Little figures on the chess board

Maintaining a healthy corporate image is absolutely paramount to success. But when you’re a small business, it can be soul-destroying to see just how simple it is for that image to become tarnished. Unfortunately, most startups don’t have the rock star budget needed to hire out some major rebranding campaign to boost and repair their corporate identities. If you can relate, don’t panic – it’s relatively simple to patch up your company’s image without going to the poorhouse. All you need to do is follow these three simple steps:

Make good first impressions

First thing’s first: you’ve got to make sure your business is emitting the right aura. If an accounting consultant were to show up to an important business meeting wearing a T-shirt and flip-flops, prospective clients would run for the hills. That being said, that sort of image might actually prove effective for the CEO of a trendy surfing company who’s brand identity relies upon appearing young and cool.

As you might expect, there’s slightly more to good first impressions than wearing the right attire.

The average web user will abandon a webpage in as little as 10 seconds unless it can grab their attention. That doesn’t necessarily mean creating flashy graphics or animations – but it does mean you’ve got to deliver a concise and well-worded pitch. How are you going to draw in potential customers? Do you rely on an emotional appeal, or is your business built around cold, hard facts?

From the get-go, you’ve got to let people know exactly what sort of company they’re dealing with.

Target movers and shakers

Once you’ve got the attention of your target audience, try to consolidate that interest by calling upon industry influencers. Four out of five consumers admit to backing out of a purchase after reading an online review; therefore, a few kind words from a well-known blogger, reviewer or like-minded service professional can go a long way to secure business.

Avoid buying your way into a testimonial if you can. Most consumers can spot a sponsored review from a mile away, and so it does little to bolster their confidence. Instead, go the extra mile by looking to develop relationships with those influencers. They may not tender immediate results, but the long-term implications of those relationships can be far more beneficial.

Get up close and personal

In this age of social media, quite a few young companies spend little-to-no time working directly with their customers; however, there’s no better way to bolster your corporate image than getting up close and personal.

Get involved in your local community in order to establish a common ground with area residents. You could also kill two birds with one stone by utilising experimental marketing. Send members of your target audience free trials, or invite them to a special event where they can try your service first-hand. You’ll get the benefit of immediate market feedback, whilst establishing a series of personal connections with would-be clients that are exponentially stronger than even the niftiest blockbuster website.

It’s important to realise that your corporate image may need to change as the company continues to age and mature. Yet by ensuring you’ve followed these steps, that progression should be extremely organic and relatively straight-forward.