Organizing your brand presents a challenge to many entrepreneurs. When you’re used to wearing all the hats in your business, it can feel unnecessary or even unnatural to try to articulate your brand’s identity and operations.
But the more people you have working on and collaborating with your brand—internal team members, freelancers, vendors, consultants—the more crucial it is to ensure that everyone is on the same page. This means investing significant energy into formally documenting what makes your brand your brand, standardizing your processes and operations, and generally cleaning up and getting organized.
Read on to learn about two critical elements of brand organization, plus our thoughts on why an organized brand is so important to long-term success.
Organizing Your Brand’s Foundational Documents
When you first started your business, your ideas about your brand—what it looked like, how it operated internally, and how it fit into your larger industry—were all probably housed in one place: your own brain. And for the most part, that approach to brand organization probably worked… when your team consisted of me, myself, and I.
But as your business grows, your brand will need to be housed in a more accessible place than the proverbial old steel trap. Instead, you’ll want to formally articulate the ideas you have about your brand in core foundational documents. These might include:
- A brand handbook.
- Messaging or style guides (At Miss Details, we developed a small business solution called the Brand Snapshot™).
- Positioning guidelines or other market research.
- Operations manuals, employee handbooks, and other SOPs.
- Lists or databases of approved vendors and partners.
- Records of past clients and projects.
These and other foundational documents provide a roadmap of how to represent, communicate, and build your brand. They allow new team members to get up to speed quickly and give everyone a solid home base to return to for a welcome refresher on the basics of your brand.
Equally as important as creating these foundational documents is storing and sharing them correctly. There are multiple options available to you for brand document storage—from basic file hosting services like Dropbox and Google Drive to more advanced digital asset management systems like Brandfolder and Frontify.
No matter which option you choose, it’s crucial to ensure that, with the exception of confidential or sensitive information, every member of your team has easy access to your foundational documents.
Why is it so important to create and share these resources? Think of them as the instruction manuals for the brand you’ve worked so hard to create. Just like you wouldn’t trust a person to fly a plane without a pilot’s license, you also wouldn’t trust a person to represent your brand without learning about how it operates.
Organizing your brand and providing access to foundational documents also makes life easier for your team, who—try as they might—can’t read your mind. Clear brand guidelines on your colors, messaging, sensory profile, core values, and other fundamental characteristics can save hours of back-and-forth guesswork, giving back valuable time and creative juice to your team.
Designing Branded Templates
Another critical element of brand organization, as well as a massive time saver for your team, can come in the form of branded templates: ready-to-go starters for assets and deliverables. These might include:
- Pre-approved social media post templates on Canva or similar design sites.
- Blank PowerPoint slides with your brand’s logo and colors to use for both internal and external presentations.
- Letterhead containing your logo and contact information for communications and other word documents.
- Spreadsheet documents for use in business reports.
- Content templates containing guidelines on your brand’s preferred structure and inclusions for publications like press releases and blog posts.
Creating these templates will take some time, and it’s understandable to question whether that time could be better spent on more urgent tasks. But these templates can save your team hours in research and design. By giving your writers and designers a standardized starting point for deliverables, you can help them preserve their creative energy for the work that really needs it.
Standardized templates also go miles in elevating your brand. For better or worse, appearances matter in business, and uniting all your assets and deliverables under a common design can add a new level of polished reputability to your work. Another way to think about it: your templates are the dress code for your brand. The difference between branded slides and generic slides is comparable to the difference between a sharp blazer and sweatpants.
Most importantly, delivering work on branded templates protects your intellectual property while reinforcing brand recognition. When you were a student, your teachers likely taught you how important it was to write your name on your assignments if you wanted to receive credit. Likewise, placing your logo on your deliverables makes it clear that it was your brand that created them. Over time, these visual cues will help your clients implicitly associate your brand with quality work, leading to repeat business, referrals, and all other manner of growth.
Brand Organization: The Path to a Memorable Brand
Organizing your brand isn’t just about the polished appearance of your deliverables, or the satisfaction that comes from arranging digital files (though both those things are important!). At the end of the day, an organized brand is a consistent brand, a consistent brand is a memorable brand, and a memorable brand is a strong brand.
By giving your team the tools they need to represent your brand accurately, you can be confident that the work they deliver will look, sound, and feel consistent to your audience. This builds brand recognition, helping your business stick in the minds of your ideal clients so that the next time they need a product or service your brand provides, they’ll be more likely to come to you over your competitors.
The first step to brand organization is formally articulating and documenting your ideas about your brand. When you can put what you know instinctively to be true about your brand onto paper, you can trust your team to bring your brand into the world.
At Miss Details, we created a tool to help you accomplish exactly that: the Brand Snapshot.™ This customized service provides a jumpstart on visually communicating the value of your brand, equipping you with robust yet flexible guidelines to boost brand recognition and inspire further creativity. Book a free Discovery Call today to begin.
Or, if you’re looking for self-guided action you can take today, download our Brand Checkup—an accessible guide to help you recenter yourself in your brand, identify areas for improvement, and plan for the future.
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