Is Branding Only for Large Companies?

Posted by David Chism | Wed, Jun 10, 2015

 Is Branding Only for Large Companies?

If you own a small to medi­um size con­tract­ing busi­ness, chances are you have heard mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als tell you that you need to build your brand or invest in brand­ing your com­pa­ny. Hear­ing that you need to do” mar­ket­ing to build your brand does not sound good to most of you, because you are think­ing, Yeah but I need my phone to ring today!” I am right there with you. Get­ting that phone to ring is the lifeblood of our busi­ness­es, right? If that phone is not ring­ing, my guys are not working!

The title of this blog, Is Brand­ing Only for Large Com­pa­nies?” was inspired by a com­ment I received from a cab­i­net con­trac­tor on one of my blogs. He was frus­trat­ed that some of the ad dol­lars he had invest­ed in an online social site did not get his phone to ring. He came to the con­clu­sion that brand­ing is only for large, nation­wide com­pa­nies with BIG budgets.

Build­ing a Brand is Necessary

I do see this con­trac­tor’s point, and I agree with him to a cer­tain degree: com­pa­nies that have more mon­ey can typ­i­cal­ly spend more on brand­ing cam­paigns than com­pa­nies that do not have the cash.

In my opin­ion, where this guy went wrong is that brand­ing is cru­cial and is not always for just the big nation­wide com­pa­nies. I am all for pulling the plug on a web com­pa­ny that promis­es you leads (lead gen­er­a­tion) and does not pro­duce. Yet I am also in favor of invest­ing mon­ey in web­sites, print and com­mu­ni­ty events for the pur­pose of build­ing one’s brand. I am a bit more con­ser­v­a­tive on this approach, but I do think a com­pa­ny needs to have a good plan that involves branding.

Why Does It Matter?

Here is why I think it is impor­tant to build a good brand both on- and off-line. Let’s sup­pose you are adver­tis­ing on Ang­ie’s List. You are among the top 5 rat­ed com­pa­nies on the list. Joe Home­own­er goes on Ang­ie’s List to find a painter. He thinks any­one on the list with lots of great reports must be good. In oth­er words, he has faith in Ang­ie’s List. So he selects 3 or 4 painters to give him a quote. Not always, but chances are, he will select a mid­dle or low­er priced quote because again, he trusts that any­one on that list has to do decent work, so why not go with a low­er bid?

See where I am going with this? Now, how does good brand­ing help? How do you sell more work if your prices tend to be high­er? Good brand­ing! This is where I believe that being an edu­ca­tor to your audi­ence (i.e. con­tent mar­ket­ing) as well as a cus­tomer ser­vice prince will help not only make your brand more mar­ketable but will help win projects. Joe Home­own­er might get a bid from 3 or 4 top rat­ed Ang­ie’s List con­trac­tors, but if you are the one that has giv­en back the most, edu­cat­ed him the most and built up enough trust in his head already, you just might have a bet­ter chance at being the win­ning bid.

So How Do You Build a Good Brand?

Many books have been writ­ten on this sub­ject. For the sake of time, I’ll nar­row it down to just a few key things.

  1. Blog­ging or Vlog­ging: Edu­cate your audi­ence as much as pos­si­ble by main­tain­ing a good blog. If you don’t like to write, start a YouTube chan­nel and begin answer­ing ques­tions from your cus­tomers and prospects so you become viewed as the expert.
  2. Social Media: Get involved in social media. Nor­mal­ly this is a very inex­pen­sive way to brand your com­pa­ny. You do not need to be on all social plat­forms. Select the ones you feel will be the more reward­ing, ones you feel most com­fort­able with: LinkedIn, Pin­ter­est, Insta­gram, Face­book, Google+ and so forth. Get involved in the con­ver­sa­tion and build your com­pa­ny brand and your own per­son­al brand! Brand­ing does not always have to cost you mon­ey, but it does require time and energy!
  3. Speak­ing Engage­ments: Become a keynote speak­er and edu­cate your audi­ence on a par­tic­u­lar sub­ject you are an expert in: paint col­ors, primers, deck­ing, stuc­co, or roof­ing, for example.
  4. Com­mu­ni­ty Events: Learn where your cus­tomers and prospects hang out around your city. Make sure you have a good plan to be involved in the events they attend. If your prospects tend to be fair­ly wealthy, chances are they are into sports such as cycling or run­ning. Do what you can afford: give out water bot­tles at a race, spon­sor the race with your logo on the race bibs if this is avail­able, give out pop­corn, spon­sor a lit­tle league team, serve cof­fee, join a non-prof­it etc.
  5. Serve Your Cus­tomers: This should be the eas­i­est part! Do an incred­i­ble job serv­ing your cus­tomers. This should be from the moment they call or email you to the future, even years down the road. If you con­tin­u­al­ly do a qual­i­ty job and treat your cus­tomers like gold, they will come back and con­tin­ue to use your ser­vices. They will also be your brand pro­mot­ers and refer you!

Build­ing Your Brand Is Hard Work

If you want qual­i­ty leads, you have to work for them. They don’t just show up overnight. Cre­at­ing a good con­tent mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy is a great way to build your brand. Yet that too can take months (some­times years) to real­ly make your com­pa­ny the expert. I know that Riv­er Pool and Spas stopped most tra­di­tion­al adver­tis­ing (yel­low pages) and put all their effort into blogs and videos back in 2009. They began com­mu­ni­cat­ing to their audi­ence in ways that were very help­ful, mak­ing them an edu­ca­tor, an author­i­ty in their indus­try. As their brand became stronger, their leads became bet­ter. They went out on few­er bids and closed more work! Oh, and they spent very lit­tle out of pock­et to get those leads. It just required their own time and patience.

A great quote from Glenn Llop­is from a Forbes arti­cle he wrote sums this point up: Your audi­ence wants to know you before they begin to buy from you.” How long will it take to build that trust? In most cas­es, it takes years, but it only gets better!

Brand­ing is not just for the big com­pa­nies. It is for you. It is nec­es­sary to build your business!

image cred­it: pur­chased from dollarphotoclub

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


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