In contrast to self-improvement, which often involves changes we desire to make for ourselves, building a better image is about making improvements in order to change the way we appear to others. In business terms, “branding” includes the activities and changes you make in order to change how your customers and prospects perceive your business.
Because your image, or brand, is really just that: perception. It’s not your logo, mission statement or décor—although all of those items are part of your brand identity. At its most practical and useful level, your brand image really consists of the perceptions that exist in the customer’s mind about who you are and the benefits your business provides that are established and either reinforced or undermined, each and every time they come in contact with you or with any facet of your business.
Building a better image is about putting the stamp of the personality, values, culture, beliefs—the very essence of what you really want your business to be—on every possible customer touch point. Why is this important? Without a strong brand image, you have to build a case for why you deserve someone’s business, every single time you get ready to make a sale. Businesses with strong brands are closing deals while others are still introducing themselves.
Key to any brand improvement or overhaul you want to make to your business are authenticity and employee buy-in, from the top down. Why? Because, while you can refine any of the components of your brand identity (your logo, mission and vision statements, tag line, décor, customer guarantees and assurances, and even your product and service mix) to their ideal best, if the customer experience in your business doesn’t line up with the promises you are making, that image will be shattered. And once lost, it can be next to impossible to regain the customer’s trust.
You can’t control other people’s perceptions, but you can thoughtfully design all of those elements of your brand identity which are under your control in order to build the best possible image in the mind of your customers and prospects—and that’s what branding is all about. You can download a free branding checklist from my website at this link.
Build a bigger role for your business in the lives of your clients – it’s going to be a great year!
Elizabeth Kraus, Author, 365 Days of Marketing
365 Days of Marketing is now available on amazon.com in book and digital formats as are my other books, Make Over Your Marketing and 12 Months of Marketing for Salon and Spa. Find more ideas and inspiration, subscribe to e-mails, read my blogs, connect with me on Facebook or visit 12monthsofmarketing.com.