What is Your Signature Style?
What is Your Signature Style?
Do you have one?
Firstly, let’s start with a definition of what style is.
The Oxford Dictionary says:
A particular procedure by which something is done; a manner or way. A distinctive appearance, typically determined by the principles according to which something is designed.
When we ‘Brand’ our business or organisation, regardless of size, location, market or intent, the basic idea is to create a unique image that we portray to the wider community that defines, Who we are, What we do and What we stand for.
Be it Exceptional service like a Singapore Airlines or an Apple retail store, a pricing level from budget like a Jetstar to premium like Omega Watches, a positioning within a market, from fun and empowering like a Lorna Jane or Nike to serious and establishment like National Australia Bank or Clayton Utz Lawyers.
In this case, size is irrelevant, regardless if you are BHP Billiton or a mobile based home services business, we each have an image to project.
Each and every branding exercise must serve that image across every touch point our customers and clients have with us.
From the roadside billboard, our building, car park, vehicles, reception, showroom or office, our product, its packaging, our service and quality delivery, our communications channels from the humble business card to our letterhead and e-mail signature, and our most valuable asset, our people, each and every one of these touch points must be co-ordinated to flow seamlessly from start to finish with a consistency of message and promise that is in concert with that brand definition.
‘Yeah, that’s all great!’ I hear you say, ‘But we are only a small/medium business, we don’t have the time or budget to employ a consultant to identify and document a formal brand strategy’.
Well, if that is your story, then welcome to the majority of SME’s, because most are in exactly the same situation.
But don’t be disheartened, it doesn’t mean you can’t develop and own a unique style, it just means you have to give a bit of thought to Who you are, What you do, and to Who you do it to.
There are a multitude of service providers (I’ve listed some links at the end of this article) who can take your information and create you a logo and business image who range in price from a few dollars to a few hundred.
The globalisation of the marketplace and internet access to a world of artists has brought graphic design within the budget of even the smallest of micro-businesses.
Armed with nothing more than a logo and possibly a colour theme, you are good to go, as 80% of the style job is complete already, because defining and communicating that image is the hardest part of your style challenge put behind you.
From there the task is all simple. Any reputable sign shop can take your new logo, gather some additional contact and message information from you and design up your signage across your physical property, from the billboard to your vehicles and showroom wall with everything in between.
The same can be done with your print provider for your hard copy communications, your web development team for your online footprint and your uniform provider for your people image.
If any of those suppliers can’t deliver a perfect result then you need to find a new provider, because this is the base service you should expect from any of them if they are professionals in their respective fields.
If you are still at a loss as to where to start or what style of image you should portray then simply ask.
Start with your employees, your best customers, your family and friends.
Just ask, What would they expect to see in a business like yours, what would make them feel welcome, what would make them believe you were a professional and that they had made the right choice deciding to buy from or work with you.
When it comes to your people, this is where it gets personal and you need to engage a uniform professional who can work through all the issues of fitting out all of your management and employees to not only look good and satisfy your brand image but wear apparel that is ‘Fit for Purpose’, practical, durable, repeatable, age and climate appropriate and allows them to feel comfortable with their individual look. And of course you need the ability to fit out people from the smallest size 4 office junior to the 7XL behemoth in the warehouse, whilst all having the same corporate design style.
A professional uniform company should provide this advice as part of their service offering. Getting an understanding of your business or organisation culture, image, service duties and budget expectations is all part of the information required to be able to advise and recommend the most appropriate apparel that fits in with all your brand touch points.
Breaking it Down:
Over the coming weeks we’ll break down the various styles into segments to create a matrix so you know what is best suited to your industry, the range of options within that segment and how to shop smart to achieve your Signature Style.
Matthew and Rebecca Pritchard run a security company in the large regional city of Maitland, NSW.
They are one of the largest in the region, but it is a market that is not short of competition, so the only way they could set their business apart was to ensure their ‘Brand’ was unique and memorable.
As a family business they control every aspect of their service offering, the product they install and the control center that monitors the Back to Base systems that provide peace of mind to all of their customers.
As a business growing up they have to manage every aspect of that operation and control the costs just like every other small/medium enterprise.
But that doesn’t mean they couldn’t think smart when it came to the ‘Branding’ and advertising of their service offering.
So with little more than a unique logo and a base colour they have been able to create a ‘Corporate Brand’ across their business.
Every single Touch Point is ‘On Message’, from the Highway Billboard to the shirt on Matthew’s back.
So what started as nothing more than a business plan, an idea of what market they serviced and a basic idea of the image they wished to portray to their customer base, they were able to co-ordinate a complete ‘Style’ for their business.
At every stage they were smart enough to engage professional providers who could take their logo and design brief and supply their corporate image back on every medium they use to promote their business.
Matthew is wearing the Be Seen BSP15 corporate polo shirt.
Visit Gecko Security for commercial and domestic security solutions.
Recommended providers of Design Services:
99 designs – Over 300,000 designers ready to create your logo.
Swiftly – Small design fixes done fast.
Elance – Find a freelance designer to do your task.
E-mail our stylist or call 1300 780 547 and let us help you create your own Signature Style.