Beauty and the Business

Are you aware about your branding aesthetics? Do you care if your business “sparkles” or just one of the ordinary?

Some of you probably say, “Who cares? I’m not in the business of being pretty. I’m in the business of selling good products and services”, right? Well, you’re partially correct. You are not in the business of looking pretty but you’re wrong about your customers NOT caring.

As a Graphic Designer, I learned a long time ago that I’m not in the business of being conceptual nor abstract. Nor am I in the business of being artistic for the sake of self-expression. I am, however, in a business of selling services through creativity, innovation, analytical strategy, provocation, and practical presentation, and “aesthetic” happens to be a crucial element of these selling recipes.

I know it sounds superficial to say that “if your product looks good, it will sell.” It is as big of a lie as the saying “If you build it, they will come.” But we all know that “beauty” is capable of single-handedly selling a piece of crap product. We all buy stuff even when we know that the advertisement is a flat out lie! The colorful pretty box on a crowded shelf always jumps at you first. It’s purposely designed for you not to miss it! It’s the one that screams, “Buy me! Buy me! I’m prettier than the rest of these ugly losers!” It’s true! Ask yourself, when was the last time you bought something because it’s pretty and you could careless if the damn thing last you shorter than your previous marriage? Sorry, didn’t mean to hit a nerve there. But pretty things do not mean good products. IKEA anyone?

Well, since I mentioned marriage, I might as well get in to it. I promise I’ll be careful this time. But before I proceed, I want to make it clear to you that I’m not favoring “beauty” by it self with no hint of any quality. Nor am I against marketing products through deception and blinding tactics using aesthetics. I love “beautiful” products and services because of their great presentation in marketing approach as well as the integrity from a consumer point of view.

To build my case, have you heard of this guy named John, who 5 years ago ditched Rose, whom everyone knew was the smartest and kindest girl on the block. Instead, he married Jane, who happened to be the prettiest and most popular girl in the whole town of Skinville. Now, Rose, happily married with 3 healthy children, is a successful CEO of her own well-established company while still manage to be a homemaker (not to mention cooks a lovely dinner for her husband every single night when he comes home from work.) and John, a broke-ass drunk who cannot remember if he became drunk because Jane left him or because Jane left him with half of his life earned savings.

OK, I just made it up…or did I?

But anyway, I know that nobody could have blamed John for choosing Jane over Rose. He went with his instinct, his gut feeling. Like a lot of us buy things through impulse or pressure. How could John know about Rose’s real potential? Research? Who has time for that?

But wouldn’t it be nice if Rose was as pretty as Jane and still had all the (non-superficial) good quality in a woman a man could ever wish for?

So you may ask yourself, is what your business offers to consumers a “Jane” or a “Rose” or both?

Making your business appealing through your marketing and presentation does not mean just hiring a good design and marketing team to create you a pretty logo, a slick packaging, and a stylish advertising campaign. It also means conveying your message to your consumers with promising quality and integrity. Now that’s a beauty.

Time for a Sparkle Inspection

It’s a normal workday. You drive to work, park your car in back and walk in through the “company” door. Just like any other normal workday but today I invite you to walk in the same way your customer does. Walk in through the “Customer Door.” Conduct a “Sparkle” inspection.

A Sparkle Inspection? What’s that you say?

Let’s step back a moment, back to your Foundational Statements – you know… your Mission, Vision, and Values. I’ll bet that somewhere in those statements there are references to customer satisfaction, quality, high levels of performance, that sort of thing. Maybe you wrote those statement because you felt obliged to impress someone, maybe you felt you were expected to mention these customer-friendly attributes, or maybe you wrote them in because you were sincere about wanting to impress your customers and prospects (or at least not turn them off because of slovenliness. Either way, it has probably been years since you inspected, really inspected, your physical location for “Sparkle.”

So, you walk into your place of business through the “public” door. Does that door have greasy fingerprints all over it or is it inviting? Does the entry look and smell like a used ashtray with cigarette butts (and their smell) sticking out of a flowerpot? Is the carpet clean? Are the plants healthy or do they look like they are about to perish in the middle of a desert drought heavy with spider webs? Does the public area appear to be part of a successful, bustling business? If not it’s definitely time for a change.

If you have a waiting area, it is clean, tidy, and orderly? Is reading material strewn all over the place or neatly arranged attractively? Are lightening fixtures clean or dusty? Are chairs lined up or do they look like a horde of teenagers have camped out for a day or two? Are there dust bunnies in the corners?

When you inspect the work area, does the work area pulsate with a busy hum with tools, work-in-progress and finished work orderly or does it look like chaos?

More importantly, once you have made any necessary changes and your business sparkles, how are you going to keep it that way? One small, local company formed a three-person committee charged with inspecting the public area the first Monday of every month. They go through a checklist and post it. Corrective measures are taken to insure they sparkle… always!

Sparkle Cleaning Is the Tinkerbell of the Office Cleaning World

Office cleaning is a daily necessity, but there are times when you want your offices to stand for who your company is, and to be the face that impresses visitors, guests and employees alike. Do you remember that first day back to school after the cleaners had been alone in the halls for the whole summer? The sparkle of the staircase, the glimmer of the entrance hall – it inspired, didn’t it?

Maybe you’re appealing for investors, or maybe you’re celebrating your first decade as a successful business – give your office a sparkle clean to let it know how much it means to you, and give your public something impressive to look at. Just like our homes, which we clean daily or weekly, there are few of us who can resist a spring clean or a good pre-Christmas deep clean; the same applies to offices.

After your daily office cleaning team has been in, you arrive at work and everything is back in its place, the carpets are cleaner, your keyboard has been given the once over and your bin is empty… you’re in an effective workplace, motivated and ready to do your job.

But after time, despite rigorous daily office cleaning, offices start to feel the wear and tear of daily life, so, like the rest of us, they need a little pick me up. Enter the sparkle clean. A sparkle clean goes deep; it leaves no surface untouched, and each of those surfaces is given the detailing of its life: floors and skirting boards are gone at with a small brush to remove any grimy build-up from a mop slopping water at it every day. Computers get a behind-and-under cleaning, getting rid of the dust build-up in the fan covers and the bunnies that linger at the back of the computer units. Cables are cleaned and reorganised, monitors are wiped thoroughly to remove fingerprints – as are stainless steel surfaces, and glass walls and windows. Dirt that has worked its way deep into carpets is removed, restoring your carpets to their former glory.

The aim of the sparkle clean is to inject newness and luxury back into your workspace – to motivate your employees and astound your visiting clients. Every surface is left with a clean sparkle that reminds you of the first day you moved your company into the offices. Or if your office has grown from a tiny, one-man business it may never have had such an amazing clean because your focus has always been on the work and not on the environment. You owe it to yourself to throw some magic back into your office.

Everyone benefits from a sparkle clean.