When most people first set out to start their business, they concentrate on putting together the best product, be it a good or service, and determining the market need, as well as a fair price. These are all crucial aspects of building a successful enterprise, but there is, of course, much more to making it thrive, from supply chain management to personnel issues. In this article, we’re going to discuss one of the “squishier” aspects of business-building; that is, corporate identity.
If you’re already rolling your ideas at a vague term such as “corporate identity,” please bear with us. Think of the largest, most successful companies in the world: Apple, Starbucks, Nike, McDonald’s. These companies all have very strict and cogent corporate identities, as well as great products that people enjoy and want. Many would argue that their success has come, at least in part, due to the time and energy spent on working on their corporate identities.
Questions to Facilitate Brainstorming
Your corporate identity is how you present your company and product to the world — it’s not necessarily just your “brand.” To find the right identity for you, here are a few strategies and tips to help you generate ideas. It all starts with asking (and answering) the right questions. (But note: an important rule of good brainstorming is that you cannot shoot down the answers to these questions, and you must not let participants hold back—all ideas are good ideas at this point!)
- Start out by describing your company, product, and brand. Don’t think about this too hard, just write.
- What is at the heart of your company and product? This is your vision, mission, values, and purpose. In other words, why does your company exist? (And please don’t answer, “to make money.”)
- Think about your industry and product category. Keep narrowing and focusing until you get to a very specific niche. Now, answer this: What makes your company, service, or product, different from all of your competition? (This is also known as a “unique selling point,” or the somewhat cheesier phrase, “X-factor.”)
- If you had to give your company or brand a voice and personality, what would it be? What kind of person — or pick a celebrity — would be your brand?
- Alternatively, who is the intended consumer and purchase decision maker of your product? If this different from the end user? A sugary cereal may be eaten by children (and single men), but it’s most often purchased by women. Now, as you think of this target demographic, describe their personalities, needs, passions, and interests. Think of why this person would care about what you’re doing, and trust your company.
- Describe the antithesis of your brand, product, and company. Come up with all of things it’s not.
Now that you’ve answered all of these questions, go back to the first one and describe your company, product, and brand again. See if you’ve written something markedly different than what you came up with before, and consider why that is.
The next step is pretty easy: come up with a huge word bank of all the terms that have appeared in your answers and see which ones come up again and again. This, naturally, is where your corporate identity will fall.
What to Do Next
As you went through this exercise, it’s possible that you encountered questions and items you’d never considered before, and that’s great. So now, after you’ve answered these questions and come up with some ideas, it’s time to put it to work. We’ll discuss in another article how to create a corporate identity, including designing a logo, choosing the right colors for your color palette, iconography, and selecting the right visual language that will suit all marketing materials, from your banner ads to your website, and, yes, your packaging and labels.
Then, once you are ready to start the design process on your labels, go ahead and reach out the digital label experts at United Label. We have expertise in label design as well as manufacturing, and can help ensure your labels are not only great-looking, but suitable for printing as well. We are here to help you get your labels done quickly, easily, and affordably—call us today at (973) 589-6500 to get started.