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I've Got Standards, Baby! How to protect your brand investment

Fries dropped on the ground

I was watching a medical report on the news about the 5-second rule—how long from when you drop food on the floor it is safe to pick it up, dust if off and pop it in your mouth. The reporter interviewed random people on the street and some medical professionals. Each could justify eating something off the ground under certain circumstances. And, many had carefully defined rules governing the time, environment and type of food. Only one person said, “Never! I’ve got standards!” (Oh, sure.)
Standards are also important in branding. When you invest in developing a strong brand, it is important that you protect the health of that brand with standards governing how it is represented, where it appears and who can make the decision about its usage at every touchpoint. You are setting up expectations about the brand appearance and experience for your audience. It is essential to maintain consistency and congruency.
In most businesses there are two pods of thinking: those who crave rules, just wanting to know the parameters in which they should operate, and those who only want to know the boundaries so they can find the weak point to break through them. So, developing a comprehensive brand usage guide is a priority. It should be a living document, revisited and revised, as new media or opportunities present themselves.
Here are some tips for developing brand standards. The complexity of your guidelines will depend on the size of your company and activities in which you engage.

Make sure you have your own “5-second rule” to keep your brand fresh and desirable.

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I've Got to Be Me: Copycatting is for cowards

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