Dan Antonelli, CEO of the New Jersey-based advertising agency KickCharge Creative, says there’s a common battle being waged in business, regardless of the industry — the battle for people’s attention.
And what helps a company win that battle? Superior branding.
Antonelli gave attendees at ServiceTitan’s recent Pantheon event plenty of advice on how great branding can help them reduce marketing spend and stand out from a crowd.
What’s key to making your company stand out is having a disruptive brand, Antonelli says. This is something that sticks in people’s minds even before they need the services you provide. He adds that for any company, the ultimate goal is having people search for them by name rather than Googling for a service provider in the area.
What’s in a name?
“Names that conjure an image are inherently easier to remember,” he says. Antonelli adds that last name or initial named businesses are the hardest to brand.
“The weaker the name, the more you’ll have to spend,” Antonelli notes.
With the right name and brand in place, Antonelli says companies shouldn’t be spending more than 10 percent of their budget on advertising.
“Anything more and that’s just tax businesses pay for being unremarkable,” he says. Going hand-in-hand with a good name is a good logo, Antonelli says. He explains that branding is like a wheel, and the logo is its hub.
“If not done correctly, the wheel won’t turn,” he notes.
WHEN TO REBRAND. Branding isn’t just important for new companies — well-established ones looking to reinvigorate their business should look into a re-brand, something Antonelli says can be a catalyst for success. Though he notes the longer a company waits to rebrand, the more challenging it may be.
“Don’t wait too long to do it right,” he says. “The longer you wait, the more expensive it’ll be.”
Antonelli says there are three main reasons why it might be time to rebrand. First is when the brand no longer represents you as a business. Next is when your brand blends in with the rest of the competition, and finally, when recruitment is a struggle.
“A good brand puts customers at ease,” Antonelli says. “They’re trusting you to do the right thing.”
HOW TO REBRAND RIGHT. Antonelli has some additional advice when it comes to rebranding — especially when redesigning a company’s vehicle fleet.
He says the best thing companies can do is skip the white service van, because that’s not advertising you, but advertising 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 doing it wrong,” he says.
When it comes to the vehicle, the company website or any marketing materials, Antonelli says having a clear, branded voice is essential.
“Speak with a voice that’s unique to you and not completely generic,” he says. Antonelli suggests companies look at their website and note that if they took their name out, could the site be talking about their competition or any other service provider?
“Remember, the weaker the brand, the more money it costs to market it,” he says.
The author is assistant editor of PCT’s sister publication, Lawn & Landscape magazine.