Branding and Business Identity ~ Image is everything!
Underestimating the importance of image is a common marketing mistake. When we talk about image in business, it encompasses a broad spectrum. We’re talking about overall image of storefront; interior design, marketing materials, website and even your people, (staff members). All of these elements determine how your business is perceived. They also tie in with your overall brand and help people decide if they will do business with you, or not.
The heart of your business identity is your logo. It represents who you are and what you do. The image of your business is the foundation of your marketing and advertising efforts. If your logo and identity package is weak, your advertising and marketing efforts will not be as successful as they could be. If you aren’t familiar with the term “identity package,” it refers to your business cards, letterhead and envelopes.
Underestimating the importance of investing in your image is a common mistake of many start-up businesses. Some new business owners mistakenly believe that advertising, marketing, identity packages and promotional materials are expenses rather than investments. This can ultimately damage business success because first impressions do count and first impressions are most often impacted by image and customer service.
Do not take shortcuts with this important image building tool. Remember, advertising and marketing are an INVESTMENT in your business, not an expense.
Sheila’s Story ~ An illustration of the importance of image: Sheila had just started her career as a real estate professional. She was at a local networking function. When talking with Sheila she seemed like she had it all together. She’d obviously worked hard to get to this point in her career. Even so, she hadn’t invested in her identity package. She was distributing business cards she designed and printed at home. The cards had perforated edges and were on ultra flimsy paper. When she handed them out she made another mistake. She apologized for the cards and mentioned she was just getting started and said “the cards would have to do for now.” This single interaction determined how potential clients viewed Sheila. After all, if she were willing to cut corners here, how reliable would her selling skills be? Image does matter. Make yours count.
A brand is not a logo and a logo is not a brand ~
Logo: An identifiable insignia that represents a company.
Brand: The overall impression and experience that your customers receive from your business.
Your brand extends to the entire experience clients have with your business. From the moment a person calls or walks into your establishment or logs onto your website, you’re creating a brand.
Make your customer service count by keeping these brand experience elements in mind:
-While the heart of your business identity is your logo, the heart of your business is your people (staff).
-Your employees are an extension of your business. What they say and do at work affects your success.
-Your products and services are a direct reflection of your company values and core organization.
-Delivery counts. Do what you say you’re going to do; every time.
-Every contact a customer has with your business will determine how they feel about your brand.
-The interior and exterior of your company influences how people feel about doing business with you.
By paying closer attention to all of the elements of your image, you’ll improve public perceptions and customer service which will ultimately increase your sales and overall brand experience.