Maintaining A Professional Image For Your Business

We all know that a business needs to impress the target market if it’s going to be successful. You’re competing for the attention of consumers that are potential clients for your company. Your industry might be crowded with rival businesses that offer the same or similar services to your company, but the thing that defines every business is its brand. That’s how you stand out from the crowd. That’s how consumers make their decisions when it comes to buying goods and services. And that’s why it’s so important to maintain a professional image if you want to impress your company’s potential and existing customers. Here’s some advice to help you do so.

Create a productive workforce.

The first step towards creating a professional image for your business is to create a productive workforce. Your company can’t hope to deliver on its promises of excellent products and excellent customer service if it isn’t backed by a hardworking and talented team of professionals. The success of your brand depends on your employees. They need to be professional on the phone or social media when talking to customers, but they also need to create a professional product. And the key to this is happiness. Keep your workers happy so that they deliver a professional service. You might want to offer incentives such as bonuses for the hardest workers every week. Reward your employees for their productivity and they’ll maintain that high standard of work.

Additionally, you need to hire the right people in the first place. Your workforce will suffer if there are a few employees that bring down the overall productivity of the team by slacking on the job or simply delivering a sub-par product and service. It’s vital that you get the recruitment process right when it comes to keeping your employees productive. One worker’s negativity or apathy can affect the work ethic of everyone else in the workplace. You might want to look into a specialist that can provide a criminal record search on candidates applying for job positions at your company. You need to get the hiring process right so that your office is full of professional and motivated individuals. That’ll boost your brand’s overall image when it comes to the way in which your members of staff interact with clients.

Keep your business’ information safe.

In this age of digital business, your company needs to prioritize data security if it wants to maintain a professional image. Customers expect a certain level of safety when they hand over their personal information to a company. If you want to maintain their trust and the reputation of your brand then you need to make sure that you’re keeping that client information incredibly secure. With the right firewall and security measures in place, you’ll be able to spot a breach in your system’s security and shut it down before any damage is done to precious company information.

Remember that a simple brand is essential.

When you look at the most successful brands throughout history, you’ll notice that simplicity is key. If you want your business to maintain a professional image then don’t overcomplicate things. Keep your message and your identity clear. Clarity is professional, and it tells customers that your company knows exactly what it’s all about. A cluttered brand design, a messy website, and too many different slogans or statements will overwhelm consumers. People won’t see a clear brand identity, and that’ll seem unprofessional. Keep things simple.

Your Look. Your Personality. Your Brand Voice.

The best brands connect with consumers and build long-term relationships through carefully crafted and controlled messaging. A logo, alone, is not enough. You see – once a small business has a strong logo, it’s important to bring the brand to life by developing a brand voice. No matter how small the business, putting a face behind the brand and building a brand voice is key to driving the conversation, building relationships, and standing out from the crowd.

Even more, a clear brand voice transforms a brand from just a product or service into a personality that’s consistent with the business’s values, target audiences and advertising goals. A brand voice can be used to inform all messaging choices a small business brand must make, from brochures and print advertisements to website content and social media interactions.

Why Is a Brand Voice Important for Small Business?

[wcm_restrict]A brand voice tells consumers not just what a company does, but also who makes it all possible. The brand voice is about the people behind the brand – the things that drive them, the goals they aspire to accomplish, and the ways they hope to serve their community. Perhaps more importantly, speaking in a consistent brand voice enables a company to build trust with its customers across all touchpoints, and establish lasting relationships.

Developing a Small Business Brand Voice

The brand voice, when outlined and enforced across each business department, provides guidance for messaging and content published across all marketing mediums, from print ads and direct mail to brochures, websites, social media profiles, email and more. Establishing these guidelines ensures that no matter the marketing channel, the messaging will reflect the new brand, and the brand personality will be consistent across all channels.

So, where does a small business start when building its brand voice guidelines? It’s not something that can be created on a whim, nor is it something that can be developed entirely based on a trend. A brand voice is an expression of a company’s values and its way of thinking, so it must grow out of what a business genuinely believes in and stands for.

Identifying Your Audiences

First and foremost, a small business should work to identify its two to four main audience groups. These could be Current Customers, Prospective Customers and Info Seekers. From there, build archetypes, where each audience segment is described in detail. This could include preferred communication mediums, demographics, job title and more.

Plus, it’s important to highlight how often each group will be targeted, and tie it back into business goals. For example, if the business wishes to increase its current yield, 80 percent of content could be geared toward Current Customers, while 20 percent is directed at Prospective Customers and Info Seekers.

Identifying Your Brand’s Persona

Next, a business needs to identify its brand’s persona. Is the personality described as an educated woman who has a professional, friendly tone? Is the personality that of a middle-aged businessman who has a well-developed understanding of the interests and concerns of his community?

Businesses must consider the target audience – their preferences, their behavior, and to whom they respond best—and create a personality that speaks to them, while maintaining the brand’s values and objectives. Then, identify five to seven adjectives to describe that persona. As an example, the educated woman mentioned above could be depicted as authoritative, trustworthy, supportive, approachable and pleasant.

Language Guidelines

Next, a business must establish language guidelines that should be adhered to across all channels. After all, it’s not just what you say; it’s how you say it. Language guidelines can include things like:

  • Keep it Simple: Relatable, easily digestible language should be used whenever possible. Technical jargon, if used, should be well explained.
  • Check the Facts: Any and all advice should be well researched and current. Include authoritative citations when possible, to reinforce trustworthiness. Facts should not violate any of the basic principles articulated by the brand.

Content Categories

Now that audiences have been identified, a persona has been built and language guidelines have been established, a business needs to determine what its audiences are most interested in reading and learning about. From in-depth articles to fun checklists to engaging blog posts, brands should highlight the key content buckets that will attract the sought-after audience base. Content categories might include tips and tricks, fan reviews and testimonials, seasonal content, and more.

Ultimately, brands should be like people – each having a unique voice that sets it apart and enables customers to establish a strong, trustworthy connection with the business. So, take your brand, give it a human face and keep it consistent. Customers who visit your website, chat with a representative, or visit your social media pages all should have the same experience. It’s up to you to decide just how meaningful that experience will be.[/wcm_restrict][wcm_nonmember]

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About the Author

Dan AntonelliDan Antonelli has over 20 years’ experience in small business logo design and marketing strategy. As CEO and Creative Director of Graphic DSigns, Inc., The Small Business Advertising Agency®, he’s helped nearly a thousand individual brands recognize the better side of business. The definitive industry expert on logo design for small business, Dan has authored three books on the subject, including his latest ‘Building a Big Small Business Brand’, and established his agency as the premier brand-building agency for small businesses nationwide.