Branding is vital and important to your business and so are the numerous assets that every business should have available for your clients, potential clients and partners. Today, we would like to cover the key branding assets every business should have on hand as well as a good understanding of what they represent.
It may be easy to keep a grasp on your company’s brand assets, but as you grow and expand your network of clients, partners and so on, you need to be ready to educate how and when to use them.
If you are a small business, this post will hopefully help start the conversation to begin creating said assets and/or spur the decision to begin collecting and fine-tuning what you already have. If you are a well-established business and do not have these things taken care of… Oh, Dear!
In all seriousness, it’s never too late to get organised or to consider what your brand may be missing or lacking. It is crucial to understand the importance of branding in marketing. Your partners will seriously appreciate the extra effort. This will help reduce delays in production, ensure that your branding agency is producing work that meets your standard of quality, and provide a roadmap that will keep your partners producing a cohesive product that aligns with your brand.
Let’s review a checklist of both conceptual needs and physical and digital assets your company should consider putting together prior to hiring your next partner and/or marketing agency. Ideally, you should collect or produce as many of the below items as possible in organized folders and have them ready to hand over as soon as possible.
Where To Start with Branding Assets
Depending on your business, brand guidelines can range from a one-page sheet to entire books with extreme detail. For the most part, there’s no need for a brand guideline book. Putting a minor amount of thought into the psychology and overall direction of how you would like your brand to be portrayed when in the hands of a partner is more than enough. A big reason why a brand guideline handbook is necessary is so that you can have brand consistency and unified, strong brand identity.
In some cases, there are finer details and restrictions that must be adhered to and these are great as they clearly define the do’s and dont’s of your brand and will help avoid any confusion while working together.
Logos! Every business or company has logos available right? That’s a no-brainer! Wrong. Logo files might be the most obvious since they are your front-facing identity. However, there are times when we find ourselves scouring Google Images for a client’s logo only to find that the sole file available is a 200×100 JPEG found on page 2 of the results and we are left scratching our heads.
If you have an in-house team or hired professionals to develop your logo, there is a standard checklist of file types that every marketing team will be high-fiving each other over if they are available upon request.
- EPS – An .eps file is the ideal choice for your marketing team as it is not only a high-res vector format, but also a working design file that can be edited/manipulated as needed in Adobe Illustrator. If you have these, great! If not, consider reaching out to the people responsible for creating your logo as they should have sent them to you and/or consider hiring someone to create .eps files for your logo.
- PNG – A .png file is a raster file that will allow you to generate a version of your logo without a background. Thus, allowing you to place it over any type of color, surface, or texture as long as your brand guidelines permit.
- SVG – Similar to an .eps file generated by Adobe Illustrator, an .svg file is a high res, vector format that is compatible for both print and web.
- *JPEG – The only reason I have .jpeg on this list is because if you are working with a technically savvy marketing agency, their design personnel should be able to make this work IF it is a last resort and/or all that you have on hand. This will require a bit of extra time and most likely some finesse in some cases, but it can be done.
Imagery & Photography
In an ideal world, you will have invested the time and money into the development of imagery that is representative of your brand. If not, an outline or guide of stock photography can be very helpful to your marketing agency or internal team, but not something you should rely on as customers nowadays can sniff out stock photos and are often turned off by them. At the very least, you should have a mood board or list of example references available.
Oftentimes, illustrations or icons fall into this category as well. The two styles serve a common purpose and provide immense value in their own unique way. Having similar imagery, graphics and content is a great way to build brand consistency.
Believe it or not, not all fonts are created equal (aka they aren’t all free). If you are unaware of the fonts your business uses, a free Google Chrome widget FontFace Ninja allows you to pull the fonts being used on any web page. These will most likely be your brand’s fonts and will help you track them down for your agency. Luckily, the trend of choosing Google-friendly fonts has minimized the margin of error in a lot of these cases!
Your brand’s colour palette is not the biggest deal in the world to have solidified, because nine times out of ten a savvy digital marketing professional will be able to pull those colours from your website through a number of tactics. However, having a simple colour palette handy is always helpful and cuts down the number of unnecessary steps. Ensuring you have a consistent colour scheme is also important in developing a strong brand.
Examples of Past Work
Examples of past work will provide your marketing agency with a benchmark to avoid repeating as well as exceed in their own rite. This is a great opportunity to have an open discussion about the things you liked or disliked about previous work. It’s these brainstorming sessions between the people who know their business/brand the best. Two brains will always be better than one in these cases.
Having examples of past work also helps the marketers you hire understand your brand identity and brand elements that you like to use. This helps them come up with a clear marketing strategy.
It goes without saying that it is our/your agency’s job to worry about these types of things as they may or may not be anywhere near your list of to-do’s. We get it, you’ve got a business to run. You should never hesitate to lean on your partners or marketing agency for help on these matters. We hope this list got you thinking about where you stand in terms of brand assets, how organized they are, how readily available you have them in one place, as well as what branding is and its importance.
If you ever are in the market for a company rebrand and/or development of any of the above brand assets, please do not hesitate to reach out to the team at SmartaStudio and we would be happy to get you in touch with the correct people to make that happen!