How to create a company image?
Creating a positive image of your company should be one of the main tasks to consider when opening up a business. A company image means opinions and associations customers hold of your company. The idea is to keep these opinions consistent with what the company says about itself, and with how the company wants to be seen.
Why is company image important?
First and foremost, it influences the effectiveness of business activities such as selling products or services. You need to learn how to use it to achieve your business objectives. A positive and effective image means better sales, more customers, more positive experiences (e.g. recommending your company to friends) and greater development opportunities.
However, creating a company image and then a brand identity is neither simple nor quick. Image-building activities require hard work, a consistent marketing strategy and competent customer service at a very high level. This is how the biggest brands do it – Nike, Coca-Cola, Vouge.
What is a company image made up of?
The truth is that you have no direct influence on the image of your company (you cannot tell your customers what to think of your business), but you can shape it indirectly, using subtle and long-term actions, which aim at:
- making your company stand out among competition (this is where visual identity products come in handy, both external and internal),
- specifying values you want your company to advocate and the position on the market you want to achieve,
- creating an individual character of your company,
- involving all employees in working towards business objectives.
The company should have a well-defined identity (the ideal image it wants to sell) as well as the way of communicating with clients (the way employees behave and dress, advertisements, online presence, sponsoring events and many others). It is important that all of your business activities are performed consistently and that they are focused on specific objectives. Lack of consistency gives your clients conflicting messages, and lack of reliable information is the biggest enemy of a positive company image.
For example, if you own a travel agency, you have to make sure that the trips you sell are associated with safety and good fun. Hence, you should focus on educating your staff (they should know everything not only about the trip, but also about customs in a given country, how to dress, risks, insurance policies), creating informative leaflets (e.g. about what to take with you, what to do and whom to contact in case of problems), expanding the offer of available activities, improving external and media advertising (e.g. starting a forum for travelers or a blog where customers could share their experiences).
To sum up. Before you start a business you need to ask yourself two questions: How do I want to be seen? and What actions should I take to achieve it?