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A Publication of WTVP

Alan W. Watts said, "Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth." And so it is. But just because it is hard doesn’t mean it isn’t worth doing.

Let’s look at the tale of two companies. Both had it all: great products, great service, and great people. But only one was able to position itself as the category leader and be perceived in the public’s eye as the better choice. How could this be? Well, it all begins and ends with image.

The successful company had done a much better job marketing itself. And its logo and supporting story were effective identifiers that stuck in its people’s minds, creating a perception and a preferred distinction between them and the competition.

Image matters. How we appear and how we are perceived by our various audiences are important. The question is not "Do we want a company image?" You have one whether you want one or not.

The question is, "How are we going to define and manage our image so it works for us and not against us?" I’m not just talking about logo or letterhead or signage. I am talking about a total personality expressed in all of your communications. Good identities describe the spirit of a company and tell who you are and who you want to be. By unifying employee perceptions and inspiring performance, image becomes reality and customer loyalty builds.

It’s virtually impossible to be a one-of-a-kind company. Chances are, there’s someone down the street who is offering basically the same thing. So it comes down to how you position yourself and set yourself apart.

How a company appears to the general public, including the visual expressions of its identity, plays a huge role in how its products or services are valued by its audiences. Every company has its own personality, its own style and its own way of doing things.

A visual identity is a powerful way to reflect this uniqueness, as well as convey a quality image and draw a positive emotional response from the audience.

Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately, defining yourselves to the outside world isn’t easy. It’s kind of like traveling across Europe without a roadmap—you may know where you want to go, but you’re not sure how to get there. And a lot of times, you’re not even sure how to ask.

Here are a few important qualities that most good corporate logos have in common:

It is a good idea to take an objective look at your company identity every few years, asking insiders and outsiders (preferably your customers) if it is still portraying an accurate and positive image.

Good or bad, true or false, active or passive, every company has an image. It’s important not to let yours just happen. You need to take control, creating and managing your image so it represents you well and distinguishes you in a cluttered world and increasingly complex marketplace.

No matter what your company does or how long it’s been doing it, treat your identity as if your business depends on it. Because in the long run, it likely will. IBI

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