Richard Curtis, CEO of FutureBrand Australia, Q&A on Importance of Brand Guidelines' Consistency & Flexibility

We spoke with Richard Curtis, CEO of FutureBrand Australia, about the role of brand guidelines – and here’s what he had to say…

What are Brand Guidelines?

Brand guidelines are an essential tool for creating and managing cohesive and compelling brand experiences. After all, a brand is defined by its actions, and therefore by the actions of the hundreds or even thousands of employees who create and deliver products and services for your customers, at each and every point of interaction.

                                                                   Richard Curtis from FutureBrand

                                                                 Richard Curtis from FutureBrand

What’s usually detailed in a Brand Guidelines document?

Guidelines meticulously detail the brand in action – the ins and outs and dos and don’ts, from minimum size to maximum impact. All in the pursuit of a brand that lives and breathes consistency yet embraces flexibility, from one person to another, one day to the next, from ads to apps.

However, they are just that – a tool – and tools like brand guidelines are only ever as good as the people who use them. For all the success of the more creative approaches to brand guidelines, their success relies on not how clever they are but how useful they can be.

What should brand guidelines achieve?

Consequently, building utility into brand guidelines ought to be the ultimate focus for any organisation. It takes time and effort to establish and reinforce, but there are clear steps and structure to ensuring a strategic, integrated and hands-on approach.

Firstly, excite employees about the future growth and potential offered by the brand, its relevance and impact, and their role in helping to create this future for their customers and colleagues.

Next, engage employees to understand the personal relevance of the brand and their practical responsibilities in bringing it to life in their own actions, behaviours and communications.

Then - and only then - equip employees with the tools and training to implement the brand in their every interaction, and in ways that impact everything from the big picture to the little details.

So it is that brand guidelines can play their own part in managing a consistent experience for customers and colleagues alike. But rather than simply provide policies to police, the best brand guidelines - like the best tools - enable people to build, shape and re-create the brand in ways that reinforce the experience for your customers. Every day, in every way.