From lipstick color to slick new marketing efforts, we’re always conscious of our image, both personal and professional. If the New Year has inspired you to take the measure of your business, you’ve probably scrutinized your image from all angles, determined to be as glossily perfect as possible. It’s inevitable: even the least paranoid among us secretly wonder, “What do they think of me?”—that great “they” being anyone from longtime clients to in-laws to postal workers. We can’t help it. Like actress Sally Field, we want to be liked. Really, really liked!
And if our image is key to getting attention, the message is crucial to keeping that spotlight. You’ve parsed and played with the message, too. Is it concise and clear, letting customers, and potential customers, know just what you’re offering, promising and delivering? Like many of us, you may tweak that message year –round. Perfecting that wording, adjusting the tone, and reminding staffers to keep it center stage.
And the ultimate check on the endless check list: how does that message line up with your overall image? Think about those car commercials so ever-present during the holidays, the ones where a shiny new car sits in the driveway, adorned by an enormous red bow on the roof. Wow, what a great gift. Who wouldn’t want one? (The car, not the bow, although the bow is certainly impressive enough that you MIGHT get away with giving that on a gag gift.) That’s the message, right? The ad campaign has been around awhile, so you’ve seen it, but honestly, do you remember what car it’s pushing? We recognize the bows—the packaging—but not the brand. At least I didn’t. I guessed and was surprised how way wrong I was. The indelible image of the gigantic red bow made an impression, but the message of the ad— Buy a (your guess goes here!)—was lost in the snow.
In tallying your new year, new-you expectations, take an outsider’s view of what you’re seeing, and what you’re saying. If you’ve got a matched set, you’re on the road to 2010 success, even without a big red bow.
PS Just in case you’re wondering…that big red bow is wrapped around a Lexus in those holiday commercials!