Local businesses are beginning to reopen, but will it be business as normal?

There’s no question that the last several months have been tumultuous to say the least. Businesses have seen a wide range of effects as the result of the COIVD-19 global pandemic. Some have survived, some had had to close, all have had to take a hard look at how they were doing things and pivot. A big take-away for me and many businesses that I have heard from is that as much as this has been stressful, it’s also allowed us to take a much needed deep breathe.

For those of us who were not directly impacted by actually getting sick, I believe that this was a once in a lifetime chance to step back and evaluate. Whether that was looking at how we run our businesses, our staff needs, our processes, our systems, etc. One thing that I advised back in April when this started was that business owners and heads of marketing should use this rare “down time” to examine the brand image of their company. As we start to get to work, it’s not too late if you haven’t yet done it, but the last thing you want is to get busy and say “I wish we looked at all of this when we were not slammed”.

As a reminder of what I had suggested would be beneficial to any company (or organization, non-profit, etc):

  1. Look at every place that your company logo exists. Business cards, letterhead, invoices, envelopes, signage, brochures, your website, etc. Take photos of the logos with your phone and save them. You’re looking for inconsistencies in color, taglines, layout, etc. You can pay a graphic designer to update your branding for consistency later.
  2. Pull out your existing brochures, flyers etc that you are actively using. Read them front to back. Do they match your website in both content and design? If no, rewrite the content. You can pay a copywriter to rework it later. Consistency across all of your marketing channels is critical.
  3. Go to your website and click on every single link. Page by page. Look for broken links or links that don’t go where they are supposed to. Make note of them in a Word doc. Do you have old content that needs to be updated? Employees listed on your site that no longer work for you? A headshot of yourself from 2003? You can pay a web designer and photographer to fix these things later.
  4. Go to Google and search your company. Spell it in the different ways that you think your audience would search and click every result and read everything. You likely have outdated info on other sites (directories, vendors, partners, etc) that can be updated by contacting them. You can also see where your company is mentioned and what is being said. After all, this exercise mimics what your potential and current customers are doing so be in the know.
  5. Google your company name and then search by image. Do you have old, outdated images that are on Google but perhaps not on your website? Make note of the image links. If you rebranded, is your old logo still appearing online? Make note of it. You can pay a web designer to fix these things later.
  6. Do you have online reviews that you didn’t know you had? Reply to your customers so that they know you are interested in what they think of you. Do you need reviews? (Yes is the answer) Learn about Google Reviews and how to get them. This assumes you have a Google Place listing. If you don’t, then make one. If you do, make sure it’s up to date and complete.
  7. Look for company pdfs that are online that you may not even know about. Many companies host their pdfs on their site and even if there are no longer active links to them, they are still there. You can go to Google and type in “pdf” (no quotes) then a space then site:www.yoursite.com. If you have any pdfs, they will appear in the results. Make note of any that you don’t want online. You can pay a web designer to remove them later if you don’t know how.

 

These tips are a list of the most common things you should search out, learn, inventory and make a plan to fix/adjust. It all comes down to being 100% in the know about your own company and what’s out there. I talk to people all the time that “haven’t looked at their own websites in years” or “Can’t remember different taglines they’ve used with their logos over the years”

Often, this type of “inventory” work takes the most time. Fixing things should be easy if you hire a professional when needed, but they will need all of this back info in order to work efficiently. Gather it now and be in the know for when you’re ready to move forward!

Spin350 Creative is named as one of the Top Graphic Design Companies Of 2020 from DesignRush. I’ve been helping businesses small and large since 2001, and I’ve received more 5-star customer reviews than any other Boston design studio.