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Branding Your Company - Building Value Into Its Name

by Ron Roberts and Ranger Kidwell-Ross

The term is familiar to us all: BRANDING. But what does it mean and, more importantly, why should you care?

Ron Roberts Branding means just what it meant down on the ranch in the wild west days - well except you replace the branding iron with your business' name and you replace the cow's butt with your prospects' minds.

In other words, branding is burning your company's image into the minds of past and future clients. That's the what. Now for the second question:

Why should you care?
Because branding can make you A LOT of money.

By branding successfully, yours will be one of the first names prospects think of when they need your type of services. Isn't that the whole point of marketing?

Even better, if you ever want to sell your business for more than the value of its hard assets, you'd better build a strong brand. People pay big money for well-branded companies. We'll get into this a little further in a second. Let's first dive into what branding entails.

Your clients and prospects use a recall method called positioning to remember your company.

Positioning means they rank you against your competition. Actually, they create several different rankings: price, quality, customer service, friendliness, promptness, your concern and empathy for them, and so on. On each, they mentally slot you between a contractor who is slightly worse and one who is slightly better.

Your prospects go through their list(s) and match up what they need to who they have positioned there. When you're not branded, you're not in their list. You can't get the work. When you are branded in their minds, you stand a much greater chance of being selected. Some people will even choose a contractor with a well known 'brand name' over and over even though they have spotty service. That's one of the values of a brand. On the other hand, when that's the type of service provide very often, it won't take long for your brand to be equated with 'bad service.'

Now, I'm guessing you've already figured out the bad news, that branding takes money. Lots of money. At one point in time, back in the '90s, AT&T was spending over 50% of its revenue on advertising. Coke's advertising budget was equally enormous, as are most other well known national brands. That's not something you, or any other contractor, can afford to do. Fortunately, you don't have to.

Because you are in a relatively small marketplace, you have a variety of other options that can be affordable. For example, you can start programs to prompt referrals, send out greeting cards, print and send periodic mailers, develop an email newslist, advertise what's new on your website; in short, there are many other means of maintaining relationship so that your prospects and clients remember you. All of these will improve awareness of your brand.

One of the terms used in branding is 'drip.' This means that you find a way to remind your customers about your company in a periodic fashion. You send the next item to 'drip' on them before they're too dried from the previous one. In other words, you stay in their consciousness -- without being annoying -- such that when they need sweeping or some other service you provide they'll be able to think of you right away.

Let's move on to point number two, how the brand of your company can and will affect your exit strategy.

Here we have one obvious issue and one not-so obvious issue. The first is purely financial, the second is almost purely emotional.

Buyers are ALWAYS willing to pay more for a well-known name. They assume the company's strength of brand will carry over for years to come. This often turns out to be true. Once a brand image is well established, its momentum will usually carry it forward for years.

This explains why consistently poor customer service or poor quality is a death sentence. You just can't shake the bad reputation. That's also why you will occasionally see an "Under New Management" sign on marquees and in ads. They're trying to shake their past (it rarely works).

The emotional issue involves your legacy. If you put your name on your company and develop that as your brand, you WILL lose control of what people associate with your good name after you sell the company. My advice? If you plan on selling your company to anyone other than a family member, don't name it after yourself.

As you move forward with the development of your business, pay attention to the brand image you are burning into your prospects' minds. It can work for you or against you.

In the end, it can be an asset or a liability. It's your call on how aggressively to pursue branding and whether you brand yourself -- or your company.

Until next time, best of luck with your business!

Ron Roberts,
The Contractor's Business Coach

More information about Ron Roberts' and his company may be found on his website Ron may be reached via email sent to

If you have new information to provide on this topic, let us know and we can add it in as an addendum to this article.

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