Your Corporate Image (1,036 words)
• Role-play—now you're the customer.
If possible, call up and buy something from your company. Look at all aspects of your experience, the customer service, the delivery, the billing cycle, the follow-up.
Call up and request information be mailed to you. Does your brochure or credentials kit have a response device? Why not? E-mail your site with a question or concern—How long does it take to get a response? Was your question answered? Register at the Web site. How was the follow-up … was there follow-up? Listen to your voice mail answering system … how bad is it really? Read your standard or form letters … are they still good? Do they make sense? Here's some copy from a letter I recently received from an insurance company.
XYZ Company will gladly perform an interim test for you; however the enclosed worksheet will allow you to take the actions to minimize the potential of failing test results at year end, without having to perform an interim test.
Does anyone really speak like that? That particular sentence is in bad need of a makeover.
• Be a tough critic.
On a table, lay out your letters, credentials, brochures and business cards. Do they have a strong, consistent design approach? Even if you're not Proctor and Gamble, you need to have a consistent brand image.
Is all information current and correct? Are bios and client lists updated? Is there e-mail and Web site information on all your materials, including business cards? Is all your contact information (phone number and address) on the e-mails you send? Do your fax cover sheets look like a seventh-generation copy? How do you send out proposals? What stock do you use for letters?
Re-evaluate your layout and typeface choices for business cards, letters and brochures. What about your Web site? Does it "deliver?" The purpose of some sites is to be an online brochure and reference. Other sites are created to be revisited. Think about and then define the objectives for your site. If fresh content is critical, keep it fresh.