Person updating their existing brand after going through the brand building process

Brand Building Next Steps for Established Brands

Justin Lynch
Justin Lynch

Creative Director

You’ve gone through the brand building process. Now what?

Congrats! You’ve successfully gone through the brand building process and re-established the foundation of your brand.

So, what now?

You may have noticed some brand elements don’t align with the new vision of your brand. Don’t worry. It’s perfectly normal, and a great indicator that your brand has room for growth.

Now it’s time to start revising your brand. While the brand building process is essential, it’s worthless without implementation.

Update Brand Guidelines

To keep everything on track during the brand revision process you need a point of reference. This what many refer to as your brand guidelines or style guide.

Your brand guidelines define all the elements of your brand. Whether it’s your logo, color palette, or the tone of your brand, you must document it. Doing so ensures consistency as you continue to build your brand.

Luckily, the brand building process helped you gather most of the information you need to create or update your brand guidelines.

As you build out your brand guidelines, here are the elements you need to document:

  • Brand Purpose
  • Brand Mission
  • Logo Usage
  • Color Palette
  • Typography
  • Iconography
  • Photography
  • Web Elements
  • Brand Personality

This may seem a little intimidating at first, but it doesn’t have to be. A simple document created in Microsoft Word or Google Docs will suffice. The important part is that you document everything and have the brand guidelines accessible for all.

Brand Guideline Examples

If you’re looking for examples of brand guidelines, here are some examples (ranging from basic to almost detailed):

BitWallet Brand Guidelines

https://crystalawards.secure-platform.com/a/gallery/rounds/15/details/7362

This is an AMA Houston award-winning design I created while consulting with another agency. It’s not complex but it provides all necessary details for BitWallet to create consistent branded materials.

Netflix Brand Guidelines

https://brand.netflix.com/en/assets/

Netflix decided to create a page on their website for their brand guidelines. It’s very basic, yet still informative. This shows that a simple guide can still be effective.

Skype Brand Guidelines

https://download.skype.com/share/blogskin/press/skype_brandbook.pdf

Skype’s brand guidelines document is definitely unique. It has an informal feel to it (that is still on brand) but it’s detailed on what you can and can’t do with the brand. This is a great example of a more complex guide.

Review Current Marketing Collateral

Now that you have your brand guidelines finished it’s time to review your current branded collateral.

Gather Marketing Collateral

To start, gather all your marketing collateral. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Business cards
  • Letterhead
  • Flyers
  • Digital ads
  • Social media images
  • Website
  • Sales materials

Next, create a spreadsheet so you can easily compare results as you review everything.

Note:

We’ve already created a spreadsheet template you can use for this process. You can access it HERE. (You’ll need to create a copy of the spreadsheet and save it to your Google Drive before you can edit it)

On the left-hand side of the spreadsheet should be the list of all your marketing collateral.

At the top of the spreadsheet put the following statements:

  • The collateral is seen/interacted with all the time by customers
  • The collateral makes a big impact on our customers buying decisions
  • The collateral will be quick and easy to update
  • The collateral will be inexpensive to update and replace

Also, add a column for “Total Score”. This will help you easily see the total score of each material.

Review Collateral

Once the spreadsheet is set up, go down the list of your marketing collateral one by one. As you review the marketing collateral give each statement a rating of 1 – 5 (1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree).

After you’ve ranked each statement look for the highest-rated ones. You can do this by having the spreadsheet sort them for you.

These elements will provide you the best “bang for your buck” and should be the first elements you update.

Build Brand Revision Game Plan

Once you have all your marketing collateral sorted, it’s time to put together a game plan to ensure you take action.

Identify Inconsistencies

Start by analyzing each piece of marketing collateral for inconsistencies. You’re looking for instances where the current design does not match the new brand you want to build.

Examples of where inconsistencies can occur are:

  • Colors
  • Typography
  • Brand voice
  • Value proposition
  • Target customer
  • Not making the customer the focus

If you’re looking for a more in-depth analysis of these inconsistencies, read our 5 Branding Mistakes article.

As you identify these inconsistencies note them down.

Create Action Items

Now it’s time to create a plan to fix each inconsistency.

Start by taking an inconsistency and writing out what actions you will take to fix the issue.

For each action answer the following questions:

  • What needs to be done?
  • Who is responsible for making sure the action item is completed?
  • When does the action item need to be completed?

This will provide you a list of all the actions needed to fix the inconsistency.

Note:

It may be best to hire a branding expert to help you execute your action items. While it may appear cheaper to do all this internally, the time requirements and lack of branding expertise can costs you more in the long run.

Brand Revision Timeline

While it’s amazing to see a business roll out a revised brand overnight, it’s often times unrealistic for most businesses. Instead, batch elements together that make the most sense.

For example, if you’re revising your business card and sales materials you’ll want to do them together. It would look weird for your sales materials to have an old color palette that doesn’t match the color palette of your business card.

Update Your Brand

Now the fun begins — the actual process of updating your brand!

One person in your organization needs to manage this process. While they don’t have to be the one actually performing the action items, they do need to be the visionary for ensuring the brand revision is completed.

We often call these people Brand Managers.

Brand Managers enforce the brand guidelines and work with all team members and vendors to ensure everything is on track.

While it would be great if your Brand Manager has a marketing or design background, it’s not a requirement. They simply need to be able to coordinate multiple projects and keep everyone working towards a common vision.