4 Tips for Creating a Valuable Brand
Construction Pros tend to think of themselves as craftsmen. They work hard to become the best they can be at what they do, whether that’s installing or patching asphalt shingles, drywall, kitchen cabinets, tile showers or wood flooring. Do the work right, on time and on budget, they figure, and word will get around and business will take care of itself.
And they are right. All these are fundamental to their success as independent contractors. The problem is that they are also assumed as givens by most homeowners, as discussed in our article about the need to create an effective value proposition.
This approach to business may be fine if you are content earning $60,000 to $80,000 a year working by yourself for the rest of your life. But if you aspire to build something bigger — something you might be able to sell one day to invest in a franchise or fund your retirement — you need to think about turning your one-man act into a brand.
A well-crafted brand is valuable for the same reasons an effective value proposition is valuable — you can use it to position your business as a premium provider of services. This will enable you to charge higher prices, turn down less profitable work and attract customers who share your values.
Turning a business into a brand takes time, perseverance and patience. At a certain level, it also require a lot of advertising, as can be seen by all the HVAC contractors advertising on television these days. But the rewards of creating a valuable brand can be substantial if you plan to sell your business one day.
Key elements of a brand include:
- Clarity: When it comes to creating a valuable brand, start by stating what services you offer and where and why you excel at providing them. Is it expertise in Airbnb apartments, the Internet of Things, energy efficiency, high-end finishes, exotic or reclaimed wood, high-rise remodels, eco-friendly design, speedy 24/7 availability or express or extended manufacturer’s warranties?
- Consistency: Even if you can’t afford a brand awareness campaign, prepare for the day you can by presenting it consistently every time you engage with a customer. This goes beyond logo design and includes the fonts, colors, tagline and other design elements you use on business cards, websites, vehicles, work wear, social media, your blog, bid documents and invoices. If you use a tagline, try to include it everywhere, including in your listing in online directories.
- Focus: Your brand should go hand in hand with your unique value proposition, which means it should seek to differentiate you as the very best at doing something very specific.
- Personality: When thinking about creating a valuable brand, think about the personality of your brand. Are you serious, irreverent, fun, no-nonsense, transparent? Again, ask customers, suppliers and colleagues what they like about working with you and see if any patterns emerge in your customer reviews. You won’t always want to adapt the same tone in all your customer communications, but you will want a default voice that reinforces your brand promise. This will come in handy should you decide to launch a blog, which can be a great brand-building tool for small businesses.
It’s important to get these things right for the day when you can afford to set aside serious advertising money in your marketing budget for driving brand awareness. Until then, focus on incorporating your brand into everything you do and don’t underestimate your power to establish your brand locally, where it matters. According to many marketers, consumers will remember a brand after just five to seven impressions, and social media is one of the best ways to generate those impressions.