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 ( 850-582-5743.

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