How Important Is Your Company Image?

 

How important is your company image and what portrays your company image?

There are many factors and facets of your business that represent your corporate image.  Even small businesses, such as a sole proprietorship should be concerned with their corporate image.  Having a positive image is critical to compete with your competitors.  Any negativity, poor spelling or poor grammar, old or dated material, incorrect information, amateur logo design, poor quality literature or promotional products could give your company a shady or a “fly by night” image, which is, of course, bad for business.

truck with peeling vinyl lettering on the side

This delivery truck has a section of peeling vinyl letting on it. Now, it's obvious that the word with missing letters is supposed to say "Lessons." However, upon first glance, it reads, "Less Service." What kind of company image does this broadcast?

Here are some of the aspects of a typical business that display your corporate image.

  • Outdoor Signs – Is your sign cracked, chipped, badly faded, or simply outdated,  such as an old logo?
  • Car Magnets – Vehicle magnets only last for a few years depending on the weather conditions of your area. High heat and coastal areas will typically decrease life span for magnets and they will fade, crack, or start peeling after a few years.
  • Vehicle Lettering – Just like car magnets, vinyl lettering and wraps on vehicles will fade, peel, or bubble over time and should be replaced.
  • Outdoor Banners – Vinyl banners when exposed to the elements will eventually rip and fade.
  • Yard Signs – Yard signs are meant for short-term use and not for long-term use, so when they start to look bad, toss them out and replace them.
  • Business Cards – Don’t go with cheap card stock or a printer who has a poor quality print. Some small time printers don’t print in a high resolution and the print actually pixelates and becomes blurry. Also, the thin, cheap card stock gives your company a cheap look and can create a poor image. Use extra thick card stock and high quality printing. For the biggest impact, take advantage of full-color printing. And by all means, don’t print your cards at home with card stock that you buy from an office supply store. That is the quickest way to deter possible clients.
  • Brochures – Brochures should be a quick showcase of your company or your product/service. Don’t be too wordy or people won’t read them. Don’t use clipart from word processing programs. Make sure you have a professional brochure design. Paying for design fee is a necessary investment to get the most impact from your brochures. Take advantage of full color printing for the best result.
  • Flyers – See comment above for brochures. The same principle applies for flyers.
  • Logo – A logo design is crucial for any business, large or small. Even a one man show should have a logo design that helps identify your firm uniquely. It fosters a professional look and feel and helps create trust with potential clients. This is another area where you have to pay for professional design. Unless you are a graphic designer, the general rule is to avoid designing your own logo. You should, however, let your graphic designers know all about your ideas. Then let the designer use his/her creative juices to create a masterpiece.
  • Promotional Items – If you plan on buying cheap promotional items that don’t work or look bad, DON’T. It’s better to not buy any at all. Cheap and non-useful products do more harm than promotion. A cheap product that doesn’t work or breaks quickly promotes a cheap image of your company. You don’t want your customer’s last impression of you to be when they read your company name on the item as they toss it in the trash. Buy useful, good quality promotional products that customers will keep and use frequently. This will continually remind them of your company, and they will tend to recommend your business to others.
  • Business Forms – Spell check and proof carefully for grammatical errors prior to printing. If forms have an incorrect address, phone number, email, logo, etc., print new forms. Do not just scratch out the incorrect data and write in the correct information. That looks tacky and unprofessional. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.
  • Website – You should have a nice, clean web design with updated content. Your website is an extension of your company and promotes you 24/7, either positively or negatively. Make sure every link works as expected, and that customers see you at your best. Like logo, brochure, and flyer design, your web pages are probably another area that, unless you are a registered computer geek, you need to pay an outside professional source to get the best results. This will pay off in the long run.
  • Social Media Pages – Post only appropriate information on your company pages. Monitor them frequently in case you have to remove any inappropriate comments, and update them as often as you can to keep your fans or followers engaged. Let your customers see your personal side (after all, it is social media), but know where to draw the line.
  • Email Correspondence – Double check emails for spelling, typos, and grammatical errors. If you send out an email newsletter, make sure you have a nice looking design that compliments your website, printed literature, business cards, and logo, tying them all together. It’s important to have a uniform look for branding purposes. This adds a level of professionalism to your business that many small to mid-size companies fail to do.
  • Direct Mail Pieces – Use only good quality material with professional layouts. Always check for errors prior to printing.

The list above is by no means meant to be complete, but rather a list of the most common areas where a little effort can reap big rewards in polishing your company image.  Anything that has your business name or logo on it should represent your company in a positive manner that is consistent with your branding, no matter what size your business.  By keeping a professional and consistent image, you will build your business much easier and have a smaller chance of losing potential customers due to a poor first impression.  So now the question is, “What does your company image portray to potential customers, and what are you going to do about it?”

Branding Checklist For Small Business

 

Branding

So some people ask, “What is Branding?” Steering clear of any cattle, branding in business simply means the identity of a business or product. A well know example would be Kleenex. Kleenex has done such a great job of branding that many people don’t say, “I need a tissue,” but they say, “I need a Kleenex.” Kleenex is the name of the product; but it is now interchangeable with the type of product it is.

A top priority for any business should be to create a unique branded image and protect that image at all times. This means that any time you print business cards, brochures, promotional products, produce videos, post on social media, create custom apparel, or do any other forms of marketing, you should stay consistent with your brand. You have many competitors both locally and online that offer the exact same service, so how do you differ from them?

Below are 3 key points to use as a simple and easy checklist to make sure you are staying true to your branding when doing your marketing.

  1. Always use your logo. Think about how many people know the McDonald’s arches. Better yet, think about how many people DON’T know what the McDonald arches represent. While you may be a small business and your logo won’t be recognized nationwide, it will be recognized within your local business region if you brand it properly. Don’t skew the proportions of your logo and don’t change the colors. Sometimes you have to print black/white and that is okay. The ultimate goal is for people to be able to recognize your logo without having the business name printed below it. That’s successful branding!
  2. Stay true to your company colors. Most companies have certain colors used with their logo and their marketing theme, which is great. When possible, always use the color combination in both your marketing products and when printing your logo. This consistency of color branding reinforces your brand.
  3. Develop a tagline that highlights why your company is different from competitors OR a tagline that is catchy or funny and represents the mood of your company. Always use your tagline on any printed products.

Overall, the main theme to remember in branding is consistency. Always keep a uniform look and make sure your employees understand this as well so your branding comes across consistent in all forms of communication. Over the long term, your branding will pay off big time and your company will have a much better recognition with not only your current clients, but also with potential clients who have yet to use your products or services.

BRANDING – Maximizing the potential of your business image

 

Your brand is so much more than just your logo. It even includes how you and your employees dress, how you present your products and services, how well your website reinforces your business model, and even how you and your team answer the telephone. Branding is how you communicate your business image to the outside world on a consistent basis.
Before you can establish your brand, you need to delve into exactly what your core business is. You should have a catch phrase that captures the essence of what it is you bring to the table, and include it whenever your talk to customers. Here are 10 questions you should ask yourself as you try to capture your brand personality:
• What is your business name?
• Tagline?
• What do you do?
• Who are your main competitors?
• …and why are you so much more brilliant than they are?
• Who are your customers (your market)?
• What specific impression would you like your clients to have of your business?
• What are the benefits of what you do?
• Why do your customers buy from you rather than the competition?
• If you had to summarize your business’s image in three key words, they would be
o ____________________
o ____________________
o ____________________
Now evaluate what you are doing today. How well does it communicate your brand personality? Design can be a very personal, subjective thing. As such, it can be a difficult thing to farm out such things as logo design. Getting an outside opinion, however, can go a long way toward avoiding inappropriate messages. Even using the wrong font or color in business communications can send conflicting messages to your customer.
How is the tone of voice in your written brochure text? Does it convey the right level of professionalism without being overly stilted? Get your friends and colleagues to look over your material and check to see if their impressions reflect what you intended. If not, perhaps it is time to make changes and work on the consistency of your branding efforts.
Keep control of your brand! Even if no changes are required, and your brand personality is where you want it to be, make sure everything in your organization supports that image. If anything has drifted afield of your goals, make sure you take action to bring it in line. Your bottom line will reflect your efforts.
Tom Godbold, Perfect Imprints (www.perfectimprints.com) 850-582-5743.

I’m So Hungry I Could Eat The . .

 

interassional
I’ve heard the expression, “I’m so hungry I could eat the back end of a mule.” However, the typical expression has another word substituted for the underlined word. While I have heard this expression used several times when someone is really hungry, I’ve never seen a place where this may actually be a reality….until today. Take a look at this picture I took at a restaurant. Now, obviously the ‘n” fell off of the sign, but now instead of ready International Buffet, I read this phonetically as Interassional Buffet. Doesn’t sound very appealing does it? Your image for your business is critical to be successful. If a portion of your sign falls off, you must fix it right away and not let potential clients get a poor first impression.  It’s difficult to get over a poor first impression for a business, but it’s easy to avoid it in many cases with some regular maintenance and upkeep.  Branding is a vital process for any business and keeping a consistent positive image should be done across all advertising mediums such as your sign, brochures, business cards, website, Facebook, Twitter, promotional products, and any other literature.

Do Your Customers Know Your Logo? Branding Issues

 


Bookmark and Share

Whether your company is a fortune 500 company or a small business, you should have a well-designed logo and proudly display every chance you get.  Every opportunity you get for branding counts toward growing your business.  Whether it be on your website, business cards, flyers or brochures, or promotional products, you should prominently display your logo.

The more people that are exposed to your corporate logo, the higher the chance that person will remember your company when they need your services or products.  Let’s face it…most of us are not lucky enough to have no competitors.  We all have competitors, and I’m sure you would rather people think of your business rather than a competitor’s business.  That’s why we should all heavily focus on branding our company.  Branding all starts with a logo that people can associate with your business.  The goal is for people to know your business name just from seeing your logo.  Once you have accomplished that, you know you have had some success with branding your image.  Promotional items are a great way to help boost your branding awareness campaign.  After all, everyone loves free stuff, and they are much more likely to remember your business name and logo if you have given them a free gift.  Good luck with your branding campaign!