Every day, just before rushing off to work, I’ll bet you glance in the mirror to check your image. You do it to insure you will project the right image. It’s a natural thing to do because we all want to look our best for any occasion.
In the same way you check your personal image, consider how often you check the image of your business documents. If your company is like most, it’s been years since you looked critically like the way your customers and prospects see (and critique) your image. Yet everyday your company sends out many documents: invoices, emails, receipts, business cards, labels, statements, instructions or information, advertisements, shipping cartons, bags, e-mails, checks, forms, envelopes – all with the company name boldly emblazoned. You have seen these documents for years and have not looked at them through a critical eye for a long time, yet a new prospect or customer will be looking at them for the first time. Maybe it’s time to take a critical look to insure your company is projecting the image you want them to see.
The process is simple. Go on a document-hunting safari. Gather everything that could ever be seen. Spread them out by function. Internal forms go in one pile, business stationary in another, advertisements in yet another. Get out your big red marking pen and go over each for functionality, esthetics, and furthering of business goals. Be brutal and your image will improve!
Are they congruent? Do they all have the same typeface, logo, contact information (address, URL, phone and numbers, etc.)? Are they current? Better check and make sure.
Are they easy to read? If part of your audience is in the mature age range check the font size
Are they easy to understand (not the same thing as easy to read)? If your forms are difficult to fill out and use people get frustrated, then angry, then leave and go somewhere else.
Are they visually up-to-date? They might have been designed when wide ties or beehive hairdos were all the rage but don’t fit contemporary cultural idioms.
Do they fulfill your marketing mission and make a positioning statement that reinforces your image to your marketplace?
If you find a major mess of documents from different eras, expressing a Babel of different images it might be beneficial to engage a graphic designer to put your document house in order. In other words, a document makeover.
The last step in the process, and probably the most important one is to mark the calendar to conduct another document analysis next year. It only will take a few minutes. Your image will be polished and you will be able to look in the mirror and wink back in pride!