I’ll be the first to admit that I was an ugly duckling kid. I wore octagon shaped glasses and was a bit chunky in middle school. I guess the octagon glasses made me look like an owl because one little boy used to say, “HOOT HOOT” every time I walked by him!

Entering my freshman year of high school, contacts replaced my glasses and I became as skinny as a rail. The teasing stopped and I was amazed how much easier life became. We all know looks matter.

As uncomfortable as that sounds, we all know it’s reality. Beautiful people are trusted and valued more than the average Joe. Does this same idea also translate into the type of products and services we buy? Is consumer perception of your product quality dependent on how your website and logo looks? Or, do consumers make all their choices based on price?

We all know first impressions count. You can improve your credibility just by having a updated, clean and professional looking logo and website design. An aesthetically pleasing brand identity will distinguish your company from your competitors and communicate trust, professionalism, enthusiasm and loyalty.

The first step in creating an attractive and unique brand identity is to evaluate your target audience and understand their values. Learn to speak their language and craft your look and message to reach them.

For example, a teenage boy in high school has different needs than a young lady who just graduated from college. Education, age, lifestyle, gender, career, income and geographical location all must be considered when determining how to connect with your target audience. Once you know who you are trying to connect with, it is much easier to create a brand look or identity that will speak to your target audience.

Keeping the teenage boy as an example, a brand identity to this target should have a modern and hip look that feels exciting and vibrant. If you are a financial consulting company and your target audience is older, you will want a more professional and sophisticated look that conveys trustworthiness and strength.

A clear and defined target audience will also help you determine what media to use and how to craft a compelling message to reach them more efficiently. Remember, excellent content and substance are vital, but looks really do matter to your ideal customer!