Market Your Identity

One of the most critical but overlooked parts of business success is using your identity. If you want to build a successful business you have to strike the word image from your vocabulary right from the start. Webster's Dictionary defines image as an imitation or representation of a person or thing. On the other hand, identity is defined as, the condition or fact of being the same in all qualities.

Identity is based on truth and honesty. Image is often false and misleading. It something you are not. Prospects and customers are very good at knowing the difference between an identity and an image. Companies that portray their true identity also have integrity and that is always at the top of the list for the reasons why customers buy.

Companies will spend hours, days, and even weeks trying to decide what image to portray. They come up with all sorts of things to portray to the public as part of their image with no regard to who they really are and they types of people that make up their organization. Unfortunately, at some point during their marketing campaign, the whole thing usually backfires.

Prospects will come into a business, order by phone, or order through a Web site and learn that the company is not who they held themselves out to be in the first place. They find that the company is different, not bad, but different. This makes the prospect unconsciously feel ripped off. The prospect will feel that he or she has been victimized by your misrepresentation. They will feel this way because you communicated an image that had little basis in reality, only in hope.

An identity is automatically honest. If you communicate your real identity, people feel a sense of relaxation when they contact you because they see, again on an unconscious level, that you are exactly who you portrayed yourself to be. They know that you did not misrepresent your personality, so they are more likely to believe other things you say. People will feel connected with your business because they trusted you and you did not betray that trust.

Whether you're just starting a business or you have an existing business, you must begin changing and evolving your entire business to fit your identity. Whatever type of business you are in, always remember the business is an extension of you and all the employees that work in the business. So always make sure you have the employees in place to portray who your company really is. If you are a strong outgoing person, and you want to position your business as a strong and innovative leader in the field, you wouldn't want a staff of shy introverted people.

Your identity must be clear. Make sure there is never any confusion as to who your business is. You should always be consistent and portray the same identity everywhere, over and over. If your identity is confusing or inconsistent in any way, then your customers will also be confused and they won't do business with you for very long.

Always reinforce your identity with your actions. For example, if you preach personalized service, you need to qualify your identity by actually spending a certain amount of one-on-one time with your customers. If you talk about your large, helpful staff, then make sure you have one. If you promise a unique specialty, then back it up by offering a focused blend of products and services based on that specialty.

The consistent use of your identity will make a long-lasting impression on your target market and help your prospects instantly recognize your business. Just like your personal identity, you want those who have seen your business before to be able instantly recognize it. Your business identity must make a lasting and positive first impression, so always keep it professional, consistent, and up-to-date.

Because your identity is the basis for a truthful, strategic marketing campaign it will help build your brand identity. Branding creates both a business and an emotional bond to your product and service. Branding is what makes prospects aware of your business and the benefits your products and services offer to them. Branding is how your business is known in the marketplace.

Steer clear of anything the even resembles an image, and instead build your company around your identity. Make sure you ads, brochures, Web site, letters, e-mails, graphics, office, sales people, telephone demeanor, and all your employees reflect your identity. It will make your customers feel good about doing business with you.

Remove the whole concept of image from your marketing. People who patronize your business will enjoy an honest personality. By conveying yours, you will be giving your prospects and customers what they want and what they unconsciously need. When you do this you'll find that the entire business process gets easier once you've embraced the idea of communicating your identity.

Whether you are a one person consultant or a ten person service organization, every business needs a strong identity to be successful. Always remember, people do business with ethical people they can trust. Always be as honest as you can be with your customers. And by communicating and then living up to your identity you'll be building rapport and trust.

Copyright(c)2004 by Joe Love and JLM & Associates, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

Joe Love draws on his 25 years of experience helping both individuals and companies build their businesses, increase profits, and achieve total success. A former ad agency executive and marketing consultant, Joe's work in personal development focuses on helping his clients identify hidden marketable assets that create windfall opportunities and profits, as well as sound personal happiness and peace.

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