BY MIKE DRAPER
The most important thing to understand about branding is that it’s not about getting your target client to choose you over another contractor. It’s about getting him or her to view you as the only one who can provide the renovation of his or her dreams.
In order to succeed in branding, you must understand the needs, wants and dreams of the homeowner. People buy from a brand because they trust it. There are many examples where people continue to buy a brand knowing the products they offer are not necessarily the best. In some cases, people buy things that might not even be healthy for them. Why do they buy from them? Because no matter where they buy it, they know exactly what they are getting and they know the company will stand behind their product.
Homeowners who want to do a renovation are no different. The main problem in contracting is that there is no national renovation brand. So people ask their friends at dinner parties, look at lawn signs, notice names on trucks, etc. How many times have you received a call or had a neighbor drop in while you were working on a home and ask you if you could help them with something? The fact is that the trust they have in their neighbor is now being transferred to you. This is a great example of a passive transfer of trust. However, since it is passive it means that you did nothing to make it happen. Branding plays a very active role in transferring that trust from one homeowner to the other.
You do this by marketing your brand at every point of contact with a homeowner and while at a job site. For example, having branded trucks in the driveway/on the streets and the job site sign prominently displayed on the lawn in full view of all people passing by is critical to building your brand. Far too often a beautiful sign is placed in a great spot on the lawn only to be blocked by a big white van with no branding on it. That’s a waste. Not only is the lawn sign blocked from view during the day when there is a lot of traffic, but the sign is blocked by a vehicle that is not displaying your company name or, even worse, has someone else’s brand on it.
The more on-site workers that wear your branded clothing the better. Every time a worker walks onto your job site without a uniform you have missed an opportunity to promote your company. Getting trades to wear your brand might be tough at first. One suggestion might be to make it a mandatory requirement for those working with you. You may even have to provide the shirts, but the exposure you’ll be getting will be well worth it. Plus, it will make your company look far bigger than it might actually be.
Your brand resides within the minds of homeowners. It is their experiences and perceptions of your company (some of which you can influence and some you cannot) that build up your brand. So make sure your company is always making a positive impression.
Mike Draper is a business coach for Renovantage and a frequent contributor to Canadian Contractor. www.renovantage.com