This month’s biz-lady feature has been lovingly crafted by Virtual Virtuoso, Hollie Barac. Organised, creative and always looking to help others move forward in their business, Hollie has a natural knack for translating her clients’ brand message. She shares her tips as to why you NEED branding guidelines (otherwise known as a brand style guide, brand guide or brand bible) for success, particularly when outsourcing.
Enjoy! Rachel x
Why you need brand guidelines (especially when working with a VA)
Have you ever been asked what it is that you do, and you struggle to explain it succinctly? Your elevator pitch is really important, you want to be able to convey your message clearly and concisely. Similarly, you want your brand to do the same when you hire a virtual assistant (VA).
Established brand guidelines can help you find the right VA
With the rise of the digital economy, businesses that are growing and scaling often look to outsource elements of their business. Hiring a VA is a great way to help manage the day-to-day operations of your business, freeing up time for you to focus on things you love – or things that need more of your attention – in your business and personal life. Though you will find there are lots of VAs offering the same or similar services, finding the one that resonates with you and your brand is crucial. You want this person to assimilate and become part of your brand. Clear brand guidelines can be a big help when hiring and outsourcing.
When it comes down to working for you and your business, a virtual assistant is no different to a physical employee. This person should be vetted to ensure they align with your values, your ethos and your principles. Of course, the main difference between a virtual and physical employee is that a virtual employee may not be in the same location as your business. Having a strong brand message and guidelines – this includes your visual branding – will make things much easier not only for your VA, but for you. It will mean less back and forth, increased productivity, an overall great working relationship and a fabulous experience for your audience.
Before I commence work with a new client, that is almost immediately after I have received their enquiry, I do a bit of social stalking. I look at their website and their social media accounts. I read their copy. I look at their images. I will read and re-read an About page several times to really get an understanding of whom is behind the business, and what the business is about. On my mind while doing this online stalk is: Do I really get a sense of what their offer is, and who their audience is? Can I help them move forward in their business? Will we be a good fit?
How a VA uses brand guidelines in their work
As a VA, businesses with established brand guidelines are much more seamless to work with. They are clear on their audience, their visual branding is on point and their brand message communicates well. I know some of you might be thinking, “I’m a brand-new business. My business hasn’t been around long enough to have established brand guidelines.” Guess what? You absolutely can have established brand guidelines in the early stages of your business. It will help you so much more than you realise.
Established brand guidelines mean you know where you are headed, you have direction and you are focussed. Your business is easily recognised online and on social media. It stands out from the crowd – something that is essential when we get stuck in a scrolling loop (you know the one 😉 ). These guidelines will direct your VA to create and publish marketing collateral, images, graphics, documents and other publications, copy, and so much more that align perfectly with your brand.
Speaking from experience, brand guidelines work
I started my virtual assistant business in December 2018. I know my way around Illustrator enough to whip myself up a logo, so I did. I put together a one-page website because I didn’t need much else, and away I went. But let me tell you this: It wasn’t until I had my full branding package from Rachel (yes, I’m one of Rachel’s clients as well as an online biz buddy!) that I really became clear and certain of my brand message. Having those established guidelines has taken my business to the next level.
My business aside, having worked with businesses who have established brand guidelines in place – be they new or existing – has allowed me to conduct work in a timely and effective manner, resulting in happy clients.
If you haven’t invested in strong, established brand guidelines, I recommend you book a time with Rachel to discuss taking your brand message to the next level.
Virtual Virtuoso and VA Extraordinaire
Find her here:
More about Hollie:
Organised, creative, proactive, dedicated, and always looking to help others move forward in their business, coming back to her roots in administration and customer service was the perfect opportunity to begin Mayday VA.
Hollie has worked in many industries – accounting, banking and finance, I.T., retail, government, and design – but finds helping others the most rewarding. With qualifications in Business Administration, Retail Management, and Micro Business, along with a degree in Urban and Regional Planning, Hollie helps her clients with the overwhelm of the day to day business operations so they can focus on what they love and do best.
Note from Rachel: Come over and join my FREE Facebook group, Branding Lifeline for Biz-Ladies. Created for heart-aligned brands, ready to navigate this business-branding, business-expanding journey together.