For many years I worked as an executive assistant for a number of multi-national corporations. Each one differed as far as their products and services but one thing they all had in common was the appearance of success.
This mentality is shared by many successful entrepreneurs and got me thinking about the concept of manipulating how you are perceived in the marketplace to materially alter the way you interact with the world. Ask any realtor how many homes he would sell in a cheap suit and old car and he would answer ‘zero.’ Success breeds success, so let’s take a look at how you can build your brand into something recognizable and unmistakably your own.
1. Signs of Success
If success breeds success, then a small office located over a chemist in an outlying district really won’t cut it. Sleek offices with a prestigious address, cutting edge technology and immaculate staff are a vital part of your business persona. Unfortunately this scenario is out of the reach of many budgets.
I remember being commissioned by a director to find offices for his ever expanding staff. His wish list was caviar — his budget was not. Eventually I came across the idea of virtual office spaces, checked the reviews and ended up selecting the most reputable one I could find (click here to view). They offered me a range of options including global shared offices, a dedicated receptionist, prestigious physical mailing address and sleek meeting rooms. It was the perfect solution for my dillema. It allowed my boss to lease an outer suburban office that he could afford which would comfortably house his growing team, whilst giving the impression of success with a prestigious inner city address in line with his brand image. It was with some amusement that I recently checked out the company’s website to find that they now boast offices in Paris, Tokyo and New York.
2. Familiarity breeds comment
Your online identity, reviews and website all represent your brand. Think high visibility, familiarity and recognizability. Make your logos and colors evocative and memorable by getting them custom designed. Create a global presence by utilizing the aforementioned virtual office. Consider things like radio jingles, mottos and names that spark people’s imaginations. Avoid acronyms. Whilst these worked a decade ago, there are so many companies using them now that your business and customers can get lost in a confusing alphabet soup.
3. Staff – the face of your brand
Perhaps we all internally groan at the hackneyed use of the term ‘young, hip, company.’ It does, however, serve the purpose of any business to have its staff represent the same demographic as its clients. A funeral parlour or an aged care facility certainly shouldn’t be looking for staff in the same age and maturity group as, say, a shop selling mobile phones or cutting edge tech goods.
4. Putting it out there – Social media
Brand positioning using online platforms is no longer an option but a necessity. It is a vital tool for brand recognition, reputation building and to compete in the e-business market. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are just a few of the modalities within which you need to increase your visibility and approachability. A good place to begin is by contacting a digital marketing company that will use acronyms such as SEO, CMM and CSS but they all represent one thing – optimizing your online presence.
5. Ethics and culture of the business in the psyche
An often used modality for improving or growing your brand in the marketplace is community and charitable sponsorships. Associate your brand with successful sporting groups or ethically responsible causes.
Make your image synonymous with excellence from the bottom up. Your staff reflects your business, so choose well. Create a culture of impeccable service and, in turn, when people see your brand it will evoke feelings of trust and confidence. The flow on effect of that will be how it influences their perception and choices.
Now more than ever before in history, brand positioning has become critical when competing in the market. Think of the businesses that stick in your mind when you consider a product or service. Analyze what they have that makes them stay in the consciousness and translate that knowledge to work for you. If you put these into action then the sky’s the limit as to what you and your business can achieve both locally and in the worldwide market.
Alexandra Richards is a United States based business consultant. She takes a keen interest in business structures and work culture. Recently she has taken a particular interest in virtual offices by Servcorp. In her free time she enjoys eating in local restaurants and trying to replicate the dishes at home.