07 December 2006

Use change as a tool to reinvigorate your business

We are living in an age that has a greater rate of change than ever before and there is no reason to believe that this rate of change will slow down in the near future. Resistance to change and the stress associated with change are real issues in the modern business world, but we all need to learn to embrace change and use it as a powerful marketing weapon to help build our businesses.

A lot of companies are very concerned about making changes of any sort. Something as simple as painting the outside of the building can become a long term project involving a cast of thousands, often not getting done because no one can make a decision on the new colour or the business owners become too concerned that they will lose customers with the “new” image.

When it comes to changing a business name, the same concerns apply – tenfold. The normal argument again focuses on the concern that the business will lose customers if they don’t recognise the new name. People get into a comfort zone that is often hard to shake. The problem with the comfort zone is that whilst your business is in it, the competition can be working much harder to attract more customers and before you know it, you are in trouble.

Customers can handle change better than we give them credit for. As consumers we have all watched the large corporations change their names many times. It doesn’t stop us using them and in fact research shows that consumers look at these changes as positive steps that the particular organisation is being progressive and proactive.

From a professional point of view I have only ever had positive feedback and renewed business growth from clients who have decided to undergo a new corporate image. Often the results are quite amazing with most business owners stating that they should have done it years ago.

So what types of things should we be looking at when it comes to making changes? I think the following list covers the most important corporate image issues:

Your company logo
Your business colours
Your business premises layout and décor
The outside signage
Your website
Your company vehicles
Your staff uniforms
Your advertising
Your promotional material
Your mission statement

Corporate logos and business names should be reviewed about every five years. In some cases it may be OK to leave it a little longer, but regardless of the length of time between reviews, we all need to work to project a modern and professional image. Colours become outdated, fonts used in logos become old and this in turn can send the wrong message to prospective (and existing) customers. A business that looks a little stale and outdated often does not inspire confidence.

If your business name no longer reflects what your company does – change the name. If it is handled well by you and your staff you will generally have an increase in business brought on by the free publicity associated with the name change.

I feel that some people worry that their customers will think that they are in financial trouble if they change their name and premises. How can a customer think this if you develop a new corporate image, perhaps a new office, new uniforms etc? It looks like your business is prospering not in trouble.

I always recommend that you seek good advice when having a corporate re-branding. A fresh set of eyes can offer some excellent ideas and recommendations.

There are many other areas of both business and personal life that can be changed. Embrace change and all that it encompasses and you will find that your confidence in many areas of your life will increase. Changes can act as real motivators, they can reignite passion and enthusiasm that can start to lag in business.

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