As part of our Marketing in May webinar series, the Marketing department here at CompanyCam is contributing some fresh material to help guide you in your marketing efforts!
What’s a brand? Why do you need one? Let’s talk about that! A lot of people mistake a brand for a logo. Some think it’s a visual language used to sell products. And while all of these things are true, they’re mistaking the trees for the forest. One is part of a bigger whole.
So, who are you? Why does your business exist & what is the story of how it came to be? What is your product? What value does it bring to your clients? How does it impact them both physically and emotionally? There are dozens of companies that do what you do, so why should people care about yours? These may sound like ridiculous touchy-feely, head-in-the-clouds kinds of questions, but if you want to build a brand, they’re important questions to answer.
And you probably know the answers. That’s good; they’re part of your identity. And your identity is your brand. It sounds cliche but to quote Dr. Suess: “there is no one youer than you.” Your character, your story, and your product/service is what you build into a brand.
The trick is to communicate why you do what you do and to do so consistently. You need to humanize your business. People don’t want to build a house with so-and-so because their marketing looks the most attractive. People want to build a house with somebody they trust! Somebody with a good reputation. The better work you do, the more people will talk about it, and the more you’re represented, the more your brand is built.
How do you do that? Most of it is self-evident, or you wouldn’t be in business at all. You’re likely doing some of this without realizing it. From a marketing standpoint, there are 4 key things to be mindful of:
- How you look
- How you talk
- How you act
- How’s your customer’s experience
Your character, story, and these points are what is conveyed to your clients.
How you look.
A lot of people mistakenly focus on this the most. It’s an important piece no doubt, but too often it takes precedence over the others. Your logo matters, your marketing materials matter, and how everything looks certainly matters. You should take the time to make an attractive logo and create a guide for how it should be used and portrayed.
If you don’t have the skills to do this yourself, look for someone to help. To some extent, you get what you pay for in this realm. And there is no need to hire an expensive agency! If you decide to go this route, look at companies whose marketing you like, & do your best to communicate with your designer what you like about it.
“Good artists copy, great artists steal” the saying goes. Of course, that doesn’t mean plagiarizing people’s work and plastering your name on it (and no designer worth their salt would suggest doing that!). But you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to get a good logo. You just need to know what you want and communicate it as clearly as possible.
References are always great. Good logos aren’t created out of thin air, the creative process is collaborative, and it’s up to you to hold up your end of the bargain. Make sure your reference material fits with your brand. Who you are, what your company is, and what image you’re projecting (with your logo) are key things to consider.
How you talk.
This one is simple. Your company isn’t just you, it’s every single employee. Every interaction your clients have with your organization affects their perception of you. How you talk is what I commonly refer to as “your voice.” At CompanyCam we communicate following these 4 guiding principles.
We don’t want to come across cold and corporate or holier-than-thou. Our clients’ time is important and we want to make sure to respect it. We also speak with our users, not at them.
In the contracting business, you’ll likely find your own set of principles for how to talk to customers. This spills into both our marketing and our sales, and it will do the same for you.
How you act.
You are what you do. That holds true for anybody. Your clients won’t forget if you did them wrong. How you conduct your business is a big part of your brand. If you conduct it well, it will turn into sales all on its own! Once you’ve built up a good reputation, and you have a consistent visual identity (logos and marketing materials), your company will become synonymous with all of those marketing buzzwords like “reliable, trustworthy, dependable.” It will mean a lot that you do what you say. You’ll be getting referrals and hi-fives, shaking hands and kissing babies. How you act is probably the most important part of building a good brand, because your relationships are your business, and that’s the bottom line.
How’s your customer experience?
This one is a doozy and goes hand in hand with everything before it. You can look, talk, and even act the part, but if your customers have a bad experience, it’s all in vain. The last part of building a brand (and inspiring loyalty) is your customer experience. In addition to buying into the story and look of your brand, people buy things they can trust and rely on. For example, I pay for AppleCare on my iPhone. If my son decides to throw it on the tile floor when I’m not looking, Apple will fix it fast, with no trouble at all. I am not one for protection plans, but I trust Apple’s. Next-day-air-shipping-a-brand-new-phone is one hell of a message! That’s the power of customer experience.
If you try to squeeze extra money out of your customers or communicate poorly with them, they’ll notice. CompanyCam is a great tool for this part. We make it easy to be open, honest, and transparent with your clients by taking pictures at the jobsite. It helps you communicate with your crew so the details don’t get missed. Furthermore, do everything you can to ensure your customers have a great experience. It’s a big deal.
Building your brand doesn’t need to be difficult. In fact, you’re already doing it. The hardest part is simply understanding your company and being vigilant and intentional as to how you talk, look, act, and treat your customers. Think of your favorite brands. Coke? Nike? Google? CompanyCam ;) ? Each one of these companies has a distinct personality; a distinct niche. They created their brands the same way you do, by establishing the way they talk, look, act, and treat customers.
Think about your own business — where does it lie in those categories? It may take some exploration, research, and deep thinking — but I can assure you: at the end of the day, the investment is worth it. Building a brand is an important part of building a successful business.