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Why are Brand Guidelines necessary?

Brand Guidelines have always been perceived as textbooks, which are more often than not considered irrelevant and its utility is often questioned. There is a general perception that brand guidelines are extremely restraining and an obstacle in the path of creativity. Even with these odds against it, brand guidelines are created and religiously followed by successful brands across the globe. Ever wondered what makes them so essential?

I have always thought of brands as an extension of Humans; just like us, brands have a life journey too. Every day a new brand is born and like a new-born child, it too comes with certain attributes and characteristics, which only become obvious and understandable as we come in contact with it on a regular basis.

Children are often given ‘guidelines- do's and don’ts to deal with everyday life. Similarly, brands too need some rules that will help it create a distinguished image of itself in the market. These rules are created by carefully examining its market, competition and the purpose of its existence.

Later, when a child starts going to school, he develops his own list of ‘do's and don’ts and a way of life that is customised to his desires and dreams. A brand, too, builds its dos and don’ts which clearly state how it will look, behave and speak. Just like the simple things that guide us in life everyday form the basis of our existence and make things extremely organized and easy, brand guidelines, in a very efficient and systematic way lay emphasis on how the brand will unleash its content into the world. This provides a solid framework to use as a starting point for any branding work.

Just like the traffic signals, guidelines bring a sense of direction. Creativity within limits can be challenging, but at the same time, it provides the necessary direction. When you have too much to explore, it can get intimidating and paralysing. And in the end, you might just be exploring various routes without knowing where exactly to go. When a thoughtful guide is created, it gives a clear understanding to the branding team on how to go about things instead of just beating around the bush.

Life without any rules is unimaginable. In fact, without rules it would be chaotic. Then, how can a brand live its life without any regulations and guidelines? It’s these guidelines that set the brand apart from others; they provide the necessary direction to reach its goal. Brand guidelines give the brand a sense of coherence. This is vital as it ensures that there is symmetry and consistency in the brand voice that echoes with the audience. This will thereafter create brand awareness and build trust.

So, whether you are a start-up, an already well-established brand or thinking about rebranding, it’s never too late to develop brand guidelines.

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