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Six Essentials You Need to Include in Your Brand Guide

Brand Guide

If you have never heard of a brand guide, stop everything you’re doing and read this blog all the way through. When most people hear branding or brand, they think of visuals only, but it’s far more than that. It is who your business is perceived to be, the feeling your customer gets when they see your name, and it’s imperative you know what that is and do all you can to control it. Brand guides are your guiding light to ensure your branding stays cohesive and true to who you are. It allows you to convey to your staff, your investors, and your customers that you know exactly who your brand is and that you are experts in your field. It’s that important. Here are six essentials you need to include in your brand guide:

1. Mission Statement

This is usually the first thing that businesses create as part of their business plan, so you probably already have this written. Your mission statement should explain your business’s current purpose in two-to-three very poignant sentences. It should be included in your brand guide as it tells your reader what your company’s current focus and capabilities are. All the company branding should support that focus.

2. Vision Statement

Mission and vision statements are similar and often confused. A mission statement states your current goals and capabilities, whereas a vision statement establishes your goals for the future, i.e. Your company’s vision for the future. How will your company’s product or services affect the world in the future if you continue your path set out in your mission statement? Including a vision keeps your team focused on the future and sets the tone for the rest of the document. It is not a static statement and should be revisited from time-to-time.

3. Target Audience

To create your mission and vision statements, you had to consider your target audience and what you are offering. How can you create a product (solution) for someone you do not understand? Your target audience’s demographics, behaviours, pain points, and psychographics should be included in your brand guide. Simply put: How old is your target market? What do you know about that age group? What do they do for a living? How do they make their purchase decisions? What problems do they have with their current solution and how can you help them? How will you reach them? Are they on social media or do they read journal articles? It helps to find a few ideal customers who you already have or to imagine an ideal customer. A general idea of your target market is good, but a few specific personas will really give your staff insights into who they’re talking to and how best to help them.

4. Personality

Your brand is its own entity. It has its own personality, and everyone needs to be clear about what that is. As we said in the beginning, your brand is a perception by your customers. It’s something that you cannot fully control, but you must establish ground rules to put what you want to be known for out there. You can do this by simply defining your brand personality in descriptive words. Are you a company who wants to be known for its high-end suits? Perhaps your adjectives could be elegant, sophisticated, simple yet elevated, respectful, polite, calm. Are you a childcare company who wants to be known for high standards of care? Perhaps your adjectives could be educated, fun, active, healthy, child led learning, professional, kind. These adjectives don’t mean your staff can’t step out of this box, but they give them an idea of what you expect them to convey to the client.

5. Tone of Voice

Tone of voice goes along with personality. Now that we know what our personality is, how does our company talk? If you are elegant and sophisticated, would you share a silly meme? Is there room for that in your branding? If there are certain terms or taglines that you want to be known for then you should include them here. For example, you may not want to say no to a client and instead you want your staff to always say, “May I offer you an alternative.” If your team members should always be known as “crew” then that should be listed here. This way, your staff will know what words they can use to effectively represent your brand.

6. Look and Feel

This is also known as design, but it’s more than that. Design is a tool to give your customer the feeling that you want your company to be known. This section should include logos, logo placement, brand colour palette, fonts (typography), and imagery. This is the most visible part of your branding and its what people will see first and remember most. Therefore, though it is incredibly important, it is number six for order of creation. Your design must represent all of items one through five and must not be done before they are established so you can be sure you understand the messaging you are sending out into the world before you create it visually.

  • Logo placement should show examples of how your logo should be used and not used. Be as detailed as you can. Where can your logo be on a poster or on a social media post?
  • Fonts (typography) should give examples of different fonts across platforms and where they should be used in documentation and imagery to keep a cohesive look.  
  • Colour palette: These should list HEX/ RGB Codes for digital media and CMYK for print.
  • Imagery: Acceptable images should be described and shown as examples. Also define what is not acceptable. Establish the goals and how you want these images to make your customers feel.

Post Press

Like all things in business, stay agile and revisit what is working for your business. Don’t be afraid to ask your employees (your primary customers) what their first impressions are and involve them in your evaluations. Your brand guide will help each of your stakeholders understand who you want your brand to be and how to ensure it is known for those things. Involving your employees will allow you to see if your plan is working or needs a refresh.

A brand guide eliminates guess work when you need something sent to a contractor or to your friendly neighbourhood printer. Your printer will have far less questions and it will expediate the process as everyone will have a solid understanding of what you want to say with your branding. We love brand guides at Minuteman Press Calgary Shepard. We also love you too, so we want you to succeed. We are experts in design and branding and we are happy to help. Contact us for a consultation today because We Design. We Print. You Profit.

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How Giving Back Will Grow Your Business

Giving Back

If you’re here reading our blogs, you’re likely a small business, just like us. Our main source of income comes from our local community and we’re willing to bet that yours does too. When we support our community, they support us. It’s a symbiotic relationship and if you have not explored this option, you need to read on. Here are three ways giving back will grow your business:

 1. Brand Awareness

Let’s face it, everyone can use some positive publicity. Partnering with a local sports team or reputable charity that matches with your brand’s values can do wonders for brand awareness. This is yet another touchpoint where you can reach your customers. You’d be hard-pressed to find a Canadian parent who hasn’t had their child in a custom uniform with the words “Timbit” printed across the back. Does this make you think fondly about Tim Hortons? Your brand may not be as well-known as Tim Hortons, so if the first time your prospective customer sees your logo or name gives them a positive feeling, the more likely they will be to want to come and support your business. It takes time to build awareness of your company, so anything helps.
Things to consider when giving back:

  • Does this charity or cause match my brand values? Does this charity or cause make sense to partner with? It’s a good idea to think of giving back as a partnership. If you are a pet supply store, it would make sense for you to donate to a rescue shelter.
  • Is this charity or cause of reputable standing? It will reflect poorly on you if you do not do your due diligence and ensure the charity you are supporting is not under investigation for fraud and they do what they claim to do. Take a tour and ensure your donation is going to somewhere you care about.

2. Your Internal and External Customers Will Boast About You

Your first customers are your employees. They’re your most powerful supporters and when their company supports something good, they can’t wait to share it with the world. They will then be more passionate when speaking to your customers and your customers will feel that fire. By giving back, you empower your employees to be passionate about their place of work. Joy and passion are contagious. You’ll have less turnover if your employees feel committed to the great things your company is doing. Employee turnover is expensive when you consider training time, training materials, and the inefficiency of a new employee’s learning curve. Keeping morale high is good business sense.

How many times have you talked to an employee in a store and asked them for their truthful opinion of their company? Their answer is everything. If they’re silent, you wonder if it’s a bad company to work for and maybe you shouldn’t support them. If they start telling you all about the great things their company does for the community, you are far more interested in investing your hard-earned money with that company.

3. It’s Just Good

Giving back feels good. It is the act of gratitude and gratitude creates joy. This one is more psychological than even that last one. When you feel good, everyone around you feels good and they want to be around you. Supporting your community or a cause you care deeply about connects your business to something larger than yourself. Humans are wired for connection and especially at a time of social disconnection, anything you can do to build a sense of community around your brand with only boost business.

Tips to let people know what you’re doing

  • Add a charitable contribution/ corporate social responsibility page on your website listing the causes you support with links to their websites.
  • Create social media posts and tag the organization you’re supporting. For example, if you donate your employees’ time as well as financially, get them to take photos of them at the organization. With guidance, this can be done from their personal accounts to engage their personal connections as well as the business audience.
  • Share the organization’s campaign information when they post it.
  • Use your print and digital advertisements to offer a discount/ incentive for anyone who shows a donation receipt.


Giving back is both personally and professionally beneficial. When you choose the right organization to donate your time or money, both organizations succeed. Minuteman Press Calgary Shepard is a firm believer in supporting local and we are eternally grateful for our community. Giving back does not only mean charitable organizations. It also means supporting our local businesses as well. If you are looking for a local business to support or need support yourself, head to Bounce Back Canada. We are here for you because We Design. We Print. You Profit. Contact us today to support our local business with your next print or design job.

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Show Your Prospects, Customers and Employees Some Love with These Seven Swag Items


The weather is getting warm, and we are all getting into our summer, feel-good moods. Prepare for the inevitable urge to spread some love around by getting some branded swag. Your prospects, customers and employees will appreciate the thought you have put into their needs. Swag has an ulterior motivation as well. We also want your business to get your name out there. Always remember that if it’s functional then it will be used daily. The more an item can be used, the more likely your name will come up in conversation and lead to sales. Here are our top seven swag suggestions to offer your customers and employees.

1. Social Distancing Supplies

We know that everyone and their Aunt Sally are making masks, but have you noticed that it’s become a fashion trend? Latch onto that trend and allow your employees and customers to express themselves with your brand. The public will not even have to ask, “Where did you get that mask?” because it will be written on their face. Get your brand on this fashion runway called life!

2. Clothing

Well-constructed, branded apparel gets worn. Help your clients and customers look good while representing your brand. The more stylish the garment, the more likely it will be worn in public and that your name will be shared with the world. Choose something like a hoodie or a fashionable t-shirt.

3. Pens

People love pens. Pens are inexpensive to produce and very functional – even in the digital age. Who doesn’t look around their office or home and search for a pen to write that note while they’re talking on their phone? Give them a few extras. That way, when they reach to find that pen they’ve been searching for, they will see your name and remember you.

4. Notepads & Calendars

Where there are pens, there must also be notepads to write on! Notepads can be given with your branded pens or on their own. Print a to-do list with a magnet added to the back so it can be placed on a fridge or filing cabinet.
No one wants to buy a calendar, but we all need one. Ease your employees or your customer’s minds and offer them a branded calendar as a gift. You are giving them one less thing they need to purchase and leaving them a daily reminder of your company.

5. Stickers

Fun stickers are always a great swag giveaway. Stickers are especially popular with children. Parents love it when their children are offered something in a store, especially a store where children may not be engaged. It makes them feel welcomed instead of an inconvenience. It also distracts the children so they can allow their parent to shop in your store and make a purchase.

6. Hot & Cold Beverage Containers

Give the gift of hydration! A tumbler or coffee/ tea mug is the perfect ‘just because’ gift for anyone. When it is branded, each sip reminds them of you and the great times you have shared together. Positive affect is the best feature of this swag item.

7. Custom Gifts

Your employees move mountains for you and your company. As a small business, your staff is more like family than employees. Giving them a personalized gift will make them feel special, valued, and show that you are loyal to them. Custom gifts are also appropriate to thank a long-term customer for their business or a customer who made a large order.


So, what are you waiting for? Get on choosing the swag that will make your special someone(s) feel loved and keep your business in their hearts and minds. There are so many ways you can use print, so get creative. We can help you choose the right swag to keep your business top of mind with your customers while showing them some love. Let us help you because here at Minuteman Press Calgary Shepard We Design. We Print. You Profit.