By Seb Wals
We all know how important it is that we present ourselves well during business meetings or client pitches. You might be up against 5 or 6 other competitors so you dress smartly, you make sure your shirt is nicely ironed, your shoes are polished and you try to say all the right things.
And yet when it comes to their brand a lot of businesses seem to adopt a much more casual attitude. Often there appears to be this mentality of ‘Why invest a lot of time and money on doing all that fancy design stuff? Our customers don’t really care about that. What matters is that we’re really good at what we do, so as long as we tell them that they’ll believe us.’
Even those companies that do recognise the importance of design rarely seem to stray far beyond occasionally updating their logo and business cards or getting a new website designed, thinking that’s perfectly enough. But that’s basically the equivalent to getting a nice haircut just before a meeting and then walking in wearing flip flops and a fluffy bathrobe. It’s the full package that counts.
The main driver in the B2B sales process is trust, so you’ve got to cover ALL the points at which your customers interact with your brand, whether it’s on- or offline. No matter how insignificant something may appear to you, it’s the smallest thing that can cause a potential customer to lose that trust. You may have given them a professional looking business card or a sexy brochure and you may have said all the right things in a meeting, but when they ask you for more information to share with their decision makers and you send them a ratty old Word document case study that Dave the intern put together two years ago, chances are you may have just lost a sale, or at best, made it a lot more difficult for yourself.
A well designed, coherent brand improves trust and engagement, both externally and internally. Existing clients will feel more confident recommending you to others, employees will feel that the business is moving forward with the times, and most importantly, your sales team will become far more confident and productive when they’re out there selling because they have access to well-designed collateral that backs up what they’re saying, rather than make their jobs more difficult.
But don’t just take my word for it.
According to the UK Design Council of all the S&P 500 companies, those that invested in good design saw a massive 299% increase in financial performance, versus a 75% increase in those that hadn’t. And don’t forget these are very large, well-established businesses which tend to benefit from an already solid existing customer base. For most small and medium sized businesses that continuously have to hunt for new clients the financial impact of a professional looking brand will be far greater.
In other words; Great design makes great business sense. So, now’s the time to take a long hard look at your brand and see if there’s a pair of flip flops that needs replacing.
Latitude Solutions Ltd
t: 0208 920 3435
London N21 1LE