Clear and professional presentation of your company’s brand gives you that marketing edge over your competitors.
What constitutes branding? A logo? Color palette? A mission statement? To many, branding begins and ends with placing a logo image on a slide.
Nothing more suicidal than putting your logo in an otherwise shabby inconsistent presentation deck. Hopefully, this is where using a PowerPoint Style Guide will save your brand image.
While professionals are sold out on the importance of a style guide, many feel that using one is extremely cumbersome. Some are not even aware of a document such as this. So, marketing departments are not only working hard towards establishing a brand identity but are also acting as “Style Guide Evangelists” within their company.
As marketers, we are constantly on a lookout to make sure the best of our brand is out there for the world to see. So, at every point, it becomes imperative to urge everyone creating presentations to make sure they follow the PowerPoint style guides. Oh…and style guides can get cumbersome and long and hard to work with. That’s the primary reason executives tend to run the opposite direction when confronted with one.
Perils of not using style guide
- Collaterals that look like a Christmas tree: Imagine every employee giving free rein to their imagination when designing a C-Level presentation. Myriad colors, fonts of all sizes and shapes, icons all over the slides...ultimate chaos?
- Breakdown of your brand identity: Consumers, over a period, associate certain aspects of your brand, probably the logo or the font or even colors from your logo. Online or offline content, if it doesn’t connect back to your brand then it is a marketing failure.
- Longer knowledge transition time: When a designer takes over from another or joins an existing design team, in the absence a style guide, it is a humungous task to train/transition every little aspect of your style.
- Creativity unleashed (sometimes…the wrong way?): Designers like to have a free reign to bring out the best in them. But a good designer is also the one that helps make a connection with the brand he is working for. In the absence of or when not using a style guide, the designer might have given his/her creative best but consumers might still not connect it back to your brand.
- Loss of credibility with customers and clients: Professionalism and authenticity come from a consistent approach with every touch point your company has with a client. In the absence of consistent visual connection, you run the risk of jeopardizing your brand’s identity.
Why doesn’t everyone use it:
- Lack of understanding about the importance of a style guide.
- Lack of best practices/how-tos about the right usage of a style guide.
- Style guides, often, go on for pages. It is cumbersome. Period.
- Thinking up the core content for the presentation takes a lot of time by itself. Formatting and making sure the design adheres to the style guide then becomes an extra job!
But here’s why you should start using it:
- Maintain consistency across all collaterals and documents
- Helps retain and enhance brand identity with consumers
- Maintain a universal code of standards on all the social media platforms
- A style guide gives your brand a personality of its own
Brand building is now a crucial part of every company’s marketing plan. A clear branding strategy communicates your company’s unique value proposition to prospective customers. Creating a PowerPoint style guide and encouraging your colleagues to use it would be the first step towards forming a consistent brand identity. Create a checklist or a cheat sheet if needed. Conduct short sessions or stand up meetings to reiterate the importance of using the style guide. A periodic review of content/presentations to check for style guide adherence would be of great help too. The message to be conveyed is “Style guides are here to stay…and adapting them is one of the key factors for the success of your company brand."