- Brand positioning (key benefit, audience. values, personality, reasons to believe...)
- Range architecture (products presentation, roles, priorities...)
- Strategy (vision, ambition, pillars...)
- Mix Guidelines (distribution, price and promotions, communication...)
- Tools (iconography, photos, execution examples, actual assets...)
3) A Beacon for Direction: NEVER start a Brand Book without a clear idea on the Brand Positioning as this will guide all the tools developments that will be included in the book. Once these elements are ready, the drafting of the Brand Book can start as it will be an exercise of compilation and presentation and will reduce time spent on corrections and amendements.
4) A Dynamic tool: A Brand Book is a Global Brand Manager's voice in absentia as he/she cannot be everywhere all the time. So, make it live with regular updates with (e.g.) digital platforms to share, update and flag content changes. Gone are the days of cumbersome paper updates. However, a printed edition may also be desirable to celebrate a first edition.
And since we are on the topic of being "dynamic", do make sure that the Brand Book is sponsored by senior management in the organisation, like the CEO or CMO : they will know that good Brand Books don't come cheap and are investments with a return based on their use by the organisation and partners. In fact, incentivising a Brand Book use via (e.g.) visibility competitions or creative communications, is a good ways to involve teams and tie the Brand Book to commercial opportunities
There is nothing worse than Brand Books that stay in the shelf because the contents are either "too complex", "outdated", or "not adapted to our market reality". If you've encountered these barriers, a shift in mindset in how you think and develop Brand Books may be required. If you want to step change your Brand Books, do contact us.
Brand Reveal is a network of senior marketing experts who specialise in strategy, development and optimisation with a focus in FMCG and Drinks. We all have at least 25 years experience from the client side. And have done a quite few Brand Books... [email protected]