How to Define Your Digital Strategy with an Inspiration Board

Most businesses, whether big or small, have an online presence — whether that’s a website, social media accounts or some combination of the two.

While it’s easy to create these spaces, the challenge becomes maintaining a unified image across all of the online platforms.

This can be especially challenging for new organizations who are still trying to pinpoint this image and their digital strategy — they aren't sure what will work best so they try a few things out.

Unfortunately, this lack of cohesion creates confusion for customers and keeps your brand from having a clear and unique identity. But this doesn't have to be the case.

Use an inspiration board to clearly communicate your brand’s personality and style to internal stakeholders. Those stakeholders will then implement that vision across your online assets and messaging, creating a cohesive and defined online presence.

What is an Inspiration Board?

An inspiration board is a physical or digital collection of imagery used to define a concept or style. Sometimes it will be pieces of paper taped to a wall. Other times, it can be digital images spread across a webpage.

The images might include everything from fonts and color swatches to textures and vocabulary to photographs and quotes. The images are arranged usually by priority or in a timeline. The images themselves and the arrangement are then used to convey a theme or aesthetic strategy.

We use an Inspiration Board to Define Digital Strategy

Think a big Pinterest board full of imagery that speaks to your brand and inspires your message and personality.

While the interior design, graphic design or web design communities generally use inspiration boards to inform the client, other industries can utilize inspiration boards to unify an organization and create a singular image for a brand.

This is seen as a benefit not only to the customers, but also to the culture of the organization and to stakeholders.

What are the Benefits of an Inspiration Board?

1. Focus

When you develop an inspiration board, you are working with your team to establish a unified image of your brand. You are removing all of the extraneous information and imagery that you've been using — shaving off the excess.

When you limit yourself around a single mood, theme or inspiration, you inevitably end up with focus. You are able to identify the personality you want to shine through in your digital strategy.

From this, you can then find exactly which fonts, colors, vocabulary and imagery you need to use to illustrate this focused personality to your customers.

Companies that explain their brand personality within the organization simply through words often fall short of creating a focused brand personality. One team member may interpret 'fun', 'sporty', 'professional', or any other number of characteristics very differently than another team member.

An inspiration board brings your vision of your brand’s personality to life.

2. Alignment

Telepathy doesn't exist. Sometimes business owners and managers forget this. They make the assumption everyone is on the exact same page they are. Unfortunately, this is pretty much never true.

This is especially applicable when it comes to the company vision. Not only is this statement usually broad, but it is often forgotten.

This lost vision can be regained and it can be used to align both team members and stakeholders. An inspiration board is a simple way to accomplish that.

When the team works together on the inspiration board, the vision is the starting place. It is discussed, dissected and examined.

By the time the inspiration board is completed, the entire team understands the company's vision and what they need to do in order to align themselves and their work product with it.

3. Improved messaging

As mentioned above, with so many ways to communicate with customers, it can be challenging to maintain a singular voice across all platforms.

This becomes an even bigger issue if there are multiple team members working on content marketing and social media messaging. Each person has their own personality, views, style and voice and they can easily let these slide their way into how they represent the company.

An inspiration board streamlines all communication sent out from the company. Each team member who helps with social media and content creation knows the fonts they should be using, the colors they should be incorporating, the keywords that should be integrated and the style of images that should be built in.

When platforms and messaging look and feel the same, it's just better. It comes across as more professional and easier for customers to connect with.

4. Cohesive aesthetic

A good product or service isn't enough in today's world.

Your company represents an image and, by using your product, your customers indicate to the world your image relates to their lifestyle and values. Because of this, customers choose to buy from organizations that have a cohesive aesthetic that aligns with who they are as a person.

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” - Simon Sinek

An inspiration board allows you to create this cohesive aesthetic for a digital strategy. All of the emails sent out, all of the social media posts, every page of the website can be redesigned around the inspiration board.

When this is accomplished, your digital strategy will be put into action and can be clearly identified.

5. Increased understanding

By developing an inspiration board you are clearly defining your desired aesthetic. You are visualizing the colors, fonts, imagery and wordage that most connect your company to its culture.

When you show these themes through your digital strategy, across your various online platforms and content, your customers will connect with it. They will have a much better understanding of who you are, what you do and why you do it — and this is exactly what sells.

When customers feel like they understand you and what you stand for, they connect with you. The company becomes a friend, rather than a foreign entity they get a product from.

6. Customer satisfaction

There's too much competition in the market for customer service and satisfaction not to be a key component of any business strategy. If a business doesn't treat customers correctly, they'll just take their business elsewhere.

A major part of developing customer satisfaction is creating a relationship with customers. You need to show them who you are and what you believe. Companies that are able to communicate their culture to their customers will succeed. Customers connect with this and will stay loyal because of it.

In order to communicate a company culture, you first need to be able to express what your company culture is. You need to be able to illustrate to others your priorities and goals.

Through photographs, colors, fonts and words you can show your current and potential customers exactly who they are buying from and why they should buy from you. When customers understand this, they'll not only like you more, but they'll also trust you more.