As a marketer, I hope you have never said this unless you’re referring to an instance 40 years ago! While the notion of having stagnant, printed, brand standards and guidelines in a binder is ancient in itself, we still hear from clients, large and small, who have printed standards or a .PDF file which is just slightly more modern than a binder on a shelf. Either way you might as well be asking the same thing when it comes to usability: Why are so many organizations still operating this way?
The fact is the majority of branding and marketing agencies that are developing the standards still use a .PDF as the delivery method. As a result the files are usually cumbersome and become outdated 10 minutes after they’re printed, especially for large organizations. So what do you do? Make the switch to a format that is fluid, accessible, can easily be shared (sections or all), digested, and provides the information in a way that guides users on how to activate the brand. How? Convert the standards and guidelines to HTML. If you’re going through a rebrand or refresh, start by having them delivered in this format. You’ll be amazed at how many people actually refer to them on a regular basis versus having them “sitting on a shelf” collecting dust. Standards are meant to be used to build the brand under a consistent direction, not just constrain it.
Make it easy for people inside and outside your organization to build/reinforce your brand and they’ll be glad to do it.