Your Corporate Image (1,036 words)
by Lois K. Geller
Every year, before The Direct Marketing Association show, I get a slew of postcards from companies (some that are not at all relevant to my business), letting me know that they'll be exhibiting and telling me all about their products. I've been getting some of these same postcards for years. I'm thinking of one in particular, from a printing company that shows the plant, the presses and personnel lined up like stick figures.
It seems that companies feel obliged to send "something" to invite me to their booths—that somehow it's expected. They're just not aware of how poorly they've executed the task and how poorly it's perceived.
It's like holiday cards. Most of the time, instead of being a sincere greeting, it's a mass-produced, impersonal effort with the company name stamped on the inside. Why do they even bother to send it? Last December, less than 20 percent of the holiday cards I received had a handwritten note.
If a potential vendor can't find out enough about my company to target a brochure or mailing to my needs and tell me the benefits of what they have to offer … why bother? If you can't even scribble in, "Happy Holiday, Lois" and sign your name … why bother?
Take a look at your own promotional materials—everything from postcards to trade show materials, to invoices to Christmas cards … are they still good? Has the information changed? Is the focus still relevant? Or are they tired, old-hat and in need of a makeover? And are your response rates from these efforts declining?
Here are some points to consider as you take a fresh look at your own promotional materials:
• Do your materials reflect your company?
Rule #1: Don't ever try to come across as something that you're not. Be authentic. Are you a creative, quirky, little company or are you really known for the fact that you've been in business so long and are extremely reliable? You really need to define your company's core personality before you choose to redo or refine your materials. Everything emerges from the personality you've defined: the look of your materials (the colors, the tone), your Web site, how you answer the phone, etc.