Having a company website is no longer a question of if you should, but rather an imperative—you must have a website. The Internet is the first place everyone searches to see if you’re ‘real’ to find a telephone number, even to see if your company personality is a fit for them. Yes, your firm is judged by your website. It is an extension of your identity (or brand), and supports your company’s message. Furthermore, a website should be more than a quick response to the directive “Let’s just get this thing done so people can find us.” It’s a commonly heard comment from companies, and it’s a dangerous approach. A website is much more than staking your claim on the internet. It is often your first impression to potential clients, customers, and employees. Make it the best it can be.
Once you have created your key message and understand that company identity can be defined by absolutely everything in a company, creating the collateral to support both of these should be pretty easy right? Well…”easy” isn’t the best word to choose. When a client says to me, “I need a mailer” or “I want a company brochure”, the first question I ask is Why? What is it that you are trying to accomplish?
When clients define “identity”, their first response is often “it is what the company looks like; the logo and the colors we use.” Some include the professional service they sell and the manner in which they sell it. Yes, Identity is all of this . . . and more. Much more.
Identity is everything about your business and the company you manage: from your message, to your market, to your logo, to your employees, to your proposals, to your website, to your social connections . . . See what’s happening here? Identity is the all-encompassing sphere that is you and your business. Even your internal policies and procedures take part in reinforcing your identity. If your identity is muddy, it’s likely that more than just your logo is outdated.
We craft stories for clients — all with a single focus being the right and best choice. They all have one thing in common: the message that shapes the identity of a company.
One of the best examples of a well defined message is MD Anderson Cancer Center. They “make cancer history”. It’s very clear from just a few words what they do. There is no guessing. Every message they send is about eliminating this horrible disease. Their websites, advertisements, signage, literature, and their logo with that strong line that strikes out the C word. They established their message first and from there they developed the rest of their marketing and business essentials.
It’s the month of lists. Notes on the desk, stickies on the computer screen, and reminders set on the phone. Today is the day to get them sorted out.
We all make lists and we usually end up setting most of them aside because we get inundated with the day-to-day tasks of running our business, so they seem as though they just aren’t a priority anymore. But they are.
I don’t have a lot of musical talent. In fact, I can’t play any instrument at all, short of Chopsticks on the piano. Standing on a stage and performing a piece of music is the last place you’ll find me, and it may be a long shot for you, too. The spotlight is a stressful place even when we’re just talking about what we do. But you need to get comfortable talking about the work you do and what you’ve accomplished. You need to “toot your own horn” regularly.