Dan Antonelli, CEO of New Jersey-based ad agency KickCharge Creative, says there’s a common battle being fought in business, regardless of industry: the battle for people’s attention.
And what helps a company win this battle? Upper marking.
Antonelli gave attendees to the recent ServiceTitan Hall of Fame event lots of tips on how great branding can help them reduce marketing spend and stand out from the crowd.
The key to making your business stand out is having a disruptive brand, says Antonelli. It’s something that sticks in people’s minds even before they need the services you provide. He adds that for any business, the ultimate goal is for people to search for them by name rather than searching Google for a service provider in the area.
What’s in a name?
“Names that conjure up an image are inherently easier to remember,” he says. Antonelli adds that the surname or initial of named companies are the most difficult to score.
“The weaker the name, the more you will have to spend,” notes Antonelli.
With the right name and brand in place, Antonelli says businesses shouldn’t spend more than 10% of their budget on advertising.
“Nothing more and it’s just the tax that companies pay to be commonplace,” he says. Going hand in hand with a good name is a good logo, says Antonelli. He explains that branding is like a wheel and the logo is its hub.
“If it’s not done correctly, the wheel won’t turn,” he notes.
WHEN TO CHANGE BRANDS. Branding isn’t just important for new businesses – established ones looking to reinvigorate their business should consider rebranding, which Antonelli says can be a catalyst for success. Although he notes that the longer a company waits to switch brands, the more difficult it can be.
“Don’t wait too long to get it right,” he says. “The longer you wait, the more expensive it will be.”
Antonelli says there are three main reasons why it might be time to switch brands. The first is when the brand no longer represents you as a business. Then comes the time when your brand blends in with the rest of the competition, and finally, when recruiting is a struggle.
“A good brand puts customers at ease,” says Antonelli. “They trust you to do the right thing.”
HOW TO REBRAND THE RIGHT. Antonelli has a few more tips when it comes to rebranding, especially when redesigning a company’s fleet of vehicles.
He says the best thing companies can do is avoid the white service van because it’s not about advertising for you, it’s advertising for the service industry in general , including all your competitors.
Another common mistake he notices on service vehicles is when the name isn’t prominent enough.
“If your phone number is bigger than your name, you’re wrong,” he says.
When it comes to the vehicle, company website or any marketing materials, Antonelli says having a clear, branded voice is essential.
“Speak in a voice that’s uniquely yours and isn’t completely generic,” he says. Antonelli suggests businesses check their website and note that if they removed their name, could the site talk about their competitors or any other service providers?
“Remember, the weaker the brand, the more money it costs to market it,” he says.
The author is associate editor of PCT’s sister publication, Lawn & Landscape magazine.