How branding can take your business to the next level

Dan Antonelli, CEO of New Jersey-based ad agency KickCharge Creative, said there’s a common battle being fought in business, regardless of industry: the battle to get people’s attention.

And what helps a company win this battle? Upper marking.

Antonelli gave attendees to April’s ServiceTitan Pantheon 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, Antonelli said — something that sticks in people’s minds even before they need the services you provide.

He added 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? But what makes a good brand? Antonelli said there were a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, the name.

“Names that conjure up an image are inherently easier to remember,” he said. Antonelli added that businesses that use someone’s last name or initials are the hardest to brand.

“The weaker the name, the more you will have to spend,” Antonelli said.

With the right name and brand in place, he boldly asserted that businesses shouldn’t spend more than $10 on advertising.

“Nothing more and it’s just a tax that companies pay to be mundane,” he said.

Going hand in hand with a good name is a good logo, Antonelli said. He explained that branding is like a wheel and the logo is its hub.

“If it’s not done right, the wheel won’t turn,” he said.

Antonelli added that everything including social media, web design, uniforms, printed materials and more will flow from the logo.

WHEN TO CHANGE BRANDS. Branding isn’t just important for new businesses. Well-established companies looking to reinvigorate their businesses should investigate rebranding, which Antonelli says can be a catalyst for success. However, he noted, the longer a company waits to rebrand, the more difficult it can be.

“Don’t wait too long to get it right,” he said. “The longer you wait, the more expensive it will be.”

Antonelli said there were three main reasons why it might be time to switch brands. The first is when the brand no longer represents you as a business. The next is when your brand blends in with the rest of the competition. Finally, when recruiting is a struggle, maybe it’s time.

“A good brand puts customers at ease,” Antonelli said. “They trust you to do the right thing.”

HOW TO REBRAND THE RIGHT. Antonelli had some additional advice when it comes to rebranding, especially when redesigning a company’s fleet of vehicles. He said the best thing companies can do is skip a bland service brand, because that’s not advertising for you, but advertising for the service industry in general, including all your competitors.

“Look like a company people are willing to pay more for,” Antonelli said. He also suggests using a unique color palette.

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 said.

When it comes to the vehicle, company website or any marketing materials, Antonelli said having a clear, branded voice is key.

“Speak in a voice that’s uniquely yours and isn’t completely generic,” he said. Antonelli suggested companies look at their website and ask themselves if they remove their name, could the site talk about their competitors or any other service providers? If so, a stronger voice is needed.

“Remember,” he said, “the weaker the brand, the more money it costs to market it.”

The author is associate editor of PCT’s sister publication, Lawn & Landscape.

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