I recently visited Berlin and was fascinated by the urban vogue and predominant trends in pedestrian culture. Most noticeable is the general disinclination toward anything showy or flamboyant. Everyone drives around in very well maintained but ageing cars, they conceal their iPod headphones under headwear and are content living in relatively small, uninspiring domestic residences.

It was amazing! I fell in love with the idea instantly but I had to ask a local why no one wanted to own new cars. He explained, “In Frankfurt everyone spends 3 hours in the mirror every morning to look like they have stepped out of a fashion catalogue. In Berlin we spend 3 hours in the mirror every morning to look like we’ve just gotten out of bed.”

So what does Berlin have to do with business image? Consumers today are infinitely more experienced in interpreting advertising and the image your business holds is constantly scrutinised, evaluated and compared with thousands of other media messages we receive on a daily basis. It’s not your list of services or your refund policy that consumers first approve or dismiss; it’s your image, branding, logo, storefront and that large photo on your billboard advertisement.

Your business doesn’t need to be the latest and flashiest on the street to have great impact. Your branding and image does not have to be a specific colour or backlit with metal trimmings, but it must be intentional!

The element of intent is what separates a work of art from a paint bucket dropped on a canvas. Think about what image you want your business to portray and what you don’t want it to portray. Consider the messages that it sends to your market. Get help if you think you need it. I good designer can lift your brand and give it the edge that it needs. A good photographer can present your business in the best light possible. You may not need to renovate the place, but you should invest time into considering how your image and branding are received and how it can be improved. Don’t leave it up to chance, make it intentional.