In today’s marketplace, customers look at a company’s image before deciding to do business with them.

Image is everything, especially in business. It doesn’t matter how good your product or service might be, the image you present to your audience will make or break your brand.

Improving your business image isn’t solely about changing your employee’s uniforms or updating your website and posting on your website.

We’re talking about getting personal, more human.

It’s is about rethinking your purpose, to build a stronger business brand that will help you connect with your existing clients and attract and sell to new ones. It’s also about becoming a respected player in the marketplace that inspires loyalty and recognition within your team and, within your industry.

“Let Your Image Always Consume People’s Memories”

Jon Michail

What is Business Image?

Firstly, a business image is a perception the public have of your business when they hear your name. This perception is composed of a variety of a business’ promotional campaigns, events, information, appearance and interactions. In other words, it’s about what you do and how you do it.

Secondly, the purpose of developing a business image is to aid consumers distinguish your business from its competitors’ services and products. It’s a way to strengthen the customers trust that your services and products is something they need. A strong Business image keeps your brand in the mind of potential customers.

Something Beyond

Existing as a brand for the sake of profits its not going cut it, there has to be something beyond that. Being respected and recognised has to be linked to something beyond your products and services.

Successful businesses know there’s more to ramping up the bank accounts every week, instead, their focus is on making a difference.

Consumers are interested in the company’s purpose.

What do they stand for? Why do they exist? How do they make a difference out there?

They’re inspecting whether a company is helping their local community and if they’re trying to make a positive impact, such as a company’s mission for environmental or societal change. People are looking for substance and as a result, companies are invoking their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

  • CSR is a business concept where a company integrates societal and environmental goals or practices within their management operations and interactions with stakeholders
https://twitter.com/KathmanduGear/status/1367701436822327296?s=20&t=xYCda5cSNYW6uqVMON6hfg

Katmandu is a great example of a brand and a company that certainly lives to its values. The well-known brand is celebrated for its sense of CSR and it’s commitment to sustainability. The B-Corp’s mission to protect the planet has been incorporated in every aspect of their business. With their image focusing on Zero Waste, lowering carbon emissions and developing sustainable clothing, the company has become well respected and recognised within their industry.

To follow in Kathmandu’s footsteps, you need to carefully develop a smart strategy to improve your business image. Everything starts from your vision to your strategy, then to your tactics.

Brands often want to go straight into tactics, that’s a dangerous way of operating. A powerful business image starts with strategy. The driver and its tactics are secondary to the big picture.

Here’s few powerful tips to get your business’ image on the right track.

Values Check

Ask yourself the big questions. Why do you exist? What are people looking for from us?

Leadership plays a big part of a values check as this can be done with your team. Setting the guidelines and principles for your brand is crucial for helping a combination of people reach a common goal. A core set of values makes it easier for your company to communicate with customers and collaborate with employees.

Stay congruent with your own personal values, but also consider customer values and employee values. Be as clear as possible with what your values actually are. Be specific.

The more choices around your values check, the more human your brand appears. A tick box excersise with your team is probably going to seem artificial.

Be real, it can be powerful for you and everybody else.

Stay True to Yourself

Be true to your values, but from a straight authentic perspective, not just for marketing reasons. People will see straight through you if it’s for marketing reasons. Customers and your team will find out eventually and you’ll be exposed.

It doesn’t always have to be save the world type of values, it could be something that binds the team together and gets everybody on board. If you’ve got a great message to share with the world, audiences will know what you stand for.

Improve Your Company’s Culture

One of the most important tips we can give you is offer superior customer service. This must be your number one goal online and offline.

With every consumer interaction and engagement, your business image is at stake.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov

Contrary to what they tell us, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will never replace imaginative human beings. Superior customer service will always be essential, and we are the only ones who can give provide it.

Customer service has dramatically gone down in many tech companies that utilise AI systems. There’s an obvious correlation between AI systems and bad manners, lack of etiquette and respect. It all intertwines with bad customer service.

Facebook, for instance, is using AI chat system to aid customers, but, they’re getting it wrong. AI-based service can be a struggle to consumers who want a real person helping them. While it is certainly more cost efficient, chatbots clearly fail to meet customer satisfaction.

If you’re not going to offer superior customer service, then you shouldn’t be in business in the first place.

Make Your Business Image Human

The next tip is to make your brand human.

Most Importantly, make it real, show empathy, that you care.

Humanising your brand can allow your customers to gain a sense of trust, along with creating a positive relationship between company and consumer.

Besides, humans respond to humans.

Elon Musk buying Twitter is a good example of that. He acquired the platform so people can speak “freely”. Musk saw beyond pure profits. Instead, he saw the value of building products and providing services. If his statements are true, then his profits are going to be secondary, to what he hopes to do with Twitter.

However, as he is one of the richest man in the world, not everyone can buy out a social media platform. But, we can certainly use that as an example of what we can do in our own small part of the world, and hopefully make a difference.

Engage with consumers and be more personable. This can definitely get the response you’re looking for.

Get Feedback

Get some outside feedback from people you respect, and above all, trust.

That means branding experts, people have got the runs on the board, people who have had the lived experience.

Don’t be shy, ask people for feedback! Don’t allow the ego to get in the way. If you’re willing to do whatever it takes, there should be no upsets here. Get some honest feedback for what you can improve on. You never know how effective feedback can be in the long run.

In Conclusion

Undoubtedly, your company’s reputation counts a lot, especially if you want to be recognised in your industry. Essentially, getting recognised is about positioning yourself in whatever platform you use to get to the top.

Above all, these steps are the key to getting you to be the leading brand in your industry. When reassessing what needs to change in order to improve your corporate image, take some time and out some effort into this.

Business image can contribute to your brand’s success, especially its reputation.

You want to make a great impression that will last.