We’ve learnt that symbols and logos do not represent brands directly “Branding is not just a logo or symbols, it is a Philosophy”. Which we acknowledge psychologically, in the sense that a good brand must create an experience or a great perception that occupies the hearts and minds of its customers. BUT, it is those symbols and logos that call to mind the name of a brand which in turn calls to mind an associated perception.

The totality of the way the organisation presents itself can be called its corporate identity and it’s also what the customers perceive as the image. Every organisation carries out thousands of transactions every day: it buys, it sells, it hires and fires, it makes, it paints, it cleans, it promotes, it informs through advertising, the web and other media– and so on. In all these transactions, the organisation will in some way be presenting itself – or part of itself – to the various groups of people with whom it deals.

Because the range of activities is so vast and the manifestations of identity are so diverse, the corporation’s identity needs to be actively and explicitly managed. Identity must be under control and management like financial management or information systems management, is a corporate resource, an asset which embraces every part of the organisation.

Every organization has unique identity. Corporate identity guidelines enable that identity to be managed and projected to all its audience (internal & external). Every company, regardless of size, already has a corporate identity, planned or unplanned. The question is whether or not a company manages its identity in a purposeful manner.

In order to create a distinct and memorable identity, we express our brand through the consistent use of the name, symbols or logo, communications and visual appearances.
A visual identity system or Brand Manual will allow the consistence use of the brand’s identity through all consumer touch points, communication tools and applications allowing the brand to be easily recognized and gain awareness in the marketplace.

Does your business have a brand manual?

Perhaps you’re not quite sure what a brand manual is or why on earth you need one. Let me shed a bit of light on the situation. Your brand manual is the guide that keeps all of your design on the straight and narrow. It’s the document that shows you what your symbols or logo look like against all corporate colors, the types of fonts used, which palette of colours represent your business, the rules and guidelines of using that logo or symbol on any branding material. And it shows everyone who designs for your business how to make sure that each piece of collateral looks like it’s come from the same company.

Brand manuals help keep your business identity intact and consistent. Brand manuals allow your designer to be more creative by focusing on the bits they can add value to, rather than changing the font or the colour palette for the sake of being different. They help you build trust and reassurance with your customers because everything you produce has a common style or theme. That doesn’t mean it needs to look the same, but just like it’s come from the same company can communicate a good perception and experience to your customers.

Every business needs a brand manual. The goal of a brand manual is to protect the strength of your brand so that it continues to create value for your company. It will save you time, money and will help you project a better image. No easy task I can tell you, but what’s not to like? Success is measured in decades, not years.

Article by: Udwin P. Moyo (Brand Identity Developer & Consultant, Graphic Artist, Blogger) www.umdesigns.co.zw

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