Surfing the net, I stumbled across this beautiful article about spectacular stairs. It was a moment of “WOW”; a testament to the power of the creative mind’s ability to design function and form which is as beautiful as it is useful and relevant.
While appreciating the beauty in this article I started thinking about how an item that is so functional in its being could simultaneously be a thing of beauty; and, conversely, how an item regarded as pretty or frivolous could also be functional.
So today I ask, what is the beauty in business?
“If your business was a living entity, what would be its attractive or unattractive qualities? What would draw customers to your business, what would repel them?”
The key words here are “what is beautiful to your customer?” As a business owner like myself, I’m sure you agree the beauty in business is a healthy profit; but for your customers it is usually your branding.
Your branding is what will immediately attract or repel people; it is the beginning of their experience with your business, as well as an ongoing part of a business’ relationship with customers – with the ability to significantly increase customer retention. A flawless customer experience will attract more customers, and have the ones already through the door not wanting to leave. This includes: the reception they receive when they walk through the door, the look of your marketing, your staff’s manners and presentation, the image of your store front, your packaging and stationary quality, your follow up… you get the idea.
Those businesses that excel in their branding are more successful.
The term “Branding” usually brings images of style, gloss and promotional material to the small business owner’s mind. It is important for us to remember firstly that branding is not limited to your logo or website, but rather refers to the entire look and feel of your business as your customers experience it. The second, and equally important thing to consider is this: without functionality, beauty for beauty’s sake is limited and has a short-lived appeal. All branding must have functionality.
I see so many businesses exert themselves exhausting time and money to get the “X factor” and a point of difference in their branding. Beware: flashy branding exercises without doing the thinking to maximise the useability of the branding do more damage than good. A big and regularly spotted culprit is this: a gorgeous website with an invisible phone number! All this situation produces is a frustrated prospective client and a business with no enquiries. Impressing people is fantastic, but you need to give your prospects the means and the impetus to turn that awe in action.
Another area where many business owners get it wrong is the relevancy of style and placement of your product. For example, my fridge is home to only 2 of the countless business-produced magnets I’ve received: the fridge repair-man and the online grocery store. No one else belongs on my fridge, so they don’t get to rent that space from me. Where would your promotional material be relevant to your business?
I’d love to know how your branding works for you – it is something so individualised that no two business will see the same benefits from any one branding exercise. Branding is there to tell the world who you are and what you can offer – so make it count!
While branding serves an invaluable function – to sell your business even while you’re asleep – it needs to be functional to be truly successful; and that is a beautiful thing.