Thursday, September 11, 2008

Image is everything

Recently on the Marketing Mix blog, Ilise Benun and a few commenters got into the subject of typos in company literature - a subject I've thought about a lot since starting the zen kitchen.

I've actually met people online who are even harsher than this - they'll actively snark people who make even a small typo, or folks whose English isn't quite so good yet (i.e. they're still learning). Even though my English is pretty darn good, I've actually left communities because of this habit.

I do think there's some room for forgiveness on the typo thing - but I think that the more likely cause of Ilise's sketchiness around this person's sign is the lack of care it represents. If this is the way the person presents themselves BEFORE you work with them, how will they be if you do work with them? Why should you care about a company that obviously cares so little about themselves?

Your marketing materials, no matter what form they take, represent your business to people who may or may not know you. While many entrepreneurs do find themselves having to "bootstrap" and do things on the cheap, one of the biggest mistakes I see them making is rushing just to "get something up there," and ending up with something that represents their business in an extremely unflattering light.

Think of it this way: say you're looking for a marketing/branding expert to help you market your business. You have a big vision for this enterprise, and you need someone who's going to get that, and help you succeed. Now let's say someone approaches you saying that they're just the marketing/branding expert you're looking for, and they hand you a card that was obviously ordered from VistaPrint. Would you trust them? If they can't do what they say they do for THEMSELVES, can you really trust them to do it for you?

The same goes for high-end consumer products. Customers in this market (think really good chocolate, wine, fine custom jewelry, organic bath/body care, scented candles etc.) are paying as much for the image of the product as they are the actual product. If your packaging doesn't present that high-end image, the customer is less likely to see the high end nature of the product, and more likely to choose your competitor, over there in the pretty pretty box.

It sucks, yes, but it's the nature of things. When it comes to how you market your business, image is everything. What does your image say about you?

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