Do I Need a Brand Guide?

What is a brand guide?

A brand guide (also called brand standards) is a document created to do just that, guide your brand. Brand guidelines are a tool designed to strengthen your brand identity through consistency. They ensure correct usage of all branding elements like logos, icons, colors, fonts and photography.

They are used as a reference and a rulebook that explains how your company should be presented to the world. It contains the “do’s and don’ts” to keep your brand on track.

They have the ability to be very basic (1 page) or very specific depending on client needs. Some include mission, vision, and emotional structures to guide the verbal tones along with the visual (for example, “creative”, “fun” or “bold”).

It is a guide that everyone in a company can use to understand how to represent their brand correctly and create a united, cohesive appearance that in turn adds value to your brand.

Why do you need one?

Brand Recognition – Your brand is how the world recognizes you. It is what builds trust in your clients.

Brand Consistency – Inconsistency will confuse clients, give your brand a low quality association and is a MAJOR turn off.

Brand Value – Following a guide will allow your brand to appear more professional and reliable. It will give your brand the power to level up in your industry.

Established Tool – You work hard on your brand, don’t let it go to waste! Provide all employees and designers with the tools to keep your brand a success with a strict brand guide.

Whether your brand is new or established, it is never too late to create a guide and gain that strength.

Click here to view Big Bunny Creative’s brand guide as an example and click through below to see some recognizable brand guides.

Shazam Brand Guide
Starbucks Brand Guide

Feeling sold? We are ready to support your brand goals! Contact us to get started on creating a stronger brand.


A Designer's Perspective on Canva

A STEAMY discussion from a graphic designers’ perspective…

There are lots of opinions going around on this so we thought we would chime in our two cents as professionally trained and experienced designers (not the same thing as being creative).

Canva is a great tool, but it has its place… and its limitations. We use the comparison of using a professional hair colorist vs trying DIY with box dye – some folks can get away with it and their hair looks great, other’s not so much. It is obvious that it was not professionally done, has room for improvement and won’t last in the long run. Most will have to get their box dyed hair corrected by a professional down the road because they will inevitably have issues, even if it looked ok at some point. Most will wish they had just made the investment in professional hair care from the start to avoid all of the problems and damage.

The same goes for designing, a lot of which is now done using Canva. We struggle with this issue DAILY with files we receive from clients. While we are proud of the attempt and love the creative outlet, the long term effects of using Canva for graphic design are just not worth it for a professional brand with a goal to grow.

This software creates files that just won’t work for the purpose intended, artwork that is not print ready or high-resolution, and layouts with LOTS of design flaws. Kerning, widows, white space, margins, bleed, alignment, hierarchy, grids and the rule of thirds – these are all things that only a trained eye can really navigate but that are crucial for maintaining a high quality brand.

Canva is not a vector-based program which means that the artwork it produces does not have a source file (editable file with layers) that can be exported. If you create artwork in Canva, it can ONLY be edited in Canva without a corruption of layers and elements that causes a huge time suck to get it into a useable state down the road. We DO charge for file correction and conversion.

Our least favorite “feature” of Canva? Templates. While this sounds great in theory, keep in mind that everyone has access to the same templates and fonts that you do – it is not unique and they do get overused.

Here is our unsolicited advice:

Canva is OK to use for:
– Artwork with a short life span (what we call quick and dirty) where small design flaws will likely be looked over
– Artwork to be used only digitally that does not require high resolution output (as long as your branding is well established and used correctly in the art)
– Artwork that you don’t mind being highly templated

Do NOT use Canva for:
– Artwork that will have a long shelf life (that needs to be flawless and professionally designed)
– Logo design
– Layout design (brochures, etc)
– Large format printing artwork
– Artwork that you will need someone else to edit or print

In conclusion, there are pros and cons to every DIY in business, but we know the impact a professional design can make for a brand and we want to see our clients succeed!

What are YOUR thoughts on Canva? We want to know!


New Year, Fresh Brand

The new year calls for a brand audit – use the following information and download our free interactive checklist to start strong. Success is yours this year!

Establish a primary logo, brand fonts & colors.
A strong logo is the nucleus of a successful brand. Having a horizontal AND a stacked version ensures that it can be used across all media and is less likely to get altered and create inconsistencies. Establishing and being strict with brand colors and fonts makes it easier for your clients to recognize your brand and increases recall. Following a brand guide increases the value of your business – first impressions are everything!

Present your mission clearly.
Make it fool-proof for your clients to believe they need your product or service. State exactly what it is that you are offering and how it will add value to their lives. Eliminate any chance of second guessing by being transparent and and to the point.

Create a brand voice that relates to your ideal client.
Brand voice is anything put out into the world that represents your brand – text in your website, social media content and marketing materials like flyers and promo are all pieces that need to be cohesive and emulate the same vibe. That vibe needs to be one that your ideal client can relate to and trust. Do some research on your target market and adjust your voice to speak their language.

Engage in social media & the local community.
The more you engage, the more your business will achieve growth. Keep word of mouth positive. DM organic followers on social media to thank them for the support and ask if they have any questions for you – make real connections with people who are already showing interest in your brand. Donate time, products or services to local causes that align with your brand and are important to you. Sponsoring events, offering discounts to service men and women or teachers or volunteering as a team is another way to engage and show you care while generating multiple touch points that bring awareness to your brand.

Show the love to your clients with branded swag.
There is major marketing strength in promotional products. Giving away swag that aligns with your brand in a memorable way will pay for itself when you gain brand ambassadors. Showing appreciation to existing clients with branded items will keep you top of mind for repeat purchases. Get a dream clients’ attention by treating them to something creative and special that makes your brand unforgettable. Promotional products have staying power and generate additional impressions when re-used.

We incorporate promo into ALL of our marketing strategies. Learn more about how to use branded swag to elevate your next campaign HERE.

BE CONSISTENT.
This applies to each of the check points above and to everything you do in marketing. If you are consistent in keeping all of these brand fundamentals in check, it will be easy for clients to find your business, recall your business, develop trust and become brand ambassadors. Your brand value will increase and sales and income will follow.

This short list may seem overwhelming when you start to tackle it, but you do not have to be an expert on everything. Start with a call to Big Bunny and we will guide you on the path to 2023 branding success!


Brands That Give Back

A common theme in promotional products is sustainability – something us industry folks call “eliminating brand-fill”. Meaning the discontinued use of branded promo items that aren’t useful, functional, quality or valuable. Big Bunny Creative promotes the use of items that will be used and not immediately tossed into a landfill (get it? “brand-fill”… clever!).

Another piece to this feel-good chapter in promo is items and brands that give back to the community with every purchase. We have access to several brands that give portions of proceeds or donate assets with every order.

What better way to present your brand than on an item that recipients will keep (impressions, yay!) and that will give them warm-fuzzies over the impact it made on the community.

Here, we list 5 of our favorite give-back initiatives from brands in our industry.

tentree
Cotopaxi
Basecamp
American Giant
Welly

Would any of these align with your brand’s mission? DM us to learn more and to see your brand in a virtual mockup!


5 Reasons to Invest in Branded Apparel

Branded apparel and wearables are one of the most powerful promotional products when done correctly. Wether you use it as a team building tool, employee identification, giveaway, or passive income, branded apparel adds so much value to businesses ready to invest.

BRAND QUALITY – Convey professionalism through a cohesive appearance. Invest in higher end garments to build trust and credibility in your brand. Bonus points for using our sustainable apparel partners!

BRAND AWARENESS – Increase recognition, impressions AND reach with each garment. Use pieces constructed of comfy, tailored materials people WANT to wear. You will NOT get repeat impressions with poor quality, uncomfortable garments. (This has an effect on the outcome of print processes as well.)

BRAND RECALL – The more someone sees your logo, the more memorable it becomes. Use apparel to increase this recall so that your brand is fresh in everyone’s mind when it comes time to call on the product or service you provide.

BRAND LOYALTY – Create a sense of community and corporate culture with garments that represent team, unity, and relationships. Gifting an experience to your clients through apparel will keep you top of mind for their next purchase. Encourage referrals and organic content by creating ambassadors who are proud to show off your brand.

BRAND DIFFERENTIATION – Make your brand memorable. Use professional designs and unique decoration locations and techniques to create fashion forward and more upscale pieces. Remember, how you market yourself is a direct reflection of how you want people to perceive your brand. Don’t be basic! Apparel is an easy way to try something new.

COST EFFECTIVE TIP: Use this design across multiple promotional products to create a branded experience for a cohesive campaign.

Ready to grow your brand simply using apparel? Contact us to see curated pieces with pricing and free virtual mockups with your logo!


5 Reasons to Invest in Branded Gifts

We all know the story… you have time to plan for gift giving during the holidays… then it is suddenly December and you and your brand are SOL – no inventory is left of the items you want and production time is high, leaving your clients and employees gift-less. Not cute!

We suggest to start planning your holiday gift strategy NOW. Let’s get creative, make an impact and end your marketing year with a memorable branded experience!

Whether you give to your top five employees or everyone on your client list, branded holiday gifts add value in several ways:

  1. Create loyal clients and employees – gifts make someone feel appreciated and special.
  2. Gain organic brand ambassadors and user generated content by encouraging social media unboxings.
  3. Increase referrals and future business by gifting a functional conversation piece.
  4. Ensure brand recall with a positive and memorable gift experience.
  5. Win additional impressions with curated items and custom designs that get used, not tossed.

Now you know WHY you need to include holiday gifts in your marketing strategy. Here’s HOW – access our top ten gift ideas for 2022. Implement our strategies and watch your brand value increase when you leverage branded merch items during the holidays!


Energize Your Oil & Gas Brand

In Houston and all around the US, the energy and oil/gas industries are experiencing growth. We help our industry clients attract and retain quality employees and look the part to gain trust during sales. We help them stay safe in the field, remain relevant and grow strong brands in a technical and complicated industry.

How?
-Onboarding items
-Apparel and uniforming
-Team building merch
-Safety gear
-Signage
-Event space design
-Conference and training gifts
-Event swag
-Client appreciation gifts
-Awards and recognition items

What about a company store?
We gotchu! From uniforming and required company apparel to fun swag items gifted through a points reward system, these web based platforms streamline corporate buying for branded products. They keep sizing and quantities in one place and provide inventory feedback along with reports and fundraising. Ask us for more details if you think a company store might be a good fit for your brand!

Big Bunny Creative supports our inside marketing teams with resources to maintain consistent branding and to streamline processes. We create unique and memorable branding experiences that make sense for the energy industry. Are you ready to energize your brand?!


Holiday Prep for Your Brand

Are you ready for gifting season?
The holidays are a busy time for family and work – eliminate stress by ordering your branded holiday gifts NOW. Stay on the nice list, beat the rush and avoid any inventory and shipping issues with our simple guide below.

 

Step 1
Set up a call – let us curate items for you to choose from that align with your brand (and your budget). We list our Top 10 Gift Items for 2022 HERE.

 

Step 2
Order EARLY. Like now. This is your sign to get the conversation started with us to ensure your items arrive before the big day (remember – the world is experiencing a supply chain disruption and promotional products are no exception!). Our target date for you to finalize your branded gift selection is MONDAY, OCTOBER 3rd!

 

Step 3
Bundle items with consistent imprint designs to create memorable gift experiences. We suggest adding in fun apparel pieces to your gifts as well as locally sourced goodies (for example, a bag of local coffee beans included with your branded mug!).

 

Step 4
Consider packaging add-ons. Increase branding impact with quality packaging. From gift bags and tissue paper to belly bands and full custom boxes, we provide options that complete the look and enhance presentation.

 

Step 5
Don’t forget the stationery. Reinforce the perception of a high quality brand with matching branded stationery. As designers, we keep the look cohesive and within brand standards. A custom note goes a LONG way!

 

Step 6
Schedule for fulfillment. Beyond collecting addresses and making a trip to the post office or in-person delivery, include time for packing the gifts up nicely and securely. Don’t have the time to commit? We provide this service, custom priced per project!

 

Ready to make this holiday season a streamlined success for your brand? Contact us to get started!

 

Not sure holiday gifts are a good fit for your brand?
Click here to find out why we suggest investing!


Summer Branding Favorites

The Summer months are coming in HOT with events and marketing opportunities – is your brand ready?

We curated a shop of our top 10 Summer favorite branding pieces. All of our suggested items follow our guidelines for successful promo and increase ROI across so many industries.

  • Functional
  • Visible (Impressions!)
  • Quality
  • Aligned
  • Memorable

Want to grow your business this season? Contact us to learn more, get free virtual mockups and turn up the heat for your brand!

NEW: Shop direct from our website! Ready to take the plunge? Now you can browse items, see details and pricing, select quantities and start the branding process all in one shop. Click here to try it out!


Strong Brand Checklist

When was your last brand audit? Download our free interactive checklist to check in, evaluate what’s working and where to focus your efforts.

So, what elements make up a strong brand? Here are 6 key areas we suggest you regularly evaluate to keep your brand relevant and fresh!

1. Establish a primary logo, fonts & colors.
A strong logo is the nucleus of a successful brand. Having a horizontal AND a stacked version ensures that it can be used across all media and is less likely to get altered and create inconsistencies. Establishing and being strict with brand colors and fonts makes it easier for your clients to recognize your brand and increases recall. Following a brand guide increases the value of your business – first impressions are everything!

2. Present your mission clearly.
Make it fool-proof for your clients to believe they need your product or service. State exactly what it is that you are offering and how it will add value to their lives. Eliminate any chance of second guessing by being transparent and and to the point.

3. Create a brand voice that relates to your ideal client.
Brand voice is anything put out into the world that represents your brand – text in your website, social media content and marketing materials like flyers and promo are all pieces that need to be cohesive and emulate the same vibe. That vibe needs to be one that your ideal client can relate to and trust. Do some research on your target market and adjust your voice to speak their language.

4. Engage in social media & the local community.
The more you engage, the more your business will achieve growth. Keep word of mouth positive. DM organic followers on social media to thank them for the support and ask if they have any questions for you – make real connections with people who are already showing interest in your brand. Donate time, products or services to local causes that align with your brand and are important to you. Sponsoring events, offering discounts to service men and women or teachers or volunteering as a team is another way to engage and show you care while generating multiple touch points that bring awareness to your brand.

5. Show the love to your clients with branded swag.
There is major marketing strength in promotional products. Giving away merch that aligns with your brand in a memorable way will pay for itself when you gain organic ambassadors. Showing appreciation to existing clients with branded swag will keep you top of mind for repeat purchases. Get a dream clients’ attention by treating them to something creative and special that makes you unforgettable. Promotional products have staying power and generate additional impressions when re-used.

We incorporate promo into ALL of our marketing strategies. Learn more about how to use branded swag to elevate your next campaign HERE.

6. BE CONSISTENT.
This applies to each of the check points above and to everything you do in marketing. If you are consistent in keeping all of these brand fundamentals in check, it will be easy for clients to find your business, recall your business, develop trust and become brand ambassadors. Your brand value will increase and sales and income will follow.

With this printable checklist and Big Bunny Creative on speed-dial, your brand will be in tip-top shape!

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