Develop brand guidelines for your team
Consistency is key. Developing and utilizing guidelines to guide the communication of your brand can help to add a sense of professionalism to your various channels and messages. These guidelines may already be available for your institution, and your lab or research group guidelines should also be consistent with the institutional brand. Creating and following brand guidelines are important for various reasons including:
- Ensures consistency – Some of the most effective brands a have consistent and recognizable brands. Having clear brand guidelines helps to ensure that all content is cohesive and relates to the overall brand of your lab group.
- Sets standards and guides – Sets rules help to keep styling simple. By having clear expectations of what colours, fonts, and styles will be used can help speed up the content creation process and ensure professional looking products.
- Eliminates confusion – Related to consistency, by eliminating variables in your brand identity, brand guidelines can help to eliminate any potential confusion from your target audience regarding a difference in style.
- Transfer of knowledge – Assists with the transfer of knowledge from employee to employee. By having clear guidelines and instructions for the use of your lab’s brand, you reduce the risk of losing that knowledge during any potential staff turnover.
Brand guidelines do not have to be limited to the visual components of your brand. Incorporating topics such the mission, vision, and values of your brand can also be useful. Below is a list of key topics you should aim to address when developing your brand guidelines:
- Specific colour scheme
- Font and styles to be used
- Instructions for use of any logos
- Any important graphic images or layout conventions
- Mission, Vision, Values
- Tone, Voice and Key messaging
- Any other information that will help your target audience connect and engage with your brand
- Templates for things like presentations, posters, etc.
Some other tips to develop effective brand guidelines include:
- Keep the guidelines concise and to the point
- Be sure to consult and adhere to your institution’s brand guidelines
- Use language such as ‘must’, ‘always’, and ‘never’ to avoid any confusion in the guidelines
Once your brand guidelines are set, it is important to setup some time to ensure that everyone on your team understands the guidelines and understands their importance. Training your team on the guidelines can be a useful exercise to get their commitment to the guidelines, and to hear their feedback on the guidelines. By having your team involved in the process of creating and refining your brand identify and guidelines you will contribute to the healthy culture, ready to implement a strong communications strategy, that was discussed in the previous section.