Your company is just like you. It has its own unique style, or at least it should. Let’s think about a few companies who have a distinct style. Menards and Starbucks stand out in my mind as polar opposites in terms of style, but both have a good handle on what their identity is. Menards has a style that screams inexpensive and folksy. As soon as you flip through the newspaper, you can pick out the green/yellow/orange Menards flyer from across the room. Starbucks has a totally different identity, which feels more sophisticated and trendy. When you see any type of Starbucks advertising or visit their website, you immediately know that it’s Starbucks.
How can you develop your company’s identity? Here are five tips:
1. Remember your “why.” One of my favorite business books is Start with Why by Simon Sinek. If you haven’t read it, the basic premise of the book is this: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Every decision that you make should run through this filter. Spend some time thinking about why you started your company, or started working for your company. While it’s important to adapt to change, it’s vital that you keep your “why” at the center of what you do and how your company appears. This will help you define how to move forward with sharing your company’s identity with your community.
2. Logo, Logo, Logo. Your logo is a big deal. Be a little militant about how it appears. Know what colors it is and only allow it to appear in those colors (and black or white when needed). Don’t stretch it, crunch it, or anything like that and don’t let anyone else do that either. Make sure you have a high resolution version of your logo so that it always appears crisp and professional. If your logo can’t be seen clearly in the size you need for a promotional item, etc., just use your name in your font. Speaking of which…
3. Fonts and colors help tell your story. Can you imagine Starbucks using a Comic Sans font? (I’d rather not imagine anyone using this font, but that’s a story for another time…) What if Menards started using muted pastels in all of their ads? Carefully consider what fonts and colors to use in your promotional material.
It’s a good idea to find a font family or two that matches who you are and use those fonts for everything. It also saves you a ton of time when you have to produce something quickly…your days of scrolling through font lists are over. Pick a color palette that represents you well. Your logo colors should be central in this palette. Use these colors on your website, on any print materials, and even in the apparel your employees wear.
4. Picture this. There is no substitute for professional photography. Yeah, we’re in the age of the selfie and a time when our phones have phenomenal cameras. Stock photography and Google images make it so simple to pick up just the right image that you need, right? There are times when a photo from your phone might be ok and there might be a few times when you have to fall back on a stock photo. Having well-lit, sharp photos to use on your website and in your promotional campaigns is simply priceless. Find a photographer who can work within your company’s budget and have a set of photos taken at least every two years.
5. Your social strategy is where your identity shines. Don’t leave your business identity behind when you log into your company’s social media accounts. Be sure that your page banners and icons reflect your identity. Your audience should know it’s your message as soon as they see the image or start reading the content. Follow other blogs that line up with your company’s “why” and share those blogs on your accounts. Come up with engaging graphics using your photos, fonts, and colors to help jazz up a hum-drum company announcement.
Use a voice that complements your identity. Don’t sound stuffy if you’re a more casual company, and don’t sound like a surfer dude if you’re a professional-minded organization.
With all of that said, the main thing to remember is to trust your gut when it comes to your corporate identity. If you feel like something doesn’t represent your company’s style well, don’t hesitate to say something or change it. After all, who knows your company’s identity better than you?
This post was originally published on BC Digital Marketing’s blog page.