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- Outdoor Signs – Is your sign cracked, chipped, badly faded, or simply outdated, such as an old logo?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