Creating brand guidelines is a great way to clarify your brand identity and ensure all communications are consistent. We spoke to Lee Scott of Vulcan Watch Straps – creators of uniquely engineered and customisable straps for luxury watches – and found out how to write guidelines that leave a lasting impact.
From the outset, we at Vulcan Watch Straps knew that we wanted to position ourselves within the luxury sector as a company that designs and develops premium rubber straps for Rolex watches.
It was crucial for us to carefully consider the brand’s image during those early stages. This allowed us to create an identity that was in keeping with the product and its target audience.
Moreover, given that one of our key USPs is the customisation function that enables our clients to tailor their straps to suit their own individual styles, we felt it was important that Vulcan also had its own unique tone of voice.
We settled on a voice that’s sophisticated, yet warm; one that always feels like a one-on-one conversation between the brand and the client. It is, as our strapline suggests, “where premium meets personality”.
Ultimately, by writing these brand guidelines we created a document that could be constantly referred to both internally and by external content creators, such as marketing companies and advertisers. It has, undoubtedly, been the easiest way to ensure all communications are on-brand.
When creating an entirely new brand, it’s often simplest to imagine it as a living person.
So, if Vulcan were a person, how would it act? Would it be serious or funny? Would this person be professional and knowledgeable, or speak in more colloquial terms?
Given that this document was created to act as a guide for every Vulcan representative, it was imperative that we got the persona correct. As the old adage goes, “first impressions last a lifetime”.
Brand mission statement
Our first task was to create a brand mission statement. In two sentences, we surmised the brand’s vision and what it stands for:
Vulcan Watch Straps strives to equip today’s style-conscious social elite with a means to uniquely express themselves: our customisable products are as unique as the lives they lead. We aim to be synonymous with originality, innovation and luxury in equal measure; from superior materials to superior engineering and design, through to unrivalled client service.
The core brand values
Next, it was important for us to outline the core brand values. What is it that sets us apart from our competitors?
Compiling these validated our mission statement and provided a simple reference point for all external agents.
We settled on four brand values:
Luxury – a step above what others can offer
Ultra-high-quality straps that are created using the best tooling and materials; designed and manufactured by the best engineers.
Innovation – developing many firsts for the sector
The materials have been developed to withstand any environment on Earth that is accessible by man. They can withstand temperatures from -20°C to +200°C.
Individuality – reflecting the customers’ lifestyle
Customisable rubber watch straps allow our clients to create something unique to suit their style and personality.
Clients always comes first – they should always feel unique
A service which is professional, yet personable.
A customer experience which feels authentic and well thought out.
Tone of voice
With these basic components in place, we were ready to carefully formulate a tone of voice.
We started by highlighting some of the keywords associated with Vulcan Watch Straps. In our guidelines, these are listed as:
Best, exclusive, design, iconic, innovative, inspiring, investment, luxury, luxurious, modern, new, pioneering, premium, quality, revolutionary, special, superior, unforgettable, unique.
We also created an additional list of words to avoid. These are important, as you should know what you don’t want in order to manage what you do.
With these in place, we began fine-tuning the tone of voice and, subsequently, our strapline was born: Vulcan Watch Straps – where premium meets personality.
As the line suggests, Vulcan settled on a tone that’s sophisticated, yet warm: our communications always feel like a one-on-one conversation between brand and client.
Target audience profiles
Next, we developed several profiles for our target audiences. These helped us to better understand their mindset, interests and day-to-day lives. Moreover, these profiles helped us discern how to best engage our clients and speak to them on a similar level.
Jay and Sarah are two examples of our male and female personas:
Jay works in the events industry. He regularly attends high-end club nights and is well known on the social circuit in London.
He has a large Instagram following and regularly posts photos of luxury watches, holidays, cars and expensive nights out. Jay finds it important to have the latest tech/fashion trends. It’s all part of his image – in both personal and professional life.
Sarah is a lawyer at a magic circle firm.
She has an active lifestyle. Sarah wakes up at 5am every morning to go to the gym. She is part of a local netball league with her school friends and last year she completed her first ironman challenge.
If Sarah sets her mind to something, she gets it done.
Aside from being passionate about sport, Sarah also likes to treat herself to luxury items every now and again. After last years’ bonus she bought a Rolex watch. This was the first time Sarah bought an item of great value and it felt significant as she had been working towards it for a while.
Finally, we analysed brands that position themselves in a similar sector to Vulcan. By assessing their values, tone of voice and over-arching character, we began to better understand how they tailor their communications.
Given our product is designed for their watches, Rolex was a natural starting point:
It is opulence personified: using words such as “timeless” and “luxury”, the brand has an air or superiority. Their tone of voice is the sweet spot where intelligence meets authority.
The guidelines were fundamental in the creation of Vulcan Watch Straps and have acted as a brand guardian ever since.
Before designing the logo or engineering our unique rubber straps, it was essential that we fully understood the core business values. This enabled us to create harmony throughout the brand.
From day one, these guidelines have had a hugely positive effect. They have ensured that everyone from rubber engineers to web developers are on the same page. Now, whether our clients see us on social media, in a magazine or in store, they always leave with the same impression of quality, luxury and authenticity.
Ultimately, this document demonstrates how important the finer points are. I am a true believer that it’s the little details that make the big picture come to life.
Where can you find us?
To find out more about Vulcan Watch Straps, please visit us at www.vulcanwatchstraps.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. We regularly share blog posts and e-mail updates, making it easy to follow our journey!
Lee Scott | Founder of Vulcan Watch Straps
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