This isn’t a blog about architecture or whether you’re more ‘candles and cushions’ than ‘all white walls’. No. This is about your house style. What is it? Everyone has one. It’s just that you may not know exactly what yours is and how it differs from your competitor.

About 15 years ago, I was asked to go to BBC Bristol and talk to a bunch of BBC Local Radio people from across the country about clocks (radio scheduling clocks – not ‘tick tock’ ones!) and how to create a specific sound.  I started by talking about house style and I used a selection of newspapers to illustrate my point. This is a great exercise that you could use with colleagues…

First of all, I’d covered up the titles and any text on the front page that might identify each newspaper. Then, one by one, I held a newspaper up and asked the assembled throng to identify it.

Most of the time, they were correct!

The Sun: “It’s the font and the subject matter on the front page!”

The Mail: “It looks a bit more serious and there’s no outrageous headline.”

The Daily Star: “No other paper would write about aliens in supermarkets!”

The Express: “Easy! It’s a front page about the weather… and Princess Di!”

Etc etc. It was a fun and lively session but a serious point was made.

Each newspaper has a set of rules that it uses every day so that we, the reader, can instantly identify it.

It’s the same for TV:  Channel 4 looks, sounds and feels different to BBC1 and ITV. It has a set of house rules it sticks to that differ from other channels. Have a think. What are they?

It’s the same for all media and all businesses across the world.

It’s the same for you!

But what are your house rules and what’s your house style? I’ll assume that if you work for company, these will already be in place and be a part of the culture but if you’re a sole operator, you might not have ever considered this!

Consistency plays a big part in helping to create your house style. Behaviours and how you operate are just as important as how you look and appear to your current and future clients. Working hours; your rates; how quickly you respond to correspondence. (As a side note, an old boss of mine said ‘always reply to someone using the same mode of communication that the sender used.’ A great tip! If you receive a voice-mail, don’t reply by e-mail. The sender may think you want to avoid them! BAD!!) What’s your turnaround time? Can someone reading your e-mail tell it’s actually from you and not a generic pasted reply? If you’ve got a logo, is it the same one used everywhere?

Having a defined house style helps you to be recognised. People/ clients love familiarity and if you deliver and consistently give a great service, a well-honed house style will help with repeat business and ultimately, your success.

People buy people…. And houses!

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