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Picture This;
Five Easy Steps to Spruce Up Your Company's Image
By: Rob Peters

Whether you are single system operator, or have 15 DJs, your company image is crucial to your success.  But, what is image?  Image is how the public views your business, from your performance to your general business practices.  Image exists on many levels, from your marketing literature to your performance on stage.  How you choose to present yourself speaks volumes on the type of entertainer you are, the type of business you run, and the success of your company.  As a mobile DJ, a portion of our bookings are a result of referrals, some of which are from people who watch us perform at events, and like what they see, hear and participate in.  Image plays a role in such referrals, due to the fact that your image during performance will add to the success of an event.

Take a minute to think about how image can be presented to the public.  The effort and success of your image will help position your business in your market area.   How you present your company can happen on many different levels, whether it's through your slogan, your marketing materials, your performance, or the customer service you provide.  Image works hand in hand with marketing, and these two aspects of your business support each other.  You may have invested a great amount of time and money on your literature, however if you show up to perform at a wedding wearing ripped jeans and a t-shirt, then you're money is not well spent on your literature. 

Step One: Don't dress like a waiter.

How many times has this happened to you;you are performing at a wedding reception.  As you walk through the crowd of tables, a guest leans back and asks you for another fork for their main entrée, or for more rolls, or for another drink.  You have obviously been confused with the wait staff. 

What can you do?  Well compare what you are wearing to the staff at the facility you are working.  Most function halls require their wait staff to wear a uniform of a tuxedo shirt, black pants and other tuxedo accessories;which is more than likely the same thing you are wearing.  Talk with a tuxedo shop about changing the vest or bow tie to something that is a little different that allows you to be noticed as the DJ.  Use your discretion however; wearing a bright neon yellow vest and bow tie will help you stick out at your events, but can also be overkill.

Another nice touch is a name badge, which you can have made at almost any office supply retailer.  It allows guests who approach you at an event to feel a little more comfortable with you when making a request, or when the banquet manager forgets your name.

How about during the load in?  Most of the DJs I have come in contact with wear street clothes to load in and set up, then change into their performance clothes before their event starts.  Do those street clothes consist of a shirt with your company name on it?  They are great to wear during set up because it creates an impression of professionalism with the facility you are working at.  Most specialty advertising businesses have catalogs with different styles for business apparel.  However, do your homework when shopping for business apparel. Ask about set up charges, quantity limitations and do not be afraid of price shopping for a great deal. 

Step 2: Anybody have a pen;

Since we're on the subject of specialty advertising, pens are another great investment;they do not cost much and have dozens of uses when it comes to your marketing and image efforts.  Always have a few with you when you are at an event, as you are bound to encounter someone wanting to borrow a pen.  Let him or her take it.  Who knows where it may end up?

If you work with Karaoke, then you definitely know the need for a pen.  Leave a bunch near your song listing and request slips.  They may not remain there all night, but they are better than using broken pencils or even crayons, and who knows where they will end up.

Step 3:  Do a gig, get some publicity.

Charities are a great way to present and improve your image with a whole pool of potential customers;your community.  Involvement with local or national charities is a great way to promote yourself and your company, and possibly get future business. With local charities, the chance for publicity is even greater, provided you work to ensure your company can get in on it.

Be forewarned;most non-profit charities and organizations are usually looking for you to provide your service for FREE, which is often looked upon by DJs as a turn off.  But take a moment to think about how much you are investing in advertising.  There is a way to get the best of both worlds: Trade your service for a sponsorship in the event.  With a sponsorship, your company name will be included in any publicity or advertising for the event;posters, t-shirts, newspaper ads and articles, even the local access cable TV coverage!  Obviously, you want to get it all in writing, including the organization's plans for advertising and publicity, and make sure that the arrangement you make with the organization is included in the contract.

On the day of the event, be sure to be prepared.  Bring some brochures, pens, and a big stack of business cards to hand out.  Remember, "you can never put a price tag on future goodwill."

Step 4: Say "thank you" as many ways as you know how.

Show your clients you value their business.  After each event, you should be sending out a "Thank You Card".  You don't have to be fancy, just a sentence or two to thank your client for allowing you to perform at their event.  Include a few business cards too; one for them, and two for them to pass to possible referrals.

But is that enough?  Think about the last 5 events you worked , and how many people other than your client you dealt with:  the function facility, the photographer, the caterer, and even the Elvis impersonator.  Why not send them a "Thank You" note too.  These people can be the source of future referrals, and you never know when or where you will work with them again.

Step 5: Do some construction;.Build a mailing list.

This step works in conjunction with Step 4.  As you come into contact with clients, vendors, and other event professionals, you trade business cards and eventually you have a whole list of names and addresses of people;..people who may need or know of someone who need your service in the future.  Put those computer skills to work and build a database with this information and use it.  Maybe create a newsletter, send out a birthday card to a function coordinator, or announce that you have added a new service to your existing business. 

I know a DJ colleague in my area who when he goes to a DJ convention, he brings his mailing labels and database with him and sends postcards from the convention to keep his presence fresh, even when he is out of town.  I met another DJ recently who sends each of  his function facility contacts a Thanksgiving greeting card.

As you continue to work with these people, you will pick up on certain things, like their birthday or anniversary or other personal information.  Feel free to use this information to keep your company's presence fresh in their minds.

At a recent DJ Convention, Chuck Lehnhard of Spectrum Mobile DJs made an excellent point: " If you act and present yourself like a professional, you will be treated like one, and paid like one."  This quote is perfect when discussing the image of your business.  Defining the perfect image is entirely up to you.  It is important to note, however, that your image will be perceived by the public with mixed reaction.  What may appeal to one bride and groom may not appeal to the Human Resource Director planning their company picnic.  Everyone's perception will always be different.  If your image standards portray a professional representation, then you and your company will become well known. 

Rob Peters; Operations Manager, The Event Connection; Stoughton, MA



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