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Profit Building Strategies: Aesthetics

Jun 26, 2008
Having a business that portrays a professional image has always been important, but the ability to trade in a global marketplace makes this all the more important. Gone are the days when you could depend on the fact that your customers will be stopping into your shop to discover how charming and professional you are. In those crucial moments before a buying decision, those who don't know you will often judge on appearances - if it walks like a duck, they'll quickly conclude it's a duck. And, in most cases, this occurs before you've ever had the opportunity to make your big splash.

From the crisp lines of your logo to the personality you convey with your packaging, don't skimp on your overall brand appearance. Despite what your momma may have told you, what's on the outside really does count - at least when it comes to portraying your brand.

The overall look of your brand can be likened to coordinating a terrific outfit to wear on the all-important first date. You may have a great dinner jacket, or the perfect little black dress - but if you show up looking like you just rolled out of bed, chances are you'll be spending next weekend sitting at home...alone.

Like a chain, your brand is only as strong as its weakest link. That said, select each component accordingly.

Fonts: Simple & Classic
When it comes to fonts, less truly is more. Particularly for those with a creative flair, it is easy to fall prey to updating our marketing materials or website with the "font-du-jour." Save it for your scrapbook - nothing will dilute your brand, not to mention confuse your customers quicker than frequent appearance changes. Our goal is to become unforgettable, and that won't happen if your customers can't figure out who you really are.

Another point - point size for fonts, particularly on your website, is very important. You may need to make certain design concessions to accommodate your market; for instance, if your market targets seniors, increase your font size to accommodate those with failing vision.

Conveying Your Brand With Color
Many studies have been conducted on how color affects our buying preferences. From the commanding presence of a deep, ruby red to the regal elegance of purple, to the purity reflected by a simple white background - color plays an important role in our overall brand image. Be sure to select colors that create a visually-appealing palette, and are reflective of your market. For instance, a business targeting toys for toddlers is likely to feature bright, primary colors, in order to appeal to children. The same color scheme is not likely to garner favorable results if it were used to promote an investment product. After all, who wants Bozo the clown managing their portfolio? Thanks, but I'll pass.

Knowing your market will go a long way toward helping you select a color palette that is both attractive and appropriate.

Just Picture It
If your small business budget can't bankroll a professional photographer to provide you with site imagery, royalty-free photos offer an affordable alternative. Sites such as istockphoto, dreamstime, and Big Stock offer inexpensive images in a wide range of subject areas - and, in some cases, allow you to request specific types of photos from their featured site photographers. These images lend a professional appearance to your site, without the associated price tag.

You can sum up the takeaway in five little words...it pays to look good.
About the Author
Traci Hayner Vanover, The Promo Diva(R), is the publisher of Create the Dream magazine, http://www.createthedream.com, and the president of Market Outside the Box Trade Association, http://www.marketoutsidethebox.com. She also works with private clients as a publicist, copywriter and consultant.
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