Erica Garman VP of Marketing

Erica Garman, VP of marketing at Intero Digital, is an experienced marketing strategist with over 12 years of experience in digital marketing. Erica has a passion for helping brands build meaningful connections with their audiences. With a deep understanding of consumer behavior and trends, she specializes in developing integrated marketing campaigns that leverage both traditional and digital channels for maximum impact.

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content writing brand voice

How to Create Brand Guidelines for a Consistent Digital Experience

How to Create Brand Guidelines for a Consistent Digital Experience

Erica Garman, Vice President of Marketing • Intero Digital • November 30, 2023

content writing brand voice

The purpose of brand guidelines is to establish a foundation for how your brand will present itself across all touchpoints. How will it look on digital channels? How will it act offline? How will its representatives treat customers and each other? 

What do brand guidelines include? What goes into brand guidelines typically involves elements such as mission, vision, values, voice and tone, logo usage, color palette, typography, and imagery. They offer anyone who needs it a “dos” and “don’ts” framework for maintaining brand consistency and cohesion.

Creating brand guidelines provides the scaffolding for a consistent, clear brand story. They help the outside world understand and engage with your digital content. That’s the goal.

How Do Digital Brand Guidelines Help You Connect to Today’s Audience?

Many of your brand guidelines will be digital ones. We live in an increasingly omni-channel marketplace, so your brand has to communicate across many diverse platforms and speak to people who are constantly strapped for time. Fortunately, telling a clear story across channels can help.

Digital brand guidelines will take the lead on elements like your website, social media platforms, email marketing, and mobile apps. They will tell your team how to design landing pages that instantly express the core of your brand’s purpose. Digital brand guidelines describe how to create emails that authentically deliver your brand to people’s inboxes. They shape content creation to ensure it sustains a consistent tone and invites engagement (in ways that only your brand would). Digital brand guidelines reinforce (and are reinforced by) your brand’s physical presence.

Understanding your target audience will play a crucial role in shaping the parameters of your brand guidelines. These guidelines serve as a bridge between your brand’s identity and the expectations, preferences, and behaviors of your target audience. The more you know, the better you will be able to adjust your brand’s style and approach to suit those prospects.

What’s more, if people see that your brand has a genuine, authentic, and consistent persona across channels, they will learn to trust it. Your digital brand guidelines will foster deeper connection, loyalty, and engagement.

6 Questions to Ask When Creating Brand Guidelines

You might be just beginning to think about developing written and visual content. Or maybe you have been creating content for decades but have realized you’re in somewhat of a brand rut. Either way, forming and reforming your guidelines can help get your story straight (for yourself and your audience). Here are some considerations for what to include in brand guidelines:

1. How do I look?

Assessing your existing visual identity will help you determine what’s missing and what’s needed. Do the visual elements of your brand feel loud? Optimistic? Clear? Confusing? Do they provide a consistent mood that can accompany your brand wherever it travels? Think about your audience, too. Different demographics may respond better to specific colors, imagery, and design styles. For example, a brand targeting young, creative professionals might prioritize vibrant colors and modern shapes to make this demographic feel at home.

2. How do I sound?

Again, assess what’s already happening. What is the voice of your brand? What kinds of words do you use and not use? Do you joke, quip, or have a laugh? Are you more serious, a trusted source? Messaging and tone of voice decisions will also depend on your target audience’s preferences. What kind of communication do they value? If, for example, your audience is tech-savvy and informal, your guidelines might encourage a conversational, relaxed tone.

To find your brand’s unique writing voice, start by taking our interactive quiz: What Is Your Brand Writing Voice?

3. What am I choosing?

Your preferences tell a story and should be part of your digital brand guidelines. Ideally, you will choose channels and content types that suit your brand values. In turn, your audience’s content preferences and habits will shape your choices. If your audience prefers long-form articles, your guidelines may emphasize detailed and informative content. If they prefer video content, your guidelines might encourage the use of video storytelling.

4. Am I telling a clear, consistent story?

Clarity is vital when writing a set of guidelines because the purpose of this resource is to clarify how your brand appears and sounds to the outside world. Send mixed messages here and you’ll end up portraying a mixed-up brand identity. Help writers and designers understand which choices align with your brand and which do not. Consistency follows from clarity. Once you know what you stand for, how you look, and how you sound, you can maintain this voice in all aspects of your brand’s communication, both written and visual. Both clarity and consistency are essential for building a recognizable and trustworthy brand.

5. Are my brand guidelines both specific and universal?

Different contexts will require different versions of your brand to show up. A guest post will require the friendly, informative, quintessential version of your brand. A TikTok reel will require the human, fallible side of your brand. So while your core brand elements should sustain across channels, helping audiences to identify you, you may need context-specific guidelines for certain scenarios. Pick out these arenas and spend some extra time specifying the guidelines.

6. Am I helping?

The important thing about brand guidelines is that they’re helping the people whose responsibility it is to represent your brand. Are your guidelines actually offering guidance? Are they clear, efficient, and helpful enough? Great guidelines streamline the content-creation process. They provide writers and designers with a set of rules and best practices, reducing the need for guesswork and revisions.

These are some of the most important questions to consider as you build a set of brand guidelines to conjure with. As your brand evolves, these digital brand guidelines will evolve in turn. They may even help you decide how you want your brand to change in the future.

Want to make your brand stand out in a crowded market?

Erica Garman VP of Marketing

Erica Garman, VP of marketing at Intero Digital, is an experienced marketing strategist with over 12 years of experience in digital marketing. Erica has a passion for helping brands build meaningful connections with their audiences. With a deep understanding of consumer behavior and trends, she specializes in developing integrated marketing campaigns that leverage both traditional and digital channels for maximum impact.