5 Questions About Your Brand Impression

Wondering if you're making the most of your real time with your customers? Ask yourself these five questions.

It's the 21st century. Do you know where your customers are?

The immediate and obvious answer to the question is that the customers are online. During work, during play, in bed at night as they wind down, your customers are undoubtedly online. Today's businesses reach out through email, social media, digital advertising, online shopping and many other methods to reach their customers in the virtual world. But with all this transition to digital, have you let your opportunities for real, tangible, face-to-face contact slip by the wayside?

Wondering if you're making the most of your real time with your customers? Ask yourself these five questions.

Are my business cards effective? Hold up. Business cards? In this day and age? Yes—in fact, now business cards might be more important than ever. You have a matter of only a few minutes to make an impression, provide your contact information, reinforce your brand and leave your prospect or customer with a tangible reminder of your meeting. A business card can accomplish all these things without downsides like uncooperative tech and signal dead zones, but your card should include all pertinent information, be professionally printed and follow a cohesive look and feel with your established brand and logo.

Do I have printed information to give to interested prospects? Got more time than just a few minutes? Trying to figure out how to extend your impact beyond the 15-minute meeting you have planned? The digital world does have a lot to offer, but emails and social media invitations can often get lost in the sea of online noise, and email attachments can be touchy due to cybersecurity. Leaving behind a professionally designed and printed flyer or brochure can accomplish many of the same things as a business card, with the benefit of additional information about your company and capabilities.

Does my office welcome customers? Your office is more than just a place to work—it's also the place customers and other business partners see as your headquarters and the energy center of your business. Look at it through outside eyes: Do you have visible, legible, in-brand signage that identifies your business? Does the office furniture and décor match what you would communicate about your company, given the chance? You might spend so much time there that it simply seems like four walls and a roof, but for visitors or even people driving by, it can tell a story all its own.

Do my products make a good impression? If your business provides a tangible product to the customer, you have a huge opportunity on your hands as they hold your product in theirs. Through labels and packaging (and even how you pack and ship your products), you can create a way to present your product that can be fun or fashionable as well as functional while reinforcing your brand.

Am I fully prepared for trade shows and other events? For many people, trade shows, industry events or sponsorship opportunities are the only time they get to present their business face-to-face to a large number of people. It's a tremendous opportunity and responsibility, and one that many squander. From signage to furniture, logoed giveaways to cards and brochures, a trades how booth can function as a microcosm of your business as a whole. Being prepared with a fully outfitted, branded booth and associates who are engaged (and engaging) can mean making the most of your investment as an exhibitor.

If you answered no to any of these questions, it's not necessarily a bad thing—it means you have an immediate, obvious place to improve upon as you look to make the most of the rare moments you have with your customers. And then you can ask yourself: it's the 21st century. Do your customers know who you are?