DEVELOPING THE REPUTATION OF YOUR COMPANY
In the business world, and in the case of multinationals in particular, a company’s market value isn’t measured in purely economic terms; the value of its brand must also be factored in. In other words, its reputation, identity and the resonance of a company’s name are as important for its sustainability and growth as its sales, profits, income and other critical financial figures.
So it’s easy to understand why a company’s brand needs to be invested in systematically, managed well, and monitored continually.
But might ‘brand’ as a concept only be of interest in the case of large businesses in highly competitive markets? Might brand building actually be an expensive pastime for a small business? Does a small business in a local market really need to concern itself with its identity and reputation, when it has clients—and hence income—in any case?
Let’s start at the beginning.
A brand, meaning a reputation plus a discrete identity, isn’t something that only relates to businesses. Every individual, country, region, location, club or team, and everything that is distinguished by specific principles, values, beliefs and attitudes and has a public ‘voice’, ‘image’, resonance and impact on a specific public has a distinct identity which comes with a given reputation.
In other words, when we want to ‘win’ the hearts and minds of the public we are interested in and who are important for our progress, development and growth, we need to build and manage our reputation. We need to make a positive impression and present a positive image. We have to show what makes us different from the rest, the special and unique things we can offer and achieve, what our qualities are, what we are good or excellent at; in short, we need to showcase our ‘personality’.
In the case of a company, the above holds to an even greater extent. Still, you might say that in a local community everyone knows everyone else to some extent. Everyone has an impression and a perception of most of the companies that are active locally, even if they aren’t their clients. A small local business can easily acquire a positive image by word of mouth, but its reputation can be spoilt just as easily in the same way.
Whether you run a local boutique, a hairdressing salon or a local restaurant, the impression and the image you have built in the local market is crucial for the progress and growth of your business. The question is whether you have made the right impression, whether consumers tend to remember and choose you, whether you have a good reputation and how you manage it. And, of course, whether your company’s ‘personality’ is a good match for your target audience.
But what are the factors that can affect your company’s image and reputation? The answer is: everything!
From the company’s name, logo and colours to its accessibility, the service it offers, and even the way you, its owner, behaves. From the way you welcome your customers into your shop, how you answer the telephone, and whether your company has a website, to the suppliers and partners you choose to work with, how you respond to social media, the fact that you sponsor the local football team.
In other words, everything connected to your business’s values, principles and code of conduct is part of your company’s ‘personality’ and brand. And, unfortunately, for your business to keep on making a positive impression and enjoying a good reputation, you have to ensure that all the above are respected and applied clearly and consistently.
So it’s obvious that building a brand involves a lot more than a simple financial investment. If you want to make your name quickly in your chosen field or to be the first name that springs to a potential clients’ mind, you need to invest in promoting your brand.
But for a small local business, perhaps the most important thing of all is that you dedicate time, passion and ideas to maintaining the value of your brand. Don’t forget that the brand doesn’t belong to you; you’re just protecting it. Because the perceptions and impressions the public and consumers have of a given brand change constantly as the brands themselves evolve.
Which is why building a brand, and then maintaining it, require proper guidance and effective management.
It’s the only way for you to benefit from the crucial advantages a strong brand bestows, even if you are active in a local market. Such advantages include:
- Financial benefits
- Standing out from the competition
- Forging an emotional bond with your customers
- Giving your staff a vision along with a sense of mission and pride
Ultimately, your brand could end up ‘travelling’ beyond your local market, broadening your business horizons.
If you have a small local business, or are a freelancer who is active in a local market, then you can be sure of this: you are a brand manager, too. Because you have an identity and a reputation which you must work to manage and preserve, no matter how limited your target market may be.
At OPEN UP COMMUNICATIONS, we recognize the value of every company’s reputation and identity, and know how crucial the image you present to current and future clients is. We have the know-how and expertise required to build the image and the ‘personality’ you and your business deserve, and to convey it to your customers. We are in a position to build yet another successful brand.
Contact us today to find out what personalized corporate identity solutions we can provide for you.