If your small business was an outfit, what would it look like? Would it be a smart, dapper suit paired with highly polished shoes, or a loud, checkered coat worn over polka-dot pajama bottoms and striped galoshes (hey, maybe you’re in the clown industry)?
Your business has a style, for better or for worse. It’s reflected in the look of your website and logo, the way you interact with your followers on social media and even in the content you share on your blog.
Why does this matter? Because your style dictates how current and potential customers perceive and interact with your brand. So how do you keep your style consistent throughout your entire brand? Use a style guide!
What Is a Style Guide?
A style guide serves as the blueprint for everything you do — from the colors you use to the “voice” you project when you’re speaking to your customers. It helps your business present a united front throughout all your marketing mediums, makes you instantly recognizable to your customers and keeps your team on the same page.
There are plenty of style guides that cover just the visual aspect of your marketing: your website design, signage, color scheme, logo, etc. The most comprehensive guides branch out to cover things like tone, grammar and even the fonts you use in your blog posts. Whether you go with the bare minimum or an all-encompassing missive is up to you, but our motto is, “The more detailed, the better!”
Laying Down Your Style Guide: Tips
Creating a style guide for your small business can seem overwhelming, but remember: Even baby steps propel you forward. It’s not something that can (or should!) be done in a day. Let these tips guide the creation of your … well, guide!
- Focus on the “big stuff,” but don’t neglect the “small stuff.” Potential customers are more likely to notice the visuals first, so make that a priority and let it take the lead. However, grammar and tone are just as important, so lay down the rules for those too, making sure to match it with the visuals.
- Save your breath. Overly complicated style guides are hard to follow, so keep your instructions concise and easy to read. Otherwise, no one will use it and this will be an exercise in futility.
- Be precise. Don’t just say “pink.” Don’t even say “hot pink” or “flamingo pink.” Use Pantone colors and their equivalent hex codes instead. For example: Pantone Pink C and its equivalent hex value D62598. This ensures that the exact same pink shows up on all your materials, whether on billboards, your website or your newsletters.
- Be creative. If everyone used Times New Roman and earth tones, the world in general (and the internet in particular) would be a very boring place indeed. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box — but do make sure that all your boxes compliment each other (and your brand message, of course).
No matter which marketing medium you use, your style should always reflect your brand. A comprehensive style guide can help keep you (and your brand) on track.
Do you need a small business stylist? Send us an email and let Mischa Communications help you build your brand! From content creation to website design, we’ll show you how to promote your small business with flair!