In any business environment image is critical but with many players offering similar products and services it becomes even more important. Every time a person is exposed to your business in any way their perception of who you are is affected. From the time they first become aware of your business to the point at which they engage with your company to the point at which they avail themselves of your services the idea of what your business is about is formulated in their mind. They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. In reality you never get a second chance to make any impression. The impact of the many points in the business cycle that create your business image cannot be underestimated.
How Your Image is Built
Every time a person is exposed to your business in any way your image is affected. From that perspective the number of points that this occurs is almost endless. Advertising, web site, phone communication, and face to face interaction can take place in a number of ways and each one is important. Every instance is an opportunity to build a positive image. And no business opportunity should be taken lightly.
Know Who You Are
What drives you to do what you do? This is the underlying question that defines you, your business and ultimately your business image. And every opportunity to build your image should make this statement. Consistency equates to simplicity. When people receive the same message consistently when dealing with your business they understand what your company stands for and reach a comfort level with that image. With inconsistency comes confusion and discomfort. So it’s important to be very clear about why you do what you do. For example ‘I repair vehicles to provide my customers with a happy, safe driving experience at a reasonable cost.’ Whatever it is that motivates you to do what you do is the message you want to deliver when conducting business with others. Everyone that’s in business wants to deliver value to their customers. Being clear about what that value is will be the answer to building your image.
Where the Message is Communicated
The message of who you are is delivered in everything you do. So every advertisement, interaction and printed document is an opportunity to deliver your message. This would probably be very simple if you personally delivered every message but in business that’s not what happens. Customers interact with your business through advertisers, employees and others. So these people must know what your message is and who you are. This message must be enforced and re-enforced. It should be evident in your actions and words and therefore be evident in the actions and words of everyone and everything that represents your business.
Putting it Together
Defining your image in the eyes of your customer requires a conscious effort to ensure the integrity of each message delivered. Every aspect of customer interaction should be evaluated to ensure that the message of who you are is enforced. The message should be simple, consistent and clear. The result will be that your image will be true to your vision of what your business should be.