You know your company does amazing work. So why aren’t you dominating your market with amazing sales figures?
You have great referrals and repeat customers but new prospects aren’t knocking on your door. But are you stuck in the low bid nightmare of RFPs? Do you struggle to attract new employees? But, deep down you know you're a badass firm!
You might have branding issues.
Hell, if you're on this blog you already have a feeling there might be a problem with your brand or your branding.
Most people use the word brand to refer to their company as a whole or their logo, but what I mean here is the definition people hold in their minds of your company and the products/services it offers.
Everyone has a different brand perception of your company, including your clients, prospects, employees, competitors and your community.
It's like a personality that they assign to your company and it affects everything from your sales figures to how people feel about working for you. (Still not sure what a brand is? Check out this FAQ about branding)
Sounds like a big deal? It is.
Finding your company's voice isn’t just for woo-woo entrepreneurs. It's essential for your business to succeed – and keep succeeding.
You may be thinking, “well if my ‘brand’ is in the brain of the beholder, how can I do anything about that?”
THAT, my friend, is a very good question.
A brand is built in two ways: by what you tell people and by what they experience.
So, how do you brand an A/E/C company? Here are some of our favorite tips on how to successfully brand your A/E/C business or trade that supports them.
Take a good, hard, long look in the mirror
Are you focusing on tactics? Blaming the marketing and sales team for poor performance. Take a good hard look at the strategy underneath your website, marketing, and sales efforts. Is it clear? Let's go deeper, is it clear who your company is, who you are meant to serve and why your company and your offerings are ideal for the customer?
Feel uncomfortable? GOOD!
To get the best results from your branding, marketing, and sales efforts, you need to look at those awkward questions, face up to things that simply aren't working in the business and decide what new foundations you can lay to solve those problems going forward.
Is your team doing their best with the shaky foundation they have to work on? Do you have fundamental branding issues that need to be solved?
What makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning and head into work? Does your team understand what the company stands for and against? Are you well-positioned in your chosen market? How are your offerings aligned with the target industries and customers? Is your messaging aligned with who you are as a business?
The answers to these questions or at least a plan to get to these answers will help create, shape and influence your brand going forward.
Don't just copy your biggest competitor!
Every company is unique, and branding should highlight that.
Copying your competitor might seem like an easy, quick solution to a difficult problem – but it will hurt your business in the long run.
You are the only one who does what you do, the way you do it. You have a unique combination of skills that no one else has. You need to let your customers know!
Your brand is what will make you stand out. It should say: “This is who and what I am. This is why I exist. If you agree, if you like me, you can hire me, support me, and recommend me to your friends.”
A good brand creates customer loyalty, employee loyalty and a secure income for the business owner.
Know your landscape and build a strong brand foundation
Your brand, just like any structure that is built to last, relies on a strong foundation. Part of your foundation is finding a position of strength in your market and differentiating yourself from your competitors.
By showcasing your company's uniqueness and establishing your expertise in the marketplace, you'll attract the customers you want and stand out from your competition.
Strong brand foundations:
- Go deep into the ground, securing you in your place
- Are well designed, well thought out and engineered with precision
- Are made of quality materials – as with everything, you get what you pay for
- Will protect your investment for the long haul
A good A/E/C company brand will stand on its own two feet, communicating what you do, why you do it and who you are built for, clearly. If you need outside help to identify your company's branding issues and come up with a plan to fortify your foundation… give us a call, this is what we do.
Personal branding goes a long way
In this industry, people want experts.
Prospective clients want to know you know your stuff. They'll go out of their way to get to tried and trusted experts, knowing their project is in the best hands.
How do you showcase your expertise? Personal branding.
Get your staff headshots and bios on your site.
Get individual names and faces out there – attend conferences, become guest speakers at events, get articles in trade publications. A great way of doing this is by establishing a well-written, engaging blog. Show your expertise and become a well-respected thought leader in your field. Get known for what you do and get people to remember your names and faces.
It might feel weird or uncomfortable at first, especially if everyone's used to hiding under the company name, but it works. People trust people they know.
Get Ready and Be Prepared
Getting your brand aligned with who you are is not about designing a new logo.
Your brand foundation is the navigational “true north” that guides everything – from competitive positioning, operational procedures and hiring/recruitment to, yes… logos, slogans, and all creative execution.
So, are you ready to look at your branding?
- Do you have specific goals you want to achieve?
- Does top management recognize the need?
- Does marketing staff recognize the need?
- Is rebranding a priority?
- Have you set aside a budget?
- Have you identified the internal team to work on it?
- Have you identified your outside branding partner?
If you've answered yes to most of these, you're on your way! The good news? We can help.
Branding & Beyond are brand advocates – not just an “agency”. We dig in and go deep – we want to find out who you are, what goodies you have to offer that align with what your prospects want. We don’t stay on the surface.
We help A/E/C firms and the trades that support them, stop apologizing for their outdated websites and neglected brands.
Sound good? STOP blending in. STOP sounding like everyone else. It’s time to strip away the old veneer and show off the core of what makes your company great.
If you need help building your brand foundation and you're ready to say goodbye to your branding issues, give us a call. We specialize in rethinking and rebranding companies. Let's do this!
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Tracy O’Shaughnessy Founder / Lead Brand Strategist of Branding & Beyond
Tracy and her team help B2B firms in the construction industry look and sound credible online and off.
She has been in the industry since the early '90s and is tired of great companies being treated as commodities and competing on price because they don't look and sound as credible as they really are.
You can find Tracy on Linkedin and here on this blog.