The world’s largest and most successful companies have one thing in common for sure—a strong identity. And a lot of identities comes down to one important element: image. So if you want your own business to be successful, then it’s a good idea to invest a good deal of time and effort in developing and building your business’s identity. On the flip side, failing to do so can stunt your company’s growth and hurt future prospects in the marketplace. Here are some tips for creating a strong identity for your company.
Write out your company values.
A good place to start is to write out your company’s mission statement, philosophy, and beliefs. What do you want people to surmise about your company values? Ultimately this will determine what type of customer that you attract and how customers remember you. As you write out your company values, you may also want to generate a simple list of adjectives that you’d like to see become highly descriptive of your company.
Create an online name for yourself.
Before delving into design or marketing, you probably want to first decide how people are going to find you and refer to you on the web. A strong social media presence, after all, can play a significant role in strengthening your brand. Choose an online name that is memorable and that you will be able to use consistently across social media platforms.
Don’t neglect your physical location.
Most companies today are scrambling to build a sustainable online image. While this is very important, it’s important to remember not to neglect your physical locations either. Even if you build an awesome website, your brick-and-mortars still say a lot about your company, and it’s the thing that’s most readily apparent to the community where you reside. As a rule of thumb, your location should feel safe, clean, and properly represent your company. For this reason, do things to level up that physical location: be creative with your decor, get cool signage, upgrade your security protocols, get rid of graffiti on the side of your building, etc.
Design the perfect logo.
Remember: a logo plays just a single part in the larger picture of developing your identity, yet it remains an extremely significant part nonetheless. Your logo will dictate how customers perceive you at just a quick glance. The best logos are somehow able to convey an entire message about a company, even in all its simplicity. This means that your logo needs to be reminiscent of who you are. Going back to the Pacific Northwest-inspired outdoor clothing example, you might communicate ruggedness and authenticity in your logo with hand-drawn vintage style lettering, in an almost-black shade that looks slightly worn.
Standardize your style.
In addition to creating a great logo that will speak volumes about your company, it’s also important to standardize certain aspects of your design methods so that your company is always giving customers a consistent message. This means defining a color palette, certain fonts, and certain design styles that your company will use consistently in printed materials, digital marketing, merchandising, etc.
Create an inspiration board.
On the note of “standardizing your style,” it can help to create an inspiration board that you can refer to again and again so that your message stays consistent. Includes in this inspiration board not only key information about standard colors and fonts but also images and quotes that might communicate the identity that you seek to achieve.
Nurture company culture.
Sure, perhaps your customers will never get a major glimpse inside your company culture, but your culture does play a major impact on how your company will ultimately relate to customers (that relationship, by the way, is the very definition of “brand”). When the connection between employees is strong, it can strengthen your company as a whole, and it has kind of a ripple effect on how your company relates to its customers. Maintaining strong company culture keeps your company unified in its mission to establish a strong, uniform identity, and it ensures that your customers will always take away a similar every time they interact with your company by experience.
Understand that it’s all about consistency.
First, before going into the specific techniques that you can use to help build a strong company identity, it’s important to understand what identity really is. In short, identity refers to how customers perceive you after interacting with anything and everything that your company puts out—product-wise, service-wise, or marketing-wise. Let’s say that you’re an outdoor apparel company with strong roots in the Pacific Northwest, for example, and you want people to associate words like “authentic,” “rugged,” and “vintage” with your company.
Everything that you design for your company, including both products and marketing materials, needs to communicate these things. You might, say, design a logo that features hand-drawn vintage-style lettering. Then, you might define a color palette of rich greens and browns that are reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest region, using those colors consistently throughout your website and in your ads. Then you might adopt a voice in all of your marketing copy that sounds like it could be coming from a well-read, thirtysomething backpacker who frequently hikes and fishes in the Pacific Northwest. They all might sound like silly details, but they all do ultimately come together to establish how consumers perceive you. And the only way that they’ll perceive anything, really, is with a consistent product and marketing strategy. Identity, at its heart, really is all about consistency.