Business begins with an idea. Once you decide to move forward with this idea your business begins to grow. Some parts of the idea will work … some won’t. During the process your business begins to develop a character. This character engages your business with your customers.
Your customers will begin to think of your business in terms of reputation. Perhaps you’re able to offer the newest products, an outstanding commitment to customer service or a unique skill set.
Your business will also have personality. Do customers think your business is fun, friendly, serious, sombre, loud, quiet, caring, technical? One way to understand your business personality is to look at how you and your employees dress and the look of your business location.
If you think about your past customers, what would they say about doing business with your company. What is your reputation? How your customers feel after doing business with you is what drives your brand.
How can you find out what customers think of you? Ask. It’s that simple. Many businesses are afraid to ask for honest feedback, but remember, business needs accurate information to be healthy. Recognize this as a critical step in growth. You have an opportunity to enhance the experience for your future customers by building on your achievements and addressing areas that are holding your business back.
There can be a massive gap between what you think you are giving and what your customers feel they are receiving. Small changes in your business model can make huge differences in customer satisfaction. It’s human nature to believe your words and actions are sending the message you want others to understand. The only way you’ll find out if your communications support your desired message is to ask.
You cannot create a brand – only influence it. A brand is the state in which your business exists as defined by your customers. Your most important job will be to discover what your reputation is and work to refine it so your brand – your promise to future customers – is truly aligned with your best business purpose.
Visual branding is an alignment of a professional logo, website, colours, typeface – everything the eye sees – into one cohesive message. The purpose of visual branding is to persuade your customers to believe in the promise your reputation suggests.