Double your engagement rate. Increase your email database by 40%. And an old faithful—make it go viral! We all have lofty goals for our brands, and should never shy away from them, but they’re only possible when you and your team have the necessary tools needed to extend your brand strategically.
If you’re laying the groundwork for brand growth you’ll need to take the time to produce a Brand Toolkit.
What is this Brand Toolkit that you talk of?
A Brand Toolkit is your communication playbook. It includes principles and guidelines to ensure your brand is showing up holistically across channels. However, a Brand Toolkit is not meant to offer only one way of doing things. It’s not about rules and structures—it’s about thoughtful guiding components that allow your brand to extend naturally.
We should also quickly mention that a Brand Toolkit is not to be mistaken for a Brand Book. A Brand Toolkit includes clearly defined executable tactics, whereas a Brand Book includes higher-level declarations such as your brand mission, purpose and values.
Choosing the right tools
What goes into a Brand Toolkit? There’s no one-size-fits-all as so much depends on a brand’s individual needs—but there are two main elements you’ll always want as a foundation.
First impressions matter
The first element of a Brand Toolkit is your Brand Identity. This includes your logo, typography and colour palette. From large-and-in-charge billboards to small-but-mighty social media posts, staying true to your brand identity across all assets—no matter the size or channel—will do wonders for both brand growth and brand recall.
One area of distinction worth mentioning is the difference between Brand Identity and Campaign Identity. You can have various campaign identities that live under your master brand identity. Arc’teryx’s Used Gear program, for example, is an initiative that deserved its own campaign identity. Using Arc’teryx’s overarching brand identity as a jumping-off point, we created a distinct visual identity for the Used Gear program with a bespoke logo, graphic shapes and typographic treatment. It’s unique but it’s still neatly part of the Arc’teryx brand.
How you sound and how you look are equally important
The second element of a Brand Toolkit is your Brand Voice, usually outlined in a Brand Voice Guide. This vital tool outlines your key brand personality traits and shows them in practice, helping to define your brand’s distinct tone, vernacular and pacing. By defining your voice, you are creating a consistent experience that leads to familiarity, credibility and trust. Your voice, along with your brand identity, creates a cohesive image of who you are.
Other common elements found in a Brand Toolkit
Once you’ve aligned and finalized your Brand Identity and Brand Voice—it’s time to put those tools to work. Extending your brand to a wider network is often supported by a second level of deliverables found in a Brand Toolkit. These elements may include more specific guidelines around how you show up on social media, the types of influencers you work with, your point of purchase experience, as well as how you engage with the community—just to name a few. Such tactical guidelines further support your efforts in amplifying your brand message.
If you’re looking for a sign, this is it
There are two quick gut checks to help determine if your brand is in need of a new or refreshed Brand Toolkit:
Do an asset review
Take a look at a selection of assets across your marketing channels and ask yourself: Are the fonts consistent? Is the logo treatment the same? Does the tone or vernacular change? Do they evoke the same feeling?
Ask a friend
Reach out to a few team members or trusted customers and ask them the following: If [your brand] was a person, how would someone describe them after meeting them at a party?
If the results for either are confusing or inconsistent—then it’s time for an upgrade.
Whether you’re just getting your brand off the ground or are part of a well-established organization, having the right tools to ensure your brand shows up in a reliable way is imperative. A Brand Toolkit will not only allow your brand to flourish organically, it will give your team the confidence and autonomy to double down on your marketing efforts.