What’s the wrong way to build a brand guide?


When it comes to building a strong brand, one of the staple elements for many agencies is to develop a “Brand bible” for clients. Ideally, these books tell people in the organization how to create a unified brand tone of voice. From the CEO giving a talk to shareholders to a marketing exec creating an email blast, the brand bible may outline the many themes and messages the brand needs to address.

Agency Guide building brands how to

However, not all brand bibles do what they should.  In fact, one might even question their value in some cases.

John Bottom at Base One, had this to say in a recent blog post:

The problem I have with these documents is that many of them then lazily go on to suggest examples of the style of English you should use. Happily patronising the reader within an inch of his or her life, these guides make the same sweeping generalisations about writing style which are at best misleading and restrictive, at worst, simply wrong.

Making it sound real

Bottom presents several tips for making Brand Bibles what they truly should be: a way to help a brand reinforce its differences.

He goes on to point out the problems with typical brand bible recommendations. In fact, he goes so far as to tell you:

1. Jargon is OK. (If you know when to use it).

2. Using big words is OK, too. (If you want to sound eloquent and educated).

3. Long sentences are not always the wrong approach. (Especially if short ones will make you sound like a rapid fire machine gun.)

4. Passive voice is OK. (If you think  it fits the tone and mood you want to create.

What does your brand have to say?

Read Bottom’s Post on the Base One blog here.


5 Responses to “What’s the wrong way to build a brand guide?”

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