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Defining Your Company Image

June 8, 2010

What best defines the image you are trying to portray for your business? How should your website or your literature look? Clean and modern-looking? Feminine? Conservative and businesslike? Youth-oriented?  Street-smart?

Having the correct image for your business starts with a clear understanding of the target public who would be purchasing your product or services. Who are you selling to?

For example, if you are selling gourmet chocolates and want to find an image for your business that will communicate best to your target public, you will want to get some idea of who this target public is: male or female, old or young, lower income or upper income, their habits, likes and dislikes, and so forth. You might find out, for instance, that married women aged 25-55, making at least $50K a year, are the most frequent buyers of gourmet chocolates.

This is called demographic information, and it’s key to any kind of marketing. What are demographics? Per definition a demographic is a statistical analysis dealing with the distribution, density, vital statistics of populations. For instance, if you were thinking about opening a beauty salon, you might want to find out how many salons are already opened as compared to the population of the area you are thinking about opening up in. If there is an overabundance of salons as compared to the number of potential clients in your area, you might want to reconsider changing the location or even the type of business.

How do you find this information out? Several ways. If you’re a large company and have a budget for marketing, you can always hire a marketing research company. That’s an expensive route but, if you can afford it, can be very worthwhile. Such companies do customized research studies, focus groups, surveys, field tests, interviews or observation to determine who you should be selling to and how to appeal to those people. This is called primary research as it’s specifically done for you.

If that’s out of the question, you can often find secondary research that covers your product or industry. This type of research is based on studies which have already been done by government agencies, chambers of commerce, trade associations, and other organizations. You can find this kind of information on the web, at your local libraries, or from books and business publications. Some of this information is freely available, and some is for sale. In-depth studies of a particular industry are usually sold by market research companies.

An internet search of your competitors’ websites can also be instructive. If you’re selling chocolates, for instance, you can look at how top selling gourmet chocolate companies sell their products. What do their websites look like? Who do they seem to be trying to appeal to? What are their main selling points?

If you’ve been in business for a while, you can also look at your own customers. What are their ages? Are they mostly male or female? What do they like about your product? What do they complain about? A good hard look at the people already buying and using your product can often give you direction as to where to find new customers.

Getting answers to these types of questions is key to establishing a successful image for your business.

Any truly experienced designer can help you answer these question. A designer who knows his Ps and Qs would understand that any full corporate branding package would include research into your competition and your industry to create an image for your business that will stand out, gain attention, and effectively communicate to your target public.

What have your experiences been along these lines?

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