The most important element of a company image is that it’s consistent in everything you do — from the company logo on your employees’ shirts to your business cards to your website. Everything done on behalf of the business should fit into that one consistent image. It provides a professional, customer-facing appearance that is attractive to potential customers.
Naturally, the image should fit the industry. That same landscaping company probably should not send employees out in three-piece suits, and business consultants should not approach clients in cargo shorts and flip-flops. Determine the image of your industry first, and then tweak it to differentiate yourself with your own image that people will learn to recognize. From its earliest days, long before it became a global giant, IBM demanded that all their sales people wore blue or dark suits, white shirts and conservative ties. It is rumoured that that look helped to establish the company’s informal name of “Big Blue.”
Stretching that image across every facet of the business takes a lot of thought and some effort. Stepping back to look at your business with an objective eye, will help to discover the places where the image is not consistent. Business owners need to strive for that consistency, and one out-of-place element, such as the website design not matching business cards, can potentially create a disconnect in the eyes of your customers.
When I ran a company called The Marketing Resource Group (MRG), I aimed to have a consistent image. The original company logo I had designed was used on every piece of collateral material, including business cards, the website, and every PowerPoint presentation we created. It provided a very consistent look for everything that was visible to the public. This may sound like a no-brainer, but thousands of businesses do not connect the dots when it comes to their image and just assume that their customers or prospective customers will figure it out –or worse — that they don’t care. That thinking is wrong. It does matter. So unless you’re a graphic artist by profession or have a creative streak, you will want to invest in hiring a company to design your logo, business cards and all the other collateral material.
A very good example of a company with a very identifiable outfacing corporate image is Apple, which has a consistent look to its products and a corporate image that people can see from a distance. Take a look at an iPod, and compare it to an iPad, an iPhone and a Mac computer. Then contrast the products to the advertising and marketing around Apple, as well as its stores and even the unique appearance of the late Steve Jobs. It’s an image that everyone recognizes and it’s consistent!
Excerpted from Greg’s upcoming book-Get More Life Out of Your Business©
Copyright © Greg Weatherdon 2013
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