Building the Foundation of Your Verbal Identity
One of the most exciting things about buying or starting your own business is creating your brand. How it looks, how it sounds, and how to promote it. After all, you, your friends, and your family may soon be wearing your brand on a hat, so color and style elements matter. They matter a lot!
However, taking a step back and gaining a bird’s eye view of your vision and mission can save valuable time and money as your organization grows or needs arise for content. Like most of us, you probably want to start with the fun stuff, but you won’t regret laying the foundation first by creating a verbal identity.
WHAT IS A VERBAL IDENTITY?
These are the written or spoken elements of your brand.
Your verbal identity is how you choose to articulate and explain what you do—and why you do it. At UNANIMOUS, we break down the framework into two distinct sections, internal communications and external messaging.
When establishing or evolving your organization's verbal identity, you may be tempted to put it off. After all, perhaps your priority is to fulfill an immediate business need. While this may be your highest priority initially, a solid communications platform is essential for sustaining a respected and positive culture—don’t bypass the fundamentals.
The building blocks of your verbal identity are your internal communication components. Your mission statement, vision statement, core values, and audience personas create the foundation of your organization. This foundation then helps develop an intentional and strategic visual brand identity.
As you embark on building a new or existing organization, you may find yourself asking one or more of the following excellent questions:
AREN’T MISSION STATEMENTS OUTDATED?
Only if your mission is outdated.
Part of creating a strong organizational culture is to have a clearly defined goal. Without your entire team—regardless of the size of your organization—on board, you are likely to spend significant resources re-hiring and re-training your staff. Your employees are your best brand ambassadors. Employees find collaboration easier when they share a common goal.
CAN I JUST WORK ON OUR VISION STATEMENT LATER?
Sure, but what will guide your messaging and all of your content in the meantime?
Also, a strong vision attracts the right employees. Most people want to be part of something bigger than the day-to-day tasks. A distinct and well-communicated vision assists with employee morale, independent work strategies, and buy-in to organizational goals. Meant to inspire, your vision statement should be used to guide all communication and long-term strategies.
HOW MANY CORE VALUES SHOULD MY ORGANIZATION DEVELOP?
There is no magic number.
However, your values should be broad and encompass what your organization deems important. Your core values are your guiding principles and help you build an intentional culture. They drive your organization's day-to-day operations and direct changes in strategy when needed. You should be able to hire and evaluate your team based on clearly defined values.
SHOULD I DEVELOP A NEW MISSION STATEMENT IF I AM BUYING AN EXISTING BUSINESS?
Is the existing mission clearly defined and known by key stakeholders? Does the existing mission represent YOUR goals for the organization? Perhaps the mission statement doesn’t need a complete overhaul, but a refresh can jumpstart and excite your internal audience. Take the time to evaluate and determine if you’re comfortable writing your mission statement on the wall.
Routinely assessing your organization's internal communications provides a starting place each time significant decisions need to be made moving forward. Reviewing internal communication for clarity and alignment comes first. Then, the development and delivery of external messages become easier.
Need help fine-tuning your mission into a succinct statement that will guide your team in fulling your organization’s vision? Need someone to take what you are trying to say and put it into words? Allow the team at UNANIMOUS to help. Let's talk!
UNANIMOUS is a full-service branding agency based in the heart of the Midwest—Lincoln, Nebraska. They have partnered with clients to develop strong brand alignment through strategic marketing, creative design, engaging websites, and compelling video projects of all sizes. UNANIMOUS is known for collaborative partnerships and works with various clients nationwide. The agency prides itself on rhyme, reason, and results.