The image that you project of your business packs a lot of power. So much power it could be said that it controls your future. In our increasingly image-conscious, visually aware world it’s never been more important to communicate the right image, personality, tone and position in every aspect of your branding strategy.
Your brand image may appear as thin as a pixel, as disposable as a paper cup, as fleeting as a few seconds on a radio station, and as intangible as an idea in someone’s head, but it has the power to affect the way customers, colleagues and suppliers perceive you.
Think of your image as the person at your office front door. Do people meet the:
a) Welcoming, efficient receptionist
b) Smiling commissionaire in top hat and tails
c) Pre-occupied Head Waiter doing ten things at once
d) Chummy janitor with bunch of leys
e) Hard-core “security” bouncer with bunch of fives
Each of these has his or her place, but which one best reflects and sells your service or product? Do you think your customers, colleagues and suppliers are being attracted to or repelled by your corporate brand? Without being personal, have you taken a good look at yourself recently?
Stay current with your business
It’s easy to lose touch with the image that you’re portraying. As a freelance brand director I know from experience that many a busy business person simply may not be able to clearly see what potential customers, potential employees and the general public can see. Are you projecting the most positive image so that people notice you and pay attention to what you’re offering?
If you haven’t been through your marketing material recently, here’s some pointers on where you can start:
1. Consider where you want your business to go. Where are you heading with products, services, finance and positioning? Do your touch-points reflect the direction that you want to head in? They need to complement your evolution and movement towards your goals.
2. Consider all your touch-points – not just the customer-facing ones. You need to communicate to employees and suppliers alike what your plans are. There could be passion out there waiting to help you, but you won’t connect if the right communication isn’t there.
3. Run a customer survey asking for feedback on the image that you’re projecting. A survey is one of the most effective ways of understanding your image. You may also want to ask some people who are new to your business, or better still complete outsiders to look at your logo, website and marketing collateral and give you some feedback.
When your image is a true reflection of all that you offer and stand for, then customers will come to trust your business. Trust is one of the biggest factors when it comes to a customer wanting to spend and actually opening the wallet. Trust is essential for the longer term too as it’s the basis for good, productive relationships.
Communicating your brand isn’t something to do once a year or even when you have a new product or service to launch. It’s something that needs to occur at every touch-point with all stakeholders all the time. It’s what constitutes the perception of your business. And perception is reality, as I have written about here > (link to blog k? Perception is Reality/Eye of The Tiger – is this possible?)
The good news is I’m not the only person or even the first person to think the same:
“O, would some Power the giftie gie us,
To see oursels as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us.” – Robert Burns
“A jest’s prosperity lies in the ear
Of him that hears it, never in the tongue
Of him that makes it.” – William Shakespeare
All I’m saying is – while drawing on over twenty eight years’ experience as a freelance Brand Director in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Manchester – look after your brand image: it’s valuable. Every so often take time out for a review of your brand so you can be sure that you’re reflecting the image that will take your business into a more profitable future. No matter how you look at it.
Brand image is a powerful tool that is often underused and misunderstood. Vincent Bissette of Brand Agency Darwin takes you deeper.