Discover your free Construction Marketing Ideas Email Newsletter

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Branding, Marketing, Advertising, and Salesmanship

At times the debate on this thread, Branding, Marketing, Advertising and Salemanship, has grown heated, and I've contributed to the heat. The issue: Is branding relevant for most contractors.

Readers here know that I consider that most contractors with a solid reputation and much repeat and referral business to have an excellent brand, whether or not they are great at marketing. Mike Finley, a successful Colorado contractor, disagrees that this client-centric perception of branding is correct. He says branding is far more related to whether people with no connection with your business "know" it and have a perception and desire to do business with you, regardless of your actual client relationships or product/service quality. He cites businesses with dubious service and client value with big brand names, who do well regardless of how "good" they are in the client experience process, and suggests that branding is out of reach for most contractors.

Of course, there is some truth in both arguments. Polaroid's brand is worth at least $58 million even though the company is bankrupt and its products have been replaced by the digital camera -- at least that's the value bidders are placing on the company name and assets in a current court-supervised bankruptcy auction. And in a large city, unless you define your community by a specific niche or neighbourhood (recommended!) it will be virtually impossible for you to obtain enough mental impressions on potential clients who don't know you at all to lock you in their minds.

The other side of the argument, the one that I've advocated, is that your brand is indeed healthy if current and previous clients are so impressed with your service that in good times you have enough business with repeat and referral clients that you don't need to do any marketing at all.

I advocate that successful marketing need not be expensive or complicated, but you are starting from a good base and now can leverage your existing healthy brand through creative outreach and client service programs, and if you wish to stretch things further (also recommended!) that you plan effective media and advertising campaigns built on the demographics of your best clients.

Regardless of whose side of the debate you are on, you will find the this thread's discussions rewarding and probably helpful to your business development process.

No comments: