DEFINE HOW YOU WANT TO BE PERCEIVED
In the building industry, we all know the importance of keeping our word. Branding works the same way; a business may be known only for its shortcomings if no one is shaping or communicating its authentic brand.
You can start developing your brand by defining these three components of your company:
1. What is the personality of your fabrication business?
2..What promise do you always keep no matter what?
3. What is your competitive advantage (position)? In other words, what do you offer that your competitors can’t?
If answers to these questions come to you easily, there’s a good chance that you’ve probably been practicing the principles of branding. If you’re struggling to fill in the blanks, you may want to go a little deeper and explore your company values, image and reputation. Ask others what they think is the reason for your success.
Is it that you’ve remained focused, specializing in countertop replacement and home renovations? Perhaps you’re part of a long-standing family business with an excellent sales team that maintains a relationship with customers well after the job is done. Your customer net could be cast so far and wide that even homeowners know of your work and willingness to offer consultations free of charge. The story behind your success should reveal insights that describe the essence of your brand.
After you’ve established your brand platform, showcase it consistently through a graphic identity – this is the public face for your brand. Do all your marketing and sales materials appear as though they come from the same company? If not now, they soon should. A brand look and feel is more than just a logo or business card. A brand identity should be carried throughout every public touch-point, including:
• Letterhead/Stationery/Fax Cover Sheets
• E-mail Signatures
• Truck Graphics
• Note cards/Envelopes
• Shipping Labels
• Web site
• Sales Folder
• Direct Mail
After you’ve developed your brand face, you’ll want to give it a voice. What key message should be repeated every time someone is introduced to your business? It also makes sense to have a company tagline, a short phrase that expresses the basics of your brand.
REAP THE REWARDS OF BRAND EQUITY
A well-defined brand is backed by substance — what you do best. If your work is lauded by happy customers who attest to the beauty of your work and the skill behind your craftsmanship, your branding efforts will be credible.
If remodelers, builders, big box retailers and kitchen/bath showrooms know who you are and are quick to send customers in your direction, you already have a good reputation. Now, you need to leverage your success by translating your reputation into the components of your brand.
During this economic slowdown, you likely have more time to devote to business development. Make sure brand planning is part of this effort. A healthy business backed by a strong brand will thrive when the housing market becomes strong again.
About The Author: Geo Purdie, founder and principal of Purdie Rogers, leads strategic direction and brand management for clients. Purdie co-founded Purdie Rogers in 1990 with Andrew Rogers and has more than 20 years of experience in marketing strategy and creative direction. Over the past several years he has built Purdie Rogers into a nationally recognized advertising & public relations firm focused exclusively on the luxury home and building products industries.