Change seems to be the only constant in our world. What do you need to keep track of to grow and protect your business? It is hard to know! Anna Anderson from Art Unlimited will uncover the recent marketing changes and events which affect businesses nationwide. This is the fourth of the five-part series on leveraging big data to predict success for 2021. This month's topic, brands, deals with how a roofing company can make a name for itself, literally, in today’s digital world.

The art of creating a brand is something all companies strive to achieve. Yet few businesses truly succeed at building a brand that holds recognition and respect. Perhaps you wonder why. It’s a very good question — one we are going to work on dissecting. As you’ll see, it is truly an art.

The definition of a “Brand” is: A name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.

Here are the four areas of leveraging your brand for success we will cover today:

  • Have Clear Messaging
  • Know and Share Your Culture
  • The Importance of Consistency
  • Manage Assets for Maximum Impact

Have Clear Messaging

Great brands need clarity of what they do and what is distinctly different from their competitors. This clarity begins with the messaging used when describing the service or product. Without a clear message, your brand will struggle to gain any traction. As I’ve helped brands go through messaging exercises, these guiding principles for writing content have emerged:

  • Use simple language in your core messaging.
  • State the problem people are having.
  • Share objections to solving the problem.
  • Describe the solution your product or service brings. 
  • Describe the visible results.
  • Identify the trust element connected with your solution.

By carefully crafting effective messaging you have just fueled multiple marketing campaigns. You can leverage common failures experienced by the customer through visuals or in written form. The same goes for the successful results achieved by using your product or services. Far too often we assume our target audience truly understands what we do, why we do it, and what problems we are solving. Breaking down the assumptions means we can clearly communicate within seconds in an effective marketing campaign.

Know and Share Your Culture

Great companies have a culture that exudes who they are. Why? Because they live their core values. Core values are the binding words a company uses to share what they value. All decisions should be filtered through these core values. Not only should core values be binding, but they should also be ideals you daily strive to achieve.

In the roofing industry, countless successful companies leverage their cove values within marketing campaigns. These core values are pivotal in creating internal and external raving fans. Core values are usually woven into your messaging or successful results content referenced above. We cannot expect our team or target audience to identify our values without stating them numerous times. 

If your company has not yet defined your core values, here are some action steps to begin the journey:

  • Identify your personal core values. Have your entire leadership team go through this exercise as well. Often, great leadership teams have a level of synergy within their personal core values.
  • What words describe who you want to be? It’s OK to have one or two aspirational core values; it just must be a realistic value.
  • What words describe the company you are today? These words should not be a facade but should be the true values you and the leadership team live by.
  • What definition describes these newly identified values for your company? Does it resonate with your leadership team? Are you ready to hire, fire, review, reward, and recognize, based on your core values?

Once your cove values and messaging are clearly defined, have been tested, and your identity is easy to understand, the fun starts. This is when we see:

  • Prospective team members raise their hand to join your team.
  • Customers respond to secure your services.
  • Customers provide feedback.

It’s the ultimate goal to be able to work with and for a company who has a clear message paired with core values they live and work by. This foundational work must be done far before we even begin talking about ad campaigns, yet it sets the stage for long-term success.

The Importance of Consistency

Let’s pivot slightly from messaging and core values to business information. I have been asked numerous times why we look so closely at the location of a business and its core contact information. Each entity has a digital fingerprint that needs to be consistent. Discrepancies cause lower performance. We call this NAP in the marketing world. It stands for your business’ Name, Address, and Phone number. These things must be consistent across all platforms, in addition to your messaging.

Businesses whose names clearly state the service or product they provide usually have an easier time being found for those items. This is one of the key reasons why messaging and core values are so important. Business names with vague or no reference to their core service struggle to gain digital traction. This can be overcome but takes significant effort. Your digital fingerprint needs to be well engaged with references to your brand and services, which could take years. Proceed with caution if you are looking at a generic business name; note there are rare exceptions to this rule. Running a brand audit will provide data on if your business can be supported by this transition. 

Ensuring your business has consistent NAP will require a digital audit. Questions to ask yourself include:

  • Has the name of the business changed in any way? What variations of the business name were used?
  • Have you changed locations? What were the previous addresses?
  • Were multiple campaigns running with different phone numbers? Where? Do you have access to or own the phone numbers?
  • Has the ownership of the business changed? What is the prior owner's name?

If you answer "yes" to one or more of these questions, you could have some level of inconsistent NAP.

Manage Assets for Maximum Impact

Branding requires not only NAP consistency, but also visual consistency. Many companies have slight variations of their brand across campaigns, which lowers their value and creates confusion. All of this is simplified by the creation of a brand manual. Brand manuals are designed to create visual consistency, yet few companies have them. What makes a strong branding manual?

  • Core logo file
  • One-color logo versions
  • Documented colors and color codes
  • Font styles and approved variations
  • Inverted logo options
  • Supporting messaging 
  • Guiding principles
  • Core values

A branding manual creates visual synergy for your company and can be shared with your marketing partners.

You also need to review all of your photography and video collateral. Does it support your messaging and core values? If not, create a list of visual elements that need to be created to support these items.

When you need to secure a photographer, they should review OSHA compliance prior to taking any photos. Are they aware of proper compliance? Is your team or subcontractor OSHA compliant? Non-compliant images could be used in a case against you. Having images with your company brand, local geographic landscape, and target services is a marketing game-changer. An image truly does speak a thousand words; a quality photoshoot is a must in my list of recommendations when working with a business!

Having a clearly defined, consistent brand will help your customer know your company. They will recognize your brand when they see your company trucks, your team, or a project. What changes do you need to make for 2021? Next month we will be covering one last way to leverage your big data to predict success in 2021.