When developing a small business, establishing the right image is key to building relationships with clients. The impression individuals form of your business depends on a range of factors—branding, personal interactions, web presence, reputation—each of which you should carefully consider. Below are a few tips to help you improve your small business image.
Why is image important to a company?
Feedback from customers and staff can be invaluable in evaluating your image. You may think that you are projecting a particular image when in actuality, something gets lost in translation. Of course, it’s important to get a good number of opinions, particularly from within your target audience. When you’ve collected feedback from relevant sources, summarize your conclusions: What works well, and what could be improved?
Clarify your message
It's time to decide what you want your core message to be. You likely have a range of values you want to communicate about your business, but focusing on one gives you a clear, concise message. Pick a slogan—a phrase that will be memorable and get the main ethos of your business across to a new audience. Your message should be compelling and make people want to do something.
Keep it consistent
Consistent branding is vital to the importance of your business image. It gets your message across, promoting your business and increasing brand awareness. Ensuring you have a cohesive aesthetic across your physical business, promotional materials, and web pages is a big part of consistency. It will mean that anything to do with your business is instantly recognizable because of the look and color scheme. Always having your message and logo present on these materials will aid your slogan in becoming synonymous with your business (for example, Nike and "Just do it.")
Of course, your company image extends beyond its physical appearance. It also pertains to the actions and interactions of your business with others. The manner in which you and your employees communicate with clients or other businesses reflects how people perceive your company. Having simple guidelines about how to deal with customers or business associates can be helpful. Consistency across all these areas will help portray the type of small business image you desire.
Rachel Hemsley is a psychology graduate from the University of Exeter. She now specializes in internet marketing and works at the Fountain Partnership.