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Image Marketing

How to Develop a Successful Business "Persona" 

by Valerie Giles
Graphic Designer and Internet Entrepreneur

You may ask, "Why?" If my business provides exceptional service and quality products; if we stand by our products and services and provide our customers with our best; then why do we need to worry about our business image?

In the past, when someone made the decision to go into business for themselves, there was seldom a question of whether they would succeed. Many business people had no business plans, had done no market research or even understood good management skills. They just opened their doors and grew.

Today, our marketplace is much different. Competition is fierce. Businesses must compete daily in order to stand out from the crowd, to be unique and to achieve brand recognition for their products and loyalty from their customers. It is not enough to know your business; you must be perceived to be successful, to provide the best product or service, and to stand by your product. Not only must you know your business, you must have an image--a "persona," that reflects this.

Many businesses get so caught up in the every day promoting and marketing of their products or services that they often neglect one very important item: a quality, consistent business image. Today, with so many businesses competing for the ever-shrinking consumer dollar, a professional image that stands out more than your competitor's becomes even more essential. It is important to be recognized in a consistently positive manner. Because you may only get one chance to create a positive first impression, you want it to be the very best one.

Where Do You Start?

Working with a graphic design professional will ensure that you achieve a successful image. All of your marketing and corporate materials will be consistent and reflect your success.

Start with a Logo. Careful consideration must go into a logo design in order to achieve the look you want. The type of business, profession and product will guide you in various directions. It is important to share your business expectations and market focus with your designer so she or he can better design an effective logo.

Deciding on a designer is important--someone who can relate to your business and to your competition, and someone who takes the time to find out about your business. A good designer asks a lot of questions before beginning the design process and should give you several good designs to choose from.

Good designers will keep in mind the ever-increasing uses for your logo. It must be adaptable for use not only on cards and letterhead, but on signage and perhaps the Internet. Your logo must be able to grow with your company. Remember, your logo is the image you present to the world -- be sure it's an impressive one.

Fonts, Ink Colors, and Paper Choices. Various fonts (type) are also used to reflect your image. Simplicity and professionalism are the key.

The next consideration is your choice of ink colors and paper choices for producing your stationery packages. Take note of the correspondence that you receive daily in the mail. Corporate professionals tend to use conservative and strong colors of ink. Blue and dark gray are the most popular choices for this group. But with more women in the boardrooms and young entrepreneurs in the technological and computer fields, colors are changing--becoming brighter and more adventurous. Popular color trends are desert colors--rust, green and indigo, for example. Trends to recycled papers are the result of our environmental focus. Today, the recycling process is so advanced that most quality papers are recycled in varying percentages of recycled content. The speckled fiber look is not as popular as it once was; even many high-end papers have recycled content.

Business Cards. Business cards are often the first and last impression that you give a customer; so it is imperative that yours be the best it can be. A quality business card reflects favorably on you. It shows that you have taken the time to properly market your products, and states, "We're important" even before you say a word. It reflects the quality of work that you do. In other words, "ordinary card, ordinary work; great card, great work." A quality card will give you the competitive edge, especially if your card and that of your competitors' are in the hands of a customer trying to make a decision.

Your image should reflect who you are. What image do you wish to project? And maintaining consistency with all your printed materials (logos, business cards, letterhead, invoices, brochures, advertisements and signage), as well as your web site design, will reinforce your credibility and professionalism, and enable you to build consumer confidence in your business.

With a great product, a successful business "persona" and a quality, consistent business package, your company is off to a positive start. Success is just around the corner.

Copyright © 2003 by Valerie Giles.

Valerie has published articles on many topics. You can read some of them on The Phantom Writers website.

 

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