All companies, big and small have a brand and a corporate identity. Today customers, potential customers, business partners and employees form opinions, in large part through what they find on the Internet. This experience can be either through deliberate efforts on the company’s part or by default.
This paper will discuss how impression are formed and how to ensure that they are formed in the best interests of the enterprise. A well-designed website, search engine optimization and various types of marketing are not enough. The best website will be easily trumped by a bad review on Google, the BBB, Yelp or worse – rippoffreport.com. Unfortunately, negative information is considered highly relevant by Google and other search engines.
How your company is perceived is influenced by hundreds of factors, some within your control, and some not. Every industry is different. Some companies sell products, others sell services, or both. Some sell to other businesses (B to B) while some sell to consumers (B to C). Regardless of the industry, market, size, or product, there are certain steps to follow to manage perceptions and create equity in minds of those who matter. It is surprising how many businesses do not have a perception management program in place. Regardless of the variables, all companies must follow certain steps to maximize their sales, profits, footprint and ultimately market value. Below is a non-comprehensive list of steps.
- Branding – this means different things to different people and organizations. Even a solo practitioner CPA has a “brand”. In broad terms, your brand is how a customer views your product in terms of its identity, function, and benefits compared to its competitors or others within that category. There is a reason that Facebook, Google, Apple, and others have the brand recognition that they do. Likewise, there is a reason that Sears, J.C. Penney, Blackberry, and Johnny Manziel have seen their brands slowly deteriorate. In a nutshell, your brand must stand out and continue to stand out. Your goal is to own mindshare.
- Corporate Identity – this is how your company is perceived as big or small, successful or unsuccessful, well managed or not, progressive or not. Some refer to this as corporate reputation management.
- Messaging – How you communicate with your customers, employees, prospects, and business partners. Communication may be through a web site, email, advertising, third party reports, seminars, or trade shows. Your resources are limited only by your creativity. The most exciting part is that you are in control of the messages you send. The tools exist now to reach 100s of thousands of people with a carefully crafted message or a series of messages (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Websites video blogs). People like Justin Bieber, who began his rise on Youtube, owe the popularity of their brand to these convenient mechanisms. Without Youtube (and some luck), Justin Bieber would likely be another Canadian twenty something with music chops instead a household name.
For more information on how to harness the power of messaging, brand management and electronic media, contact us. Branding, corporate identity and messaging allow you to answer the question: Who Are You?