When we describe someone, we create a picture of them. We talk about physical attributes such as height, hair style and complexion. But we also talk about how they dress as well as how they walk and talk. What we look like and how we act identifies who we are to others.

What about your business? What does it look like and how does that image define your business? Just as we can identify people at a glance, a business can – and should – have a visual identity that will allow your customers to identify your business at a glance.

A business identity is more than just having a logo. It is also affected by how your logo is used, consistent use of colour, fonts used in publications and ads, what style of photography and clip art you use, and the consistent use of design and layout in all marketing materials. Large corporations invest in developing a consistent identity. And it pays off for them. I am sure you can easily identify newspaper flyers and display ads of major retailers. That is because they all have well developed identities. They are consistent and predictable.

Large corporations will, as a matter of course, have extensive identity guideline documents to address these and other issues. By applying the guidelines, they can be assured that their stationery, signage and all marketing materials – both print and multimedia – will portray a consistent image.

Every business should have and use identity guidelines, regardless of size. You want customers to beat a path to your door. Blaze the trail for them with a consistent identity that points to you every time.