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  • Outdoor Signs – Is your sign cracked, chipped, badly faded, or simply outdated,  such as an old logo?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?”

Marketing Like A Drug Dealer

 

Marketing is a tough gig when there are thousands of competitors online and sometimes dozens of local competitors to contend with in your marketplace. You have to stand out from your competitors. Your product and service has to be so good that people want to come back over and over. However, you have to entice them to initially come to you and then get them hooked. Then you have a loyal client for years to come as long as you provide a quality product or service. It sounds a little like a drug dealer, doesn’t it?

Marketing Like A Drug DealerWell, that’s okay as long as you’re not offering drugs. One other thing a drug dealer does is to let others sample their “product.” They are banking on their product being so good that the person will be back with money the next time. Transfer this practice over to legitimate business practice and you have coupons or free samples. Let’s take an ice cream shop, for instance. Most ice cream shops have little taster spoons which they will scoop a sample of a flavor for you to try before you buy. Once you taste it, you are hooked and you fork over the cash. Restaurants are prime businesses for this practice. Offer coupons for a free appetizer and watch how people come with their whole family or a group of friends. There’s a pretty high probability that these patrons will be buying other items such as drinks, entrees, desserts, or other appetizers. Therefore, your “free” coupon actually yielded a paying customer or most often customers. Another common occurrence would be free wine tasting by wine shops or wineries. You try; you like; you buy. What a simple concept. Spend a little on free giveaways and make a bundle on new purchases.

Give your business a long hard thought about what you can offer for free that will not only attract new clients, but will also spur further or future purchases. Something about your business has that ability to hook people. For Perfect Imprints, it is our graphic design. We have an unrivaled graphics department that can design anything from t-shirts to business cards to billboards. We offer 30 minutes of free graphic design with any purchase of promotional products for all online orders. This is often needed to convert logos over to a print ready format.

So go ahead and be like a dealer and watch your business grow. You won’t have to be continually looking over your shoulder for undercover po pos, but do look for increased sales. You can have almost an immediate response for this as long as you get the word out about your free samples.

Comparing Apples to Apples With Your Marketing

 

When marketing your company, there are literally thousands of concepts, products, and mediums you can use. There is video, web marketing, full color printing, promotional products, billboards and other signage, text message marketing, and email marketing. With each of these marketing mediums, there are thousands of companies that offer the services, however, not all of them are equals. You can’t compare apples to oranges.

Let’s take promotional product distributors, for example. There are thousands of distributors who all have access to the same promo items as every other distributor. We all deal with the same factories, of which there are around 4000. However, that doesn’t make us all equals. The majority of distributors just “dabble” in promotional items for extra money. Because many of these distributors only do this on a part-time basis, their knowledge is limited. Our company, Perfect Imprints has been doing this full-time for over 12 years and our employees are highly trained in marketing tactics, graphic design, and promotional products application for business and marketing. We regularly attend educational seminars, read trade journals, stay current with the most popular trends, and most importantly have learned from past mistakes. We know what works and what doesn’t work.

To distribute promotional items, there’s a lot more than simply calling the factory and placing an order. There is a lot of setup process and research involved prior to placing the order for the physical products. However, most of these part-time distributorships don’t have the expertise to properly take care of their client’s needs. The most important step is the graphic design aspect. The graphic design is foundation of the whole process. With a poor design, the printed product will be poor, as will the outcome of your marketing campaign. On the hand, though, a nice, clean and effective layout will sell your brand and help your overall campaign become more successful.

Another important step is to choose the right product for your purpose. Pictures can be deceiving in catalogs and on websites. Not to mention, there are sometimes hundreds or even thousands of very similar items, so the specific item you are ordering may not be the suitable product for your intended purpose. This is where an experienced and knowledgeable distributor comes in handy. Because of our years of experience, we are familiar with thousands of products and have been exposed to even more than that. We know when certain products won’t be a good fit for your campaign and we can make recommendations for other products. If we don’t know the answer, we know how to do the thorough research to get the answers for you.

As an experienced distributor, we have already made the mistakes of using factories with inferior products or inferior printing processes. We have a database of around a million products. Many are poor design or cheap in quality and we know which ones to avoid. We have filtered our databases to only allow for top notch quality products and reputable factories. We have developed great relationships with many great factories in which we can get special privileges and pricing that other distributors can’t get. That, of course, passes benefit to our clients.

As you can see, our experience translates to success for your marketing campaigns. We don’t treat any order as “just an order.” We treat all of our orders as investments for our clients. We thrive on making your promotional investments a success. Because, after all, when you are successful, you’ll come back to us over and over again. Together, we make each other successful. Talk to you Soon!

What is the Most Stolen Item From All Businesses?

 

promotional pensOut of the thousands of business types in the world, we all have at least 1 thing in common. We all have one product that is stolen more than any other from each of our businesses. This holds true from plumbers to retail stores to banks to restaurants and any other businesses who deal face to face with customers.  This Klepto-friendly item is a simple pen. How many times have on of your clients needed to sign a credit card receipt or work order and you handed them a pen and then they walked off with it. Then you don’t realize it until they are gone. It happens all the time and I’m sure that you even walked off with someone’s pen before. I know I have several times. I actually ended up with a really nice high dollar one time from “accidentally” walking off with it. No really it was accidental.

So, since this act of kleptomania happens so often, why would you buy blank pens from an office supply store for this? Why not buy promotional pens so that people are walking away with a marketing piece with your contact info? I have clients that have bought pens and those pens end up in some odd places all over town. I have seen some of my client’s pens at gas stations and restaurants even though they never gave any pens to them. But, likely an employee snagged a pen, brought it to work and left it there or a previous recipient signed their credit card slip and left their pen there. It’s cheap advertising. Your pens end up all over town with your business name and phone number. Pens are still the most used promotional product that you can buy.

I would warn you, though, to not buy pens that are too cheap. Buy a pen that has a good feel and writes well. If you do this, people will keep them. I get promotional pens given to me all the time and I’m quick to throw them away to reduce clutter if it is too cheap of a pen. I want a pen that works and not one that skips or one that is too lightweight or not one that even looks cheap.

If you have pens in your office supplies budget anyway, why not spend a little more money and get pens that work well and actually market your business. Promotional pens get around the block a few times and are a great inexpensive investment. By doing this, the money spent no longer is an expense, but it becomes an investment.

Select Your New Website Domain Carefully

 

As of March 5, 2012, there were about 138 million registered domains with about 100,000 new domains registered everyday. Having a domain name for your business is now a vital part of any business plan. Even if you don’t sell online, you need to have a web presence so your potential clients have a way to learn about your business. Be careful, though, what domain name you select. You don’t want to give the wrong image of your company. I’ll give you some funny examples of domain names gone wrong.

Here are some examples:

  1. Kids Exchange translates to KidSexChange.net – I don’t get a good initial impression on this one.
  2. Who Represents translates to WhorePresents.com – I’ll steer clear of this website too.
  3. Therapist Finder translates to TheRapistFinder.com – No thanks, I don’t need to find a rapist. This site main url was changed to CounselingCalifornia.com recently. Good move on their part I think.
  4. North Lake Tahoe translates to GotaHoeNorth.com – Well we’ve got ‘em in the South, so I’m not surprised they have them in the North too.
  5. Winters Express displays as WinterSexPress.com – I’ll be avoiding this site as well.
Now these are real domain names. I’m not making them up. I can not speak negatively about any of these businesses or organizations, but I can say that they probably did not really look a the domain name carefully before selecting it. If you do have a business name that could be misinterpreted like the examples above, it is wise to buy the domain for brand protection, but also buy another domain which will serve as your main domain. The other potentially misinterpreted domain can just forward to your main domain.
When you buy your domain name, look it over carefully. Then get feedback from friends and family. This is a major part of your company or organization image. Websites are critical and absolutely necessary for maximal success.