A business is only ever as strong or as weak as its brand. A business’ brand encapsulates everything that makes the business special. It represents an ideal and a set of standards. It should serve as a microcosm for everything that entrepreneurs want their businesses to be and to be perceived as.
The trouble is that your target clientele are exposed to a multitude of brands. Every day they are flooded with messages and adverts from a wide array of brands. Some of them may even be your competitors. As a result, they will likely have established a subconscious “screening process” that filters out any message that they perceive as irrelevant or unworthy.
In this context, it’s more important than ever that you make the right first impression on your prospects. Here are some great ways to make the very best one you can on the people who matter the most to your business.
An inviting exterior
Your visitors first impressions of your business are formed before they even walk through the door. How inviting does your business look from outside? Is someone available to greet them at the door? What does your display do to attract passing or casual foot traffic? Do you have space for customers to park or are all the best spaces taken up by your employees?
A welcoming reception desk
Your reception desk is (at least outside of the digital realm) the customer’s first exposure to your business. Is it making the right impression on them as they make their approach? Is the receptionist greeting them with a smile…Or diverting their attention from one ringing phone to the other?
Is the desk itself neat, tidy, clean and well organised or is it covered in pens and “post-it” notes? A messy or disorganised reception desk may not completely ruin your customers’ first impression on your brand, but it can set you off at a disadvantage.
On the other hand, a neat, tidy and visually welcoming desk combined with a smiling receptionist can start to build positive associations with your brand. A reception desk is also a great place to show…
Awards on display
You’re great at what you do and there’s no room for modesty. If you’ve won awards in the pursuit of excellence… Flaunt them! Seeing awards on display not only helps to assure prospects that you’ve been acknowledged for your operational proficiency, it also shows that you take pride in what you do.
Do you know anyone who doesn’t like something for nothing? Nope, neither do we. Branded goodies such as pens, sweets, mints or keyrings all help to create positive associations with your brand. What better way to say “thank you for thinking of us” than by rewarding a customer’s presence with a free gift? Branded goodies are affordable but the value they can add to your brand is potentially immeasurable.
What’s more, if you can offer prospects something to take home with them, you can ensure that they are reminded of you every time they look at it.
Is there any situation that can’t be improved by a refreshing cup of tea? Or a stimulating cup of coffee? Or a cooling glass of icy water? Customers and prospects are more likely to think positively of your brand if you can create a comfortable experience for them… And the right refreshments can make them all the more comfortable.
Don’t forget to make sure you have a good looking coffee table to rest the refreshments on.
The right lighting
Ask any photographer and they’ll tell you that the right lighting makes all the difference. It can make the colours on your branding pop and make the products on your shelves shine. It can even make the smiles on your employees’ faces seem brighter. The more natural light you can get into your premises the better. We’re predisposed to react positively to natural light as well as vestiges of nature, which brings us to…
When we see plants they instantly make us feel more relaxed and at peace. They also help to oxygenate the space and make for a more harmonious working environment. There’s even evidence to suggest that they improve employee productivity!
Art that makes a statement
Why leave your walls bare when you can invest in some statement art pieces which can capture both the eye and the imagination. Your choice in wall art can say a great deal about your brand and make subconscious associations in the eyes of your customers and prospects. Bold, vibrant, colourful artwork not only brightens up your premises, it also helps to build those all-important positive associations with your brand.
Can we help?
We hope you find these 8 ways to make a great first impression useful… After all, you’ll never get a second chance to make one.