Is your style guide right for your tenders?

When you put together a tender proposal to win, every aspect of the document needs to support your key messages. If you are selling quality the document has to display quality! If you are promoting innovation your document needs to look creative and different! So you have to ask yourself if your branding is helping you (or hindering) your chances of winning tenders. Are you following your style guide too closely.

What is a brand style?

Medium to large organisations usually have brand style guides (have a look at these leading style guides …) These make sure that their brand is consistent across all your marketing material. This includes logos, business cards, website, social media, email newsletters, print material, packaging and even the office space. They are, of course, important in allowing your customers to recognise your organisation and identify your products.

Style guides also specify visual branding, for instance, the style and type of images used. It might specify sizes, level of contrast, subject matter, focus on people or objects.

A brand style guide specifies the visual elements of your brand. It serves as a guide for how they should be used and even how they should NOT be used. The style guide also aims to make life easier for people in an organisation by having guidelines in place to make the design process faster and easier.

The problem with a style guide in tendering

But all of this can be a problem in getting the right messages in your tender if they contradict your corporate style. It becomes a problem of “form over substance” where appearance is more important than usefulness.

In our experience writing tenders for companies that have strong brand guidelines can cause conflict. We want to brand the bid to sell the key benefits of our clients bid but the branding may contradict our key messages. Our advice is always to brand the bid as closely as you can to the brand strategy. Maintaining your brand image is not so important in tendering because the intended audience is not focussed on brand consistency but rather the benefits of the proposal.

Brand your bid to win

So our advice is always to brand you bid proposal to win not to comply with your brand style guide. Do not let the marketing people tell you that you have to follow the style guide if is contradicting or not supporting your bid strategy. Sorry marketing people!