Ask yourself this question: What do I want my customers to say and think about my product and company? Answering this question will help you determine what kind of identity you want to establish. For example, do you want your image to be that of a pioneer, innovative, high tech, reliable, full of status, conservative? When determining your identity, you must also evaluate and consider three important factors:
If your business is providing entertainment to children parties your identity is likely to be fun and lighthearted. Your logo would encompass bright colors and it would be highly appropriate to have balloons in your office. Your image must make sense and match what you do. If you sell expensive custom watches, your image must communicate status and elegance, but a tire wholesaler has to convince his customers his product is reliable and durable. In general, professions dealing with finances project conservative images. Companies dealing with advanced technologies project modern images. Advertising agencies and design firms reflect artistic identities.
A rule of thumb to follow in developing your identity is that it should match the identity of your customers and potential customers. If you own a corporate cleaning service and are targeting Wall Street Firms, you should project the conservative image of your potential customers. You might be tempted to think, "I'm not handling the money, I'm just cleaning their offices," but that would be a mistake. People like to deal with people who reflect their own image. It makes them more comfortable because they are dealing with a known entity, someone they can relate to and understand. It's important to remember that there is always a subtle, yet pervasive psychology operating as a potential customer makes a decision to buy. Although the quality of your product and service is a major factor in the outcome of the process, they judge your company by its image. If you become business associates, your image and reputation will impact on their image and reputation. That's why a business are so careful about who becomes associated with them.
You must also determine the image your competitors have. There are two schools of thought on this issue. One that says your own business identity should come close to your competitor's and the other that says you should stand out from your competition. For an identity with the greatest impact, you want an appropriate blend of the two. If you're a new pharmaceutical company and your competition has been in business for several years and has an excellent reputation, you will not be able to match their image in terms of consistency and reliability. You shouldn't try. Certainly, you'll want to project an image that like them, you have smart and trustworthy people working for you. But what you need is an image that can give you a competitive advantage. In this situation you would construct your identity to suggest that you're an "innovator. "You would turn to the fact that you're a new, fresh company with a different approach to research and development to your advantage. Your advertisements would stress that because you don't have to deal with a tangled bureaucracy, you can spend more time coming up with cutting-edge products. Write down what you would like your business identity to be:
DETERMINE YOUR BUSINESS IDENTITY
___ Type of Business and Product
___ Type of Customer
Richard D. Adams is much more than just your average tax accountant. Before he started his own practice, Richard worked at the corporate level for over six years with Fortune 500 companies within the
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