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Do Small Businesses Need an "Image"?
It is common wisdom that large corporations benefit from a strong "brand." They spend enormous resources developing just the right image to stand out from the clutter of advertisements that besiege consumers on the Internet, television, radio and in publications.
But this is even more important for medium and small-sized businesses in the Baltimore area. A strong image helps your company distinguish itself from competitors. It helps you reach new target customers, while remaining relevant to current customers.
Now is the time for business owners to plan how they can best build and leverage a strong image. Consider how you intend to deliver your service or product. What will be the style, service philosophy and level of quality that you want to project? Here are some BBB tips:
Decide what sets you apart from your competition. Is it location, a particular product, low prices, specialized services, or other strengths?
What does your company signify? How do your customers currently perceive you? Is that an image you want to build on or do you want to project a different identity?
Determine what style fits the image you want to project. Would you like your message to emphasize the "warm, personal touch"? Or, do you prefer fast-paced and high-tech? Your personal style, as well as the attributes of your staff and the products or service you provide, are important factors. Your identity should fit the vision of your business.
Communicate that image through everything you say and do. Use your logo or branding statement on stationery, envelopes, invoices, signage, Web site, advertising, uniforms, etc. This will keep your identity uppermost in the minds of consumers.
Remember that every experience a customer or potential customer has with your business--including phone interaction, service calls and product performance--must reinforce and support your image. Be consistent.
Deliver on your promises! It is up to you and your employees to deliver results that fulfill the image your business projects to customers. This may require employee training sessions to improve customer service and product/service performance.
Remember that your BBB report can help--or hurt--your company image.
To file a complaint visit: www.baltimore.bbb.org or write: BBB, 1414 Key Highway, #100, Baltimore MD 21230. Their office serves Baltimore and all of Greater Maryland.
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