28 Feb What Is Your Image Worth To You?
In today’s world, your business has all kinds of faces. There is your social media image, your local image, your customer image, your web image, and your overall corporate image. All of the “faces” are extremely important to the vitality of your business. Ideally, you should have a uniform image across the board. If a customer uses your service and you haven’t lived up to your promises, that leaves a poor image of your company. If a potential client follows your company through a various social media channel, and the employee in charge of your company is posting off-color remarks or links to potentially image harming sites, that’s obviously not a good thing. Your business should have a plan to spread the positive image of your company across all PR mediums. Your overall corporate image is what customers and non-customers first think of when they hear your company name or see your company logo. This image should be guarded at all costs.
One of the most important aspects of your corporate image is your logo. You should not be afraid to spend some money having a professional do your logo design. This is one area that is not a DIY project. I see businesses everyday in which it is evident that they “designed” their own logo. I also have to break the news to countless business owners that their specialty is construction, hair styling, accounting or “name your industry” and NOT in graphic design. You should have an expert graphic designer create your logo for you. Logos should reflect your overall business image that you want to portray. Logos are not just clipart with your business name typed underneath. Professional logo design is not something that can be done in an hour, unless your graphic design is very familiar with your business. It takes thorough research of your industry and your competitors. Just know that this will be one of the most important investments in your business.
Another aspect of your overall image would be your customer reviews. There are dozens of sites such as Yelp, Google Places, Yahoo Local, Bing Local, etc where customers can leave reviews of your business and services. I see so many businesses that are scared to death over getting a bad review and since they are so afraid they intentionally avoid creating Local pages online. If you are focusing on great customer service from the start, this won’t be an issue. Sure, you will get an occasional less than average review, but just know up front that you can’t make everyone happy initially. You can, however, try to make it up to them afterwards if you or your staff do mess up. Things happen. Humans are not perfect. Mistakes will occur and make for a poor user experience from time to time. But, the important thing is how you handle the situation afterwards. Respond to any negative review. Offer that person a gift certificate to come back and try out your business again. Then bend over backwards to make them happy. Once they are happy, ask them to write a response to their initial review. Besides, an occasional poor review makes the testimonials more authentic. Have you ever been on a site where every single review is 5 stars? Seems a little shady, right? Most likely it is. Remember the statement a few sentences back? “You can’t make everyone happy, initially.” Reviews sell. Reviews build confidence. Review build trust. Don’t be afraid of them; embrace them.
One very pivotal part of your company image is your printed media. This includes business cards, brochures, promotional products, banners, signs, postcards, and custom apparel. All of your printed items should have similar branding. Your logo should remain constant on everything. If your business has a certain color combination, you should stick to those specific colors as much as possible. The idea is for people to see your logo and recognize your company even if the name is not incorporated within the logo. Better yet, does your certain color combination for your business cause clients to think of your business. For instance, what major fast food restaurant chain is famous for the Red and Yellow color combination. Of course, McDonald’s. That’s the idea for your business.
Even if you are a small business, you must brand your company and foster a positive image. Logos are important. Branded items and apparel are important for professionalism and marketing. Everything down to your business card should be done professionally and adhere to a strict branding policy consistent with your desired image for your business. If you need help, don’t feel bad. If PR and marketing is not your business, stick to what you do best and let us experts in PR and marketing take care of your image.
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