The way your business presents itself to customers can go a long way towards your success. Physical and experiential elements give customers a sense of who you are and what to expect from your products or services. Customers want to use a business that presents and conducts themselves in a professional manner that instils confidence and implies quality of service.
Presenting your business in a professional manner comes down to brand image.
Your brand image extends from the way your employees look and act to your office decor and online presence. Brand image begins with internal policies and ends with the image your customers perceive.
Dress for success
The people that work for you are the living embodiment of your business image. Therefore, the way they look and act should reflect the image you want to project for your business.
Employees should dress in a way that is considered professional for their industry. Whether this is traditional business attire or a uniform, it should be decided that employees need to dress in a certain way.
Location. Location. Location.
If you have customers that come into your office, the physical appearance and location of your business need to work with the professional image you’re trying to create.
Your office should be located in an area that is easily accessible to your customers and makes sense for your business. For example, if you offer a boutique service, your office should be located in a high-end area.
The interior design of your office is also important for your image.
Think about the way you decorate your office as being similar to the uniform your employees wear. If your employee dress is corporate attire, your office should also look corporate.
A well-done website
An unprofessional or cheap-looking website is a mistake that many business owners make. These days, your website is often the first contact your customers will have with you, and as we all know, first impressions are important.
Your website should be a seamless representation of your brand, both in design and the information presented. Your customers should be able to get a good idea of what you do and who you are from looking at your website.
Don’t try to cut corners when you create your website. Make sure it has the look and feel of your brand and communicates in a professional manner.
Stay on top of your social media presence
While your website is often the primary way you can present your professional image online, social media is another way that businesses are communicating their image in the digital space.
Social media has three components when it comes to your image:
- The first is the way your business presents itself through your own business accounts. Facebook, LinkedIn and other social channels can be great ways to contact and inform your customers, but you need to make sure your profiles and posts are in line with your brand image.
- The second way is through posts that customers make on your page or elsewhere about your business. Negative customer reviews online can do damage to your professional image by presenting you in a bad light.
- The third way that social media can affect your professional image is through what your employees post on their own social media accounts. Employees should be careful to keep their personal social media activity away from professional social media activity. For example, using LinkedIn or Twitter to interact in a professional manner while keeping their personal Facebook private.
Maintain cohesive branding
At the end of the day, the important thing to remember about your professional image is that it should extend to all areas of your business. As mentioned before, this connects to the idea of brand image. Your branding should be cohesive across the board, from marketing materials to the way your employees act and dress. The more in line all of the elements are, the stronger your professional image will be.