GUEST BLOG. David Crick MCIM, from Contractors Marketing Services, explains how to manage your corporate image to enhance integrity and bring in new work.
How polished is your corporate image? Perhaps you know who you are and have given plenty of thought to how you are perceived. Perhaps you are happy to run on reputation and word of mouth – you might even say you don’t have a corporate image. Well let’s set that straight from the start: you have an image. It’s either one that you’re communicating on purpose, or it’s one that you’re broadcasting accidentally. Either way, people are forming an opinion about who you are and what you do.
Who knows what that opinion might be? People might think you’re professional and reliable, or that you’re dubious and best avoided. That view may be right or wrong, but the point is that unless you have thought about your image and been deliberate about it, you have no control over what people think.
It’s your business, so don’t leave it to chance. Take control of your image and shape it.
A good starting point is to audit your existing image. Ask around. What do people think about your business? Ask your clients why they chose you. Have they got a positive view of your business? Those are the more intangible elements of a corporate image. There are more tangible ones to assess as well: do you have a logo, and is it consistently applied? Have you got a quality brochure, letterheads? How about vehicles and hoardings on site? Have you invested in your website, making it attractive and easy to navigate?
All these things matter. A cheap logo or badly written materials all undermine that critical first impression. No matter how good you are at what you do, those impressions can lose you work.
It might seem that spending money on design is a waste, especially if times are hard. But think about the times when you’ve been in the market for something. Consciously or unconsciously, our buying choices are influenced by packaging and presentation. We all know the difference between well branded goods and generic ‘no name’ versions.
Good design communicates quality and trust. It makes you memorable, and helps you to stand out in the crowded construction marketplace. It is worth investing in – it doesn’t have to be hugely expensive, but it does have to be professional.
As you work on your image, consider what your strengths are and how you can communicate them. Think about what makes you different. And don’t forget to look ahead too. Your brand needs to reflect who you are, and you can’t pretend to be something you’re not. But a brand can also be aspirational. Think about the firm you want to become in three or four years, project that image and grow into it. Developing your corporate image can help you to develop your business.
Download the CMS Really Useful Guide to Construction Marketing.
If you’re a member of the CIOB, you can read it as part of your continuing professional development.
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