Image is Everything

In 1990 when Andre Agassi was at the start of a career that lifted tennis’ popularity to new heights, advertising execs for Canon cameras invested millions in an ad campaign with Agassi delivering the now famous line, “Image is everything!” It was an intriguing slogan: Was it meant tongue-in-cheek? Or as a play on words since the product was the camera? Agassi was bold enough to take the heat for saying “Image is everything!” as the showy young upstart who had yet to prove he had the substance to back up his playful claim.

Like Agassi, you do not have to wait until you have the credentials to create an image worthy of who you are. It’s OK to develop an image of success and then build your company to live up to that image.

Here is a corporate image checklist:

Company logo. Do you have a logo that is unique and distinguishable and used repeatedly in your ads, website, signage, letterhead, e-mails, faxes and business cards? If not, now is the best time to align all these media representations of your company image.

Website. Does your company website make the visual, professional statement you want your prospects and clients to have of your company? Is it well organized? Are there updates done to it weekly? Or is it old and unmanaged since the day you created it? Recently I was at a charity tennis outing to raise money for Jersey Battered Women’s Services and I met someone who was about to hire a custom builder. I asked for her cell phone number and while I was with her, I sent her a text message with my website address. Later I was able to follow up with her and she had read all about our company history and she had seen our photographs. She called me to arrange the next meeting since she had my cell phone logged into her contact list.

Advertising. Your company ads, brochures and direct mail pieces are key elements in nurturing your company image. Are they all consistent in style and theme?

Jobsite signage. Are all your jobsites using the same signage? Is it something more substantial than a $75 metal sign that is typical of a realtor’s yard sign? My company logo is sandblasted and displayed on a green 4x4 post and is the same on every site.

Each site sign costs approximately $500 and we repaint them annually so the signs appear fresh and clean.

Field personnel. Do you have a company dress code for field personnel? Are your employees wearing a company shirt?
Company vehicles. Do you have commercial vehicles with a logo, website and phone number displayed? Are all vehicles the same color? Are they clean and neat?

Site management. Is there trash visible from the street when you drive by your site? Has your cleaner/laborer been there today to police the area? The first thing a prospective client often sees is one of your homes under construction.

Site management for excavator. It is critical that you manage your excavation to help portray an image of professionalism. A site that is well-groomed for water control can make a major difference in how your company is perceived by people who see your work in progress.

Office appearance. This should be neat, clean, bright and cheery.

Prospect and client meetings that are hosted in your office should always start with an offer for refreshment. And, a healthy snack should always be within reach.

You control your company image. If it is something you have never given any thought to, then use this checklist to see if you need to clean house.