Leading Your Business Style

If you are anything like me you have a ‘style’ for your business that is part of your branding. You want everything just right so that when people see the brand they instantly recognise it as you, am I right? However, you are constantly pushing an uphill battle with your team as even they don’t get it right, the font may be different, the colour, the size, even your Company or Business name is out there for the world to see in a lot of different formats and well, it is not you.

One way to help your team come to grips with how things need to be done is by using a ‘Style Guide’. What is a Style Guide’, well, it’s exactly as it is said, albeit the words are back to front. You create a guide to reflect how you want your business style represented at all times. You should also include pictures and diagrams in your guide.

1. Review all your current branding and communication materials, don’t forget to use all of your social media, spread out your photographs, logos, banners, newsletters and all other communication tools you utilise.

2. Now you have everything spread out in front of you, what do you like, what works and what does not?  Do not forget to take notice of any punctuation you have used previously, do you like it … is it effective … if in doubt throw it out!

3. Now you can start to draft your guide, what you like, when is punctuation to be used, when is your full logo to be used, how, why and in what scenario.

4. Discuss, discuss, discuss, yes of course you will have your own opinions on what and how, however, another pair of eyes or two can mean the difference between stunning and workable, or ugly and lack luster.

5. Ideally you do not want to create War and Peace for your guide, it needs to be to the point, relevant and readable. After all, this is a guide and as such, should be treated as a guide.

6. You will need a gatekeeper, a member of your team that will be responsible for maintaining and enforcing the guide with your team.

7. Now launch new document with your team, make it fun as it’s not meant to be a laborious task, but you do need to make team members aware of what is required and expected.

Your style guide is not just about your Logo and how it looks in a document or where it is placed, it is also about what wording you use, how you use it and when you don’t want particular words to be used. For example, JMJ – EA for a Day must always be just that, never EA for a Day, or ea 4 a day, JMJ or JMJ eaforaday. When I refer to my business in my documents, my social media, my templates, I always use JMJ – EA for a Day (with a hyphen). That is who I am and that is how I want people to recognise my brand.

Google is a wonderful tool and there are many resources on line that can help you get your own style guide organised for your business. However, if you would like someone to work with you in putting one together, please send me an email, I would be happy to discuss your requirements.