In our last post, we talked about three reasons you should think about your brand.
- Lay a solid foundation for new and revamped marketing efforts.
- Keep your marketing coherent.
- Keep quality high as your scale.
When you define your brand, you are able to get everyone on your marketing team working together as a team to produce powerful and effective marketing for your agency.
Now it’s time to begin defining parts of your brand guide. Brand guides can be very long, but even a basic guide can help your independent insurance agency’s marketing efforts.
Personify Your Brand
The primary reason to make your brand guide is to keep your marketing consistent. If you don’t already have multiple people writing your marketing material, you are likely to in the future – but all of your marketing needs to sound like it was written by one person.
A good way to start thinking about your branding is to take this concept very literally: If your brand were a person, what would it be like? Here are a few questions you might want to ask yourself:
- Is your brand a man or a woman?
- How old is your brand?
- What kind of car does your brand drive?
- Where in town does your brand live?
- How old is your brand?
You don’t need to go through this exercise, but questions like these can help you begin thinking about your brand. Although (or maybe because) these questions seem silly, they can help you approach your brand with a clean slate and not get hung up on what you’ve done in the past if you want to go in a new direction.
You want the personified version of your brand to be someone who your customers want to talk to and hear from. You can keep this imaginary person in your head as you make decisions about your brand.
All of your marketing revolves around your name. It is essential that you consistently apply rules about how you refer to your agency. Two common issues you should look at are name abbreviations/acronyms and “article” usage.
- Article usage: Are you “The Jones Insurance Agency,” or just “Jones Insurance Agency?”
- Abbreviation: If you like using a shortened version of your agency’s name, when is it okay to use “JIA” instead of “Jones Insurance Agency?”
Although decisions like these might seem easy to make, they are very important.
Grammar and Writing Style
Grammar might not be exciting, but you need to make sure you consistently apply grammar rules throughout your marketing. Grammar errors and inconsistencies will make your marketing look unprofessional and will reflect poorly on your agency.
Fortunately, there are plenty of good style guides out there. Two of the most used are The Associated Press Stylebook and The Chicago Manual of Style. Pick one, buy a couple copies for your agency, and make sure whoever is working on your marketing follows the guide you chose.
Pick a few colors to be used in your brand. You should pick a couple that are your primary brand colors and one or two colors that should be used for accents. When you pick these colors, make sure they all work well together. Choose these colors carefully because they are going to be all over your marketing materials.
Decide on CMYK (the color system for print) and RGB (the color system for screen) values for the colors you have selected, and test the CMYK colors on paper and RGB on different screens to make sure they look like you expected in different environments.
Defining some rules about how to use your logo will help your designers. Here are three logo usage issues you should think about:
- Does there need to be a required “buffer” space around the logo?
- What is the minimum size the logo can be reproduced?
- What is a black and white version of the logo when your standard colors aren’t available or if they aren’t practical?
You need to make sure you standardize use of your logo to make sure it is always clear and easy to recognize.
This was just a brief guide to help you begin to think about defining your brand. Even a little work can go a long way. If you want more help defining your brand and revamping your marketing or starting new marketing programs, fill out this quick form and we will be in touch.