First Impressions – How They Can Make Or Break a Business

July 30, 2009 by  Filed under: Branding 

So often, small businesses make a critical mistake when defining their branding. That is to say, they usually don`t brand themselves at all! Let`s face it, most of us that own our own businesses wear so many hats during the course of our day (sales, accounting, R&D, dogsbody, fire extinguisher etc etc) that we have little time for things that seemingly don`t matter and unfortunately, branding our products or services falls low on the list of priorities.

The tragic thing is, and most of us know this, that branding our product or service HAS to appear top of the list because if we don’t put forth a concerted effort to “get the message out there” effectively, how do we expect our potential customers to learn about our fantastic products or services? They’re the lifeblood of ANY business!

Drive down any street in your town or city and you’ll see some pretty ‘interesting’ examples of businesses branding themselves. Heck, you can surf the net and see the same thing: small businesses using absolutely TERRIBLE logos and really poorly designed websites, expecting customers to flock to them. Placing a piece of clipart beside a cool-looking font and calling it your logo does not a successful business make, my friends. Yet there are an infinite amount of businesses placing no importance on this at all, using counter-productive (read: profit-killing) logos and websites!

There are three golden phrases to marketing ones business: “Who you are, Where you are and What you have to offer”. I’m not talking about a laundry list of your products or services either. What I’m referring to by “What you have to offer” is something that is unique to you. Something that your competitors DO NOT or CANNOT offer your potential customers. Perhaps it’s free delivery. Maybe it’s 101 different flavours of chicken wings! Whatever it is, it must be unique in order to inspire an EMOTIONAL RESPONSE from your potential customer. How does it make them FEEL about your product or service? What’s going to make them tell others about it? If you haven’t made me feel good about you, I’m far less likely going to want to buy from you.

Your branding materials – your logo, your website and any other advertising you do – are the first impression those potential customers get about your business! You’d best make it a good one.

Let’s try this: If I put two steaks in front of you (they are identical by the way) and I tell you that they were prepared perfectly by the same chef but one costs $5 where the other costs $50, which one do you think is the better steak…? See, psychologically, we humans equate “expensive” with “quality”. PERCEPTION is EVERYTHING when it comes to branding. If your logo or your website looks cheap, what do you think your customers are thinking about the products or services you offer? Would you eat at a restaurant that had a torn awning out front or dirty windows? Even if they had the best food in the world, you aren’t taking that first step to find out because you’re put off by your first impression of the place!

You would be amazed at how much revenue increase and customer loyalty you can experience simply by investing in a great looking logo and website. Don’t forget, you’re a consumer too! Take a look at the logos of the companies you frequent or buy from regularly. Chances are, you’ll see a logo that has been carefully constructed using colour, shape and image that inspire trust, familiarity and comfort in you whether you are conscious of it or not.

Give your potential customers a reason to come to you instead of your competition and a reason for them to FEEL good about doing business with you too.

Get a great looking logo and a great looking website. Spend some quality time with a good designer – one that asks questions about your goals and your ideals and watch the confidence of your customers grow leaps and bounds. Make a powerful point with your branding.

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