As featured as a guest blog post on The Rising Professional:
In my last blog post, No More Discount Brands and Businesses, I explained to you my declaration/”rant” regarding the absolute necessity to have quality visual brands and businesses and how many small businesses are not presenting themselves as they should (regardless of the great services or products they may offer). After my post went live, I gave it some thought. I just shared this insight with you, but I felt the “how” was needed as a result of that very valuable post. I wanted to make sure you understood how to implement the information and insight that I shared. So today, I’m going to give some tips on how to no longer operate as a discount but instead have a QUALITY brand & business. Among the many business areas that I help to shift and enhance for my clients through my advertising techniques, today I’m only going to touch on, and shift, 5 areas in your brand and business: your logos, websites, social media, business cards, and your business/brand experience. Now there are PLENTY of other areas that can be shifted within your business based on the insight that I’ve shared in my previous post (trust me. I know), but today I’m going to concentrate on these 5 that I have seen the most amount of “discount” performance.
I’m sure you’re aware of how important your Logo is for your personal brand and/or business. I’ve mentioned before, that I want you to start selling yourself, your brand or your business as the very company, brand or business you admire or strive to be. The same goes for your logo. Look at the logo you have now compared to the establishment you admire. How does it compare? Where does it need improvement? Is there an element of your logo that you can build upon? Think about it. I’ve seen many businesses throw together their logos for the sake of just starting, a cheaper design package or “lack of resources” and wonder why it gets lost among the many other like businesses out there. The risk in operating in this manner results in, yes you’ve guessed it, a discount brand & business. Your logo is one of the 1st introductions that your customers and potential clients get from you. So make it great, make it professional, and make it express the very core of your brand. By looking at your logo, your customers should be able to get a good idea of what your business is about and what they’re about to encounter by furthering their experience with you and your brand. So make it great!
Now, I’m going to go a tad bit lengthy on this one. When your business hours have closed down for the day and you’re asleep, your website is the ULTIMATE EXPERIENCE your customer has when you are not present to tell them how amazing your business is and why they should work with/buy from you. People are able to access your website at ANY time they please, no matter how late or how early it is. Whether you are just setting up your website or looking to revamp it, make sure you give your site the time it deserves to portray your band or business in the right light.
Next. DE-CLUTTER you website. If you have a lot of content on your page with no organization, you almost send your viewers on a cluttered content frenzy. This also gives more of chance for your website visitor to miss the very important information you want them to know about, at that given point and time in your business. So organize your site so that it is user-friendly and your visitor can find the information they are looking for as well as the current information you want them to know about.
DESIGN. DESIGN. DESIGN. This tip is very near and dear to me. Because the quality of your website matters! It’s 2014, at the time of me writing this post, and there are STILL plenty of websites out there with a set up and quality of that in 1998! Non-Profit Organizations, as much as I adore them, are subject to this more than a for-profit businesses. The part that baffles me is the fact that there are PLENTY of free and not so expensive options out there for them to utilize. Non-Profit organizations stand for such amazing causes, but yet, their presence online does not represent that. For both businesses and non-profit establishments, utilize what is out there to present your brand in a great way. If you do not want to take the time to explore those options, then outsource a web designer or seek online, step-by-step, tutorials to convey your NEW quality brand & business on your website. This is key for everyone to pay attention to.
I always tell my clients that social media is a DIRECT REFLECTION of what’s happening in your business. So, after reading about what to do with your website, I hope you’re starting to consider the same for your Social Media. Because you should. The same quality experience that you have now created on your website needs to flow right on over to your Social media business page (especially from a visual standpoint). Why? Because if someone lands on your website as the 1st point of contact for your business, and love what they see, there is a very high chance that they are heading over to your social media profiles next (and for some, they do this by instinct). So if you have revamped, optimized or re-branded your website and have not done the same for your social media, you have just discounted your brand & business YET AGAIN! Learn NOT to continue this mistake and FOLLOW THROUGH! The SAME quality graphics, titles and colors that you have used on your website, need to be used throughout EVERY online presence that represents your brand.
Now, if you thought your brand flow stopped at your website and social media business page, you guessed wrong. UPGRADE the quality of your business cards. No more, going back to the title of this blog post, will you just put your name, number and email on a card that you’ve drafted up at the last minute on Vistaprint (or even worse, printed yourself in Microsoft Word). Those days are OVER. Make an impact! Make your presence known! You show me someone with a well-designed business card and I’ll show you someone who’s going somewhere. You show me a business with a well branded business card and I’ll show you a premium brand that means business. I personally swear by the quality of Moo.com. Moo uses a very quality paper on their BASIC business card products compared to the popular Vistaprint. So of course the higher you pay for Moo’s products, the more the quality of the product increases. So if I can pay for a basic product and get QUALITY that increases from there on up, my brand will benefit highly from such quality. Not only does the quality of the paper matter at Moo, but Moo also has great designs that you can choose, from at no extra cost, as well. They also allow you to upload your own designs or create your own business cards right within their website. Even with the designs that they have freely provided, your brand and business can already benefit from their quality business card service (and I can attest to the fact that my brand already has, with compliments to prove it). I always say to start at the best and build from there. Moo.com is a perfect example of doing just that. That’s my favorite business card service (as of now) and if you know of any quality business card services online, I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments below!
This has to be one of the most valuable pieces of information that I can possibly give you on this topic. The difference between a premium and discount brand and business is the EXPERIENCE. It’s the experience that you create for your customers, prospects, clients, attendees, business associates and other people you meet that makes all the difference. There is a reason why consumers pay high prices for perceived “simple” services and products. It’s the experience that the person goes through or receives by purchasing into what that business is offering or what their brand stands for. It is also the experience that keeps customers and clients coming back time and time again. So what experience are you giving to your customers? Do you have them waiting for hours? Or do you have them greeted at the door? Are they treated like royalty and with care? Or are they being treated like someone who is only there to help you pay your bills (let’s keep it real people). Look at the current state of your business and think about it. Want to be absolutely sure where you stand? SURVEY your clients, customers and associates! Let the very people experiencing your brand tell YOU what their true experience REALLY is. Once you’ve done that, you’ll have a clear picture as to where you stand and what your next steps can be. Create that valuable experience around your brand and business and you’ll start to see your brand and business elevate from discount to PREMIUM.
Everyone, you have so much value to offer and I will continue to make this declaration, to see you go from discount to premium in your brand and business, until you do. So the next time you encounter a new customer, client, business associate etc., present them with your best. Present them with the gold you know you possess within your business. I know what you’re capable of and that’s greatness.
If you’d like to keep in touch with me, you can join me by signing up for my Creative Advertising tips, tools and updates at the very top of this page and you can of course follow me on Social Media (fb/tw/ig/g+ etc.) @MsDominiqueHart. You can also look at what I’m creatively up to with all of my clients and personal work using hashtag #DominiqueCreates across all platforms. If you know anyone, or even your own followers, who can benefit from this, share the information you’ve just learned and get it out to the masses! Now, let’s give our brands and businesses the attention and representation it deserves. This is Dominique Hart signing out and I look forward to better and greater in your advertising and branding. START NOW!