Use Your Business Image to Drive Growth
Time and again experience has proven that often it's the simple changes to a business that have the most profound impact on its success. Attention to detail is vital. One of the frequently overlooked opportunities for inspiring growth in a business is the development and management of the business image or "identity" as marketing types call it.
This month's case study features Woodland Designs, a garden design and horticultural company. They are a first hand example of how a shift in image can completely change the direction and viability of a business.
The Link Between Image and Growth
As human beings we know how our self-image affects our attitude. When we picture ourselves in our mind's eye as confident, healthy people then we are invincible. Have a 'bad hair' day or 'fat' day and nothing seems to go right. Businesses are made up of people and therefore business image can have the same profound affect.
You need to make sure your business image is having a positive impact on not only your customers but also you and your team.
If you are looking for growth in your business - does your business image align with being a vibrant business? Does it have a feel of innovation, energy, progress? Or is it the same as it was 10 years ago?
You are surrounded by your own business image. You are bombarded by it all day through exposure to stationery, merchandise, documents, people's attire, office fit outs, the list goes on. When most people are managing their business image they concentrate on the impact it has on their current and potential customers. However the people who are exposed to it the most are you and your team, so it is essential you manage the image for internal benefits as well.
Touch Up or Start Again?
The decision of what to do with your company image needs to be driven by your overall business strategy. Are you looking for more growth in existing markets or do you want to enter new markets? Maybe you don't want to grow at all but become more efficient? Do your promotional tools and office surrounds have the look and feel of efficiency?
For Woodland Designs it was appropriate to shift completely away from their existing image. Woodland Designs completed "The Strategic Stocktake" with Eyes Wide Open in 2002. During this planning process it became apparent that they wanted to move beyond being a 'cottage' style business to being a high profile, highly professional company. Their new image incorporated stronger colours, strong design elements and a completely new logo.
However radical change is not always required. For example, your logo may be well recognised and therefore change isn't appropriate. Possibly it's the way you present your logo that needs to be refined, perhaps through changing the promotional tools you are using or un-cluttering their presentation. Presenting your logo differently can signal to your team and customers that your business is entering a new phase.
It's not ALL about Image - But it Helps!
In the case of Woodland Designs the change in image gave the business a very different feel. Long-term customers were delighted and expressed pride in contributing to the growth of the business. Woodland Designs is now recognised as the leading garden design and horticulture business in the Blue Mountains.
We know that image is, at the end of the day, the packaging of your business. Hard work, attention to quality and a desire to delight your customer will ultimately drive your success. It's what's inside the packaging that will be the ultimate decider for you. However your business image is one of the key levers you have for shifting your business into the next gear and Eyes Wide Open can help you plan how to make that happen.
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