On Friday I was at the wonderful wedding of my two friends Natalie and Gregg. It was an absolutely fantastic day, beautiful weather, beautiful Bride (Gregg looked great too) beautiful venue, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful… I could go on, but that’s not the point of this post.
A wedding takes a lot of time and effort to come together. There’s so much to plan – where the ceremony will take place, what the menu will be, which cars to arrive in, what kind of flowers to get, buying the dress, what drinks to order, which band/DJ/ Ceilidh band to hire, which cufflinks to wear, writing the speeches, arranging the seating plan, buying the favours. There is SO MUCH to do.
Your business image shares a few similarities to a wedding, and requires an awful lot of consideration to get right too:
These need to be sent out months in advance so that people can save the date – possibly book it off work, buy appropriate clothes and track down the perfect present.
For your business – how are you going to tell people about it? Do you need a leaflet to pop through peoples doors or to place in a tourist information centre? Do you need a social media campaign? Where are your customers and how are you going to reach them? Should you be sending out invitations yourself to a launch event or do you need to advertise? There are a lot of options for telling people that your business exists, you’ve got to work out which ones are the best for your business, maybe test a few of them and ensure that you let your target audience know about your business in the most effective way.
The venue at a wedding is a huge decision. Are you getting married in a church, a registry office or a hotel? Where will the wedding breakfast and the reception take place? Will there be somewhere nice to take photos and how are you going to decorate it? It can take a lot of research to find the perfect venue.
Is your business a real live open-the-door-and-say-hello business, or an online business? Maybe It’s both. This is your venue. If people come to see you then they need to have a great impression when they arrive. It’s no good if they turn up to a shop that is in need of a good clean, where they can’t find what they want or where the staff are rude. Or if they visit your website and can’t find out how to contact you or don’t understand what you do. You need to use your venue to project the right image and to make it easy for your customers.
Do not stint on the photography. This is what you will have left after the wedding, this will hang on your living room wall forever, this is what you’ll bring out and look at on your anniversary every year to remember your big day. It will stare you in the face whenever you visit your parents or grandparents – so make sure you pick the perfect photographer for the job or you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.
Are you having a leaflet, brochure or website designed for your business? Photography is so important. If you get it wrong, it just doesn’t communicate about your business correctly. I have already written a blog post about this (you can read it here) so I won’t go into it again here, but if you want to look the business, then you need to invest in photography that will make sure that your product or service is shown in the best possible way. It’s worth it.
Being a woman, I was very pleased that I didn’t have to make a speech when I got married! Wedding speeches must be dreadful things to have to prepare. Once you’ve done all the expected bits and pieces – thank yous and compliments – how do you make your speech stand out and be interesting?
In your business it’s important to get the words right. I would recommend asking a copywriter who can say what needs to be said succinctly and ensure that your business sounds fantastic. It’s a lot harder to do than you might think!
There are a lot of flowers at a wedding. Bouquets, button holes, table decorations, other decorations – we had flowers on mantelpieces at our wedding and ivy down the staircase, my friends had a green leafy arch around the entrance to the reception (with fairy lights in it) – other decorations might be table centerpieces – candles, mirrors, favours, bubbles, menus, table numbers, place cards, the table plan. Anything that contributes to the atmosphere and makes it feel even more special.
Your business doesn’t just need a logo. A logo and a brand are two very different things. Your logo is the main element. It’s the visual identifier for your business, it helps your customers to recognise you and differentiate your business from your competitors, but it works most effectively when it becomes part of a brand – when your business values and vision are communicated successfully and consistently through every touch point of your business, through colour schemes, typography, images used, tone of voice – in every printed or online material, in every conversation or email. That’s just scratching the surface.
Natalie and Greggs wedding was organised so carefully and with so much passion and commitment that the day went completely perfectly, not one thing went wrong. It was a day to remember. If you plan your business image in the same way with as much care and consideration, then you will find that your business will be remembered.