Digital marketing is opening the doors to reach more clients than ever via your website, online ads and social media. The catch is, trying to keep up with your many profiles and working with virtual or third party vendors can quickly make a mess of things. If there are 50 different versions of your logo scattered around the internet, then consistent branding might be the lifeline you need to get organized and attract more business in the coming year.

Marketing guideA Brand Guide (also called a Style Guide or Brand Bible) is a visual representation of what your company is/does and what that looks like to others. Created by a graphic design expert or marketing agency, a Brand Guide sets the rules for how your business is represented online or in person. Depending on the size and scope of your business, your Brand Guide could be one page or a full binder. Regardless, there are a few key elements that all true Brand Guides have in common.

1. Your Story
Start with the story of your business. Talk about your history, vision, important milestones and hopes for the future.

2. Your Logo and Stationary Guidelines
Your logo guide should include the correct use of your logo and your tagline. Make sure to include visual samples of the right and wrong way to use your logo. This can include colors, sizes and different versions that you may have. You will also want a formal business card design, email signature and letterhead to represent your company.

3. Your Color Pallet
A graphic designer will help you create the perfect color pallet. This will be invaluable when you are working with 3rd party artists and designers so they can quickly learn your brand.

4. Your Tone
Content is still king so you will be producing a lot of web copy, ad copy, blogs, articles, reports, etc. You might not be creating all this content on your own but you want it to sound like it all came from one person. The Tone Guide and samples will help you quickly hire and train virtual assistants and copywriters to get the job done.

5. Your Web and Social Media Standards
Make sure all of your social media accounts match your website, logo and overall brand. Create specific tags and #hashtags that represent your company, brand and products. You can also formalize standards to use when engaging with the public via social media.