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Your brand image is a reflection of your and on your personal brand, your professionalism and business. Take a good look at the best brands from around the world and you will see they have one core brand image throughout everything. So why give your brand dyslexia and multiple personality disorder? It's important to have a consistent brand image that'll let people know you mean business and so guest will turn into clients without fear.
I admit, that sounds a bit confusing so let me explain the difference between consistent brand image and how I see many businesses ‘out there' in the world. Also, then I'll go into how to give yourself and your business a consistent brand image that'll be recognizable and convey a good sense of professionalism.
Example of a bad brand image
As we don't want to name names and point finders, so my example here is imaginary with fake names but they are all taken from real brands.
Imagine Acme Corp Enterprises, they create widgets locally for you and your business friends. They are a local shop, with a modest size. Nothing to be overly impressed by, but nothing overly small either. They pride themselves as being the most organized and efficient widget makers in the area.
The sign hanging outside above the front-door has grunge vintage look to it, even though it's new. It's mostly an off-white faded color with some fake ‘specs' to make it look old. The words “Acme Corp” are written on it next to a logo of a hammar and widget. It hangs above the bright red front-door which sites cleanly between two modern triple pane huge windows with a 60ft LCD screen in one of them.
Walking in, you are greeted by a friendly receptionist wearing her own business casual clothing. Something you'd see in any small town shop. The carpeting is old and musky, but her desk looks brand new, but cheap with some fake plants scattered around it. After being lead past her desk to the back of the office.
The walls are lined a few random inspirational posters, and the desks you walk past have some old computers on them mixed in with new computes along with scattered files, family pictures and brand new executive chairs at each desk. You finally arrive at the meeting room.
A very executive looking meeting room at that. A pristine mahogany table sits in the middle with extra large expensive healthy chairs lining the sides. As you look around, you oddly see nothing about the company in the room save for a single flier on the wall with with name “Acme” on it with a completely different logo.
After waiting for 25 minutes Mrs. President comes to greet you, she is holding a corporate kit to give you but it also has yet another different logo on it. The documents aren't in order, nor are they even well made in fact. Attached to this kit is her business card for Acme Corp Enterprises, which is a neon green color using the horrible comic sans font and an advertisement for her husbands window washing business on the back, doesn't even look new. It looks a bit worn.
Do you see where this example is going? Nothing about their brand image in consistent. Not the color schemes, not the expectations one gets about them, not even the business behavior!
Example of a good brand image
Let's use Acme Corp Enterprises again, but this time let's look at them in a parallel universe where they are awesome and consistent.
As you approach the building, you see their hanging sign is a rather modern and industrial looking sign. They make these widgets and it's design sort of looks like a widget. Upon arrive, the receptionist greets you as usual. Her desk is a pristine, wooden desk with a few ferns (for air quality) and roses strategically placed in-order to make it all look rather nice.
She calls for Mrs. President and asks you to wait a just a minute and directs you to the modern looking couch chairs. After waiting a minute, Mrs. President comes out and greets you. Both she and the receptionist are dressed in near matching business attire (suits) that speaks to their high professional image.
As you walk past the main desk and into the main area, you see each desk is properly organized and has matching corporate material on each. Each desk has similar computers that complement the design of the interior.
The inside has a fresh new wooden floor, metal sides and i-beams across the top which speak to the widget industry theme rather well. The meeting room is nice, but not all that different than the other desks and tables. She presents you with a well organized corporate kit with her professional business card attached. Her business card is simple, yet it matches her industry theme. It's simple, white card with simple text and her contact information. That's it.
The conference room has images of the company culture and the results adorning the walls.
Let's be honest …
The second Acme Corp Enterprises seems a lot better and more trust worthy right? That's all because they had a very consistent brand image. So how do you get this way:
How to have a consistent brand image:
- Match all your corporate branding. Make sure your website matches your business cards, which matches your fliers, which matches what you say.
- Live and breath your core values. If you claim you are professional, be it. Make sure you're on time, well dressed, and are a good example of what ‘professionalism' means in your industry.
- Make sure your culture, company and business themes all match. If you are saying your new age and very modern, it'll not speak well to your sales if, for example, your offices are all vintage looking.
- Business cards: ‘what are you telling people' on them? Are you telling them you're trying to sell them something right on the card? Are you trying to get them to take action through the card? Then that's not a business card. A business card, is what (as far as I know) are called “Name cards” in Asia. It has your name, position (if applicable), company name, and brief contact information.
The biggest thing, no matter what you do: be consistent with it. That builds credibility and trust.