Business Identity and Styling with Jessica Andrews
“Set your stage for business.”
Top 3 Business Identity and Styling tips
1. Don’t copy your direct competitor. As the saying goes – ‘imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery’ but a series of identikit business visuals, just makes you blend in with the crowd. Be different – Stand out and be individual.
2. Think in clusters – Odd Numbers of objects and play with height.
3. Marie Kondo talks of de-cluttering by processing items in terms of how much joy they bring to your life, In business styling – think of relevance. If its not relevant to the fundamental values you are portraying to clients. Get it out of your setting.
Please explain what is Business Identity and Styling?
Business styling is the visual impact your business makes with its physical assets. The background of your webinar, the clothes you wear, the message you wish to project as a business to customers, competition and suppliers. The combination of these things are what gives your business a personality. What makes your business unique? And what stops you being an Identikit? Often times my clients are looking to feature their workspace on their website. Desks and the tools of the trade are important factors of this, but they are cold images if the clients focus isn’t also featured within the photo. Your clients want to see your product or how you interact with your service.
How important is it to have a brand identity?
A brand identity defines your business and conveys your business values to the world through a visual medium. You may have heard the theory that a persons personality type can be judged by the shoes they wear. Politicians have been known to pay people to identify just the right amount of scuffs on their shoes. The visual details of your business matter. The Royal Opera House London advertise themselves as a world stage. Their photography and marketing blends photos of vistas from around the world, with the stunning shapes the dancers create themselves. By showing such diverse abstract images in the background, they subliminally talk to all nations – everyone is welcome at the ballet. They want to see you interact with your product. You can have a beautifully displayed space, but unless it has something which sparks the client’s ability to relate to you and your brand, it will leave them cold. I help produce that spark.
Another example would be Emma Bridgewater. She has built up a huge brand based on personalised and hand painted quirky ceramics. Her products are photographed entwined with candles, warm fires and rustic homesteads, as her base message is to indicate that the client can recreate that home warmth in their home, with her products as the lynch pin. This is a fundamental point of brand styling.
How can one ensure consistency across personal and business personas?
That’s an interesting question, one that suggests that the two are interlinked. Your business is an entity all on its own and will always exist with its own defining personality traits. What links personal and business branding are the values that match and the clientele that you are aiming to work with. Here it is important that business and personal personas are not juxtaposed to one another. They are not mutually exclusive, but they must compliment one another. The look of both should be interchangeable and comfortable. Creative industries are a good example to follow. Customers want to see the personality behind the products that they are buying, but they are also interested in the processes that go in to creating the end product. Similarly service based images it is important to show some of the process you follow. There are a lot of images on the web of perfectly idealised office spaces, but if that is not a reflection of your personally, you are feeding your audience a lie, and ultimately down the line your business relationships will suffer.
What elements should be considered when addressing business staging?
Personality – yours and your business – as I mentioned above the two are not the same. The context of the product/service – how you use with your product/service as opposed to how your clients use your product/service. When writing this interview out, it was pointed out to me that I have the dreaded curse of ‘knowledge.’ This means that I know what may or may not work, but it can be hard to convey that. The elements that you pull into your business staging should help your clients break down your core values and get to the point of your message quickly. And as we process more information visually than through any other sense – it makes business sense to maximise your visual cues. Kenco have maximised this concept in their campaign ‘Coffee vs. Gangs.’ The TV advertisement uses tattoos and body art blended with music to maximise the visual impact of good vs. bad; they create a really strong visual message without explicitly using the good vs. evil trope. Kenco have understood that their customers have integrity and their visual cues follow through.
What advice would you give to small businesses interested in exploring the concept of business styling?
Don’t make the mistake in thinking that business styling is something that you can implement further down the line. You only have one chance to make a first impression and that apparently only takes 7 seconds. How your visuals come across will affect every aspect of your sales process. How you are perceived is important at a fundamental level. If you visited a doctor, and they arrived with food stains on their clothing, obviously un-groomed hair, and a desk that was strewn with rubbish and half eaten food – my guess is that you a) you would be suspicious of their competence and b) you may even seek a second opinion. As a business – you never want a client to seek a second opinion…
Learn More: come and talk to me at Rabbitandotherstories.com and see how we can maximise your visual impact for results in your business.