Short answer: VERY, whether you’re a business, non-profit, government agency or independent professional.
The old saw about first impressions is an old saw for a reason, and once that first impression is made, it’s very hard to change. I learned this in an unexpected way some years ago.
I received an inquirty from a person who had recently moved to the Olympic Peninsula from an urban area. She needed business materials for her new enterprise, and she made an appointment to meet me at my office.
I will never forget her face when she walked into the foyer. She had clearly assumed that I was some little hobbyist working off her kitchen table and was flabbergasted to find herself in a very nice professional setting complete with conference room.
Her manner towards me changed rather abruptly.
I realized then that everything about your business sends a message: how you write emails and texts, how you do meetings, how you dress, how your workspace looks and functions, how you shake hands, whether you return calls and emails promptly, etc.
This all adds up to what we now call branding, which can be defined as the result of all the many ways your audience experiences your business. Branding is how your market perceives you.
Branding should be managed and intentional, but often is not — much of the time it is just the accumulation of a bunch of random assumptions and observations that others make about an organization.
This haphazard bunch of impressions is usually a mess and often results in negative marketing. So it is crucial for enterprises to control how they are perceived.
Since markets constantly evolve, branding is an ongoing task. I have redone my visual branding several times as my work and offerings changed.
Since the mid-90’s, I have been asked more and more to not only do visual design but also develop the messaging and content that the design supports, which comes under the umbrella of communications.
If your enterprise has a similar history of evolution, it may be time to make sure your branding is in alignment with your services and products.
If you’re ready for a branding assessment, contact me for a conversation and let’s see how we can elevate your brand.