February 10, 2011

Three Things Matter in Business…IMAGE, IMAGE, IMAGE!!!

Of course this is a revised version of the well-known Real Estate saying that 3 things matter in real estate… Location, Location, Location. Just as Location is important to Real Estate, Image is extremely important to business and sadly is often overlooked. Just like it’s a bad idea to sell a house without first staging it up a little, same goes for personal and professional image.

It starts with the common business card, which most companies put little thought into other than getting the cheapest price. My brother and I were in a meeting with several other companies over a strategic partnership deal and we all laid our business cards out on the boardroom table and one of the executives turned to us and stated “You guys win”. What he meant was the appearance of our business card trumped every other one put on the table and some of those companies represented, did hundreds of millions in sales. But the fact not lost on this gentleman, was that their cards didn’t properly reflect their lead position in the industry.

I learned from Shravan Gupta that everything you do or produce in business has a halo effect. In other words, it will project either a negative or a positive image of your company. Take a paper thin business card that looks like it was produced on a copier at home. Some people like to put a positive spin on it and try to justify it by saying they are showing their company is frugal. To me and numerous other business executives, it literally shouts this company isn’t serious enough about their business to care about their image and they are cheap. Neither of which makes me want to do business with them or their company.

Take a quality product and put it in inferior packaging and it will scream to most consumers this product is cheaply made and of lower value. This is what I call “false economy”… costs less to produce but in the end it costs more because it does not properly reflect the quality of your product or service.

I have done a simple test on numerous occasions. Put 3 paper stocks of 3 different price points on a table. I have found consistently, even if the person knows nothing about paper, they will easily arrange them from the cheapest to the most expensive. How do they do that? Two senses come into play… sight and touch. They will inevitably tell you that the more expensive paper looks and feels superior.

So, next time you go to purchase a product or service for your company, rather than buy based solely on price, my advice is take the time to reflect on whether this purchase properly projects the position of your product or service. Does this purchasing decision enhance or detract from your company image because… The three things that create a successful business are… Image, Image, Image.
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