First Impressions Count
Guest Blog from Gail & Steve of GAS Brand Studio Ltd
Be Confident in your Marketing Communications Toolbox
It takes only 7 seconds to make first impressions count, when you meet a person face to face, our visual perception of marketing can be even quicker with our speeding digital world of clicks and swipes. Seconds can seem like an eternity if you are waiting for a website to load, lasting impressions can be made about your company in the first seconds of contact.
If you think back to buying a product or service; how you have been influenced by the impression that was made. Were you handed a tactile business card with a clear message of the service offered, or was it a thin card with a poorly printed image? Did a website load quickly, were you able to find the information you needed intuitively, did you connect to the person behind the website or were the product’s features clearly explained? Was it clear how to get in touch, to order the product or access the service? Did you even flicker about keeping that flyer you scanned or did it go straight into the recycling bin?
What does Make that First Impression?
For small and medium businesses, how potential customers view you, is often decided by their first impression. Unless they have had a recommendation, this is likely to be based on your visual appearance alone – your image marketing. This can happen before they even have time to investigate more about you and interact with you.
This could include:
- Logo, type and image styling (brand design).
- Digital presence – website, blog, social media pages, newsletter, ads and all sort of promotional material, like videos and slide shows or PowerPoint presentations.
- Printed items – your business card and stationery and all print material representing or promoting your brand.
- Physical space – your professional space, which can be your office, studio, shop, the place where you meet your clients or you showcase your work and products.
- And really important, as they want to work with YOU, your attitude and your team’s vibe!
Does your Visual Branding Reflect Your Company?
Looking after your visual brand image doesn’t necessarily mean you need to spend a fortune on creating your vision, but it should reflect your company’s products and services, in a professional way that is appropriate within your business sector and connects to your potential customers. Just because you love red and black, if your ideal clients prefers a softly, softly approach a more subtle colour palette would appeal to them.
Clear visual messages alongside well structured and written text allows your potential customers to safely check you out from a distance.
Your aim is to:
- Make them remember you in a positive light.
- Make them think of you, when they need your product or service.
- Make them keep coming back to you after they have a positive experience through the products and services you offer.
Do You Think You’re too Small for the ‘Luxury’ of Visual Branding?
Even if, you’re a solopreneur operating from home and you haven’t even invested in a website yet, then your business card, your Facebook or LinkedIn pages are representing you. Even if most of your clients come from referrals, there is a high chance in the future, recommended clients will check you out before making contact. Make sure what they see is consistent and does not look like it was made on the kitchen table. A low resolution social media cover image and a cheap brochure may turn a warm lead away. The same applies to poorly communicated content, so they don’t understand what you are offering and the difference you offer.
There’s no need to have an all singing, all dancing website like the big brands and retailers, it is easy to achieve a simple web presence, supported by careful social media. Once you grow you can build on this, rather than starting from scratch with marketing that has given you stress, and ultimately could cost you money and potential clients, realigning your reputation to the values you hold. It will undoubtedly cost more to redesign or rebuild, than starting properly at the outset. Don’t underestimate your clients’ aesthetic taste and visual understanding.
Do You Ask for the Help of Experts?
Good design is not just about using the right software to be ready for print, or being able to adjust an image in Photoshop. A good design should connect a company to its customers, so they experience positive feelings about the company or product message. If you go to an expert they will guide you through the process of visually communicating to your best potential customers. They will understand that purple is not usually favoured by a predominantly male audience, that navy blue can represent tradition and stability. They should take into consideration the personality you wish to portray for your company, but still ensure that the right message reaches your target audience. This should be done consistently across your communications to make your brand identifiable.
Customers buy into an experience as well as your service or product. Remember that every time you make a decision that seems like a temporary budget solution, think about the experience that give your customer is it less than what you wanted to give them? Listen to clients and friends you trust, seek honest opinions of your marketing as it stands, is it effectively selling your business, or is it holding you back?
(if you can’t see it clearly yourself, do a best friend test)
Once you are proud of your marketing communications it gives you confidence to talk about your business in a variety of arenas from networking groups, sales calls, business pitches and professional speaking gigs. Investing in good design will help you stand out from your competitors. Introduce yourself in the right way and you will make a lasting good impression. Good branding design helps you to structure your sales argument, making it easier to build your case, gain leads and convert them to sales.
Do you need design and marketing guidance?
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