Standing apart in the marketplace with a badass brand is what makes KickCharge Creative’s service so valuable in the HVAC industry. Dan Antonelli, President & Chief Creative Officer for KickCharge shares valuable information about why rebranding is never a bad move, what makes a brand successful in the trades, and how to not waste your brand on something as unremarkable as a couple of initials.
A staple of the trades, Dan has worked with over 1500 brands, including over 500 in the HVAC/plumbing space. He’s written 3 books on local design and branding, received numerous awards for his contributions, and doesn’t mess around when it comes to his branding expertise.
Branding has never been more important than it is right now. Unfortunately, we’re seeing the results of poor branding affect the trades in a great way in recent months. Your brand isn’t just what people say about your company, it’s an incredibly important first impression to potential customers and employees alike.
To better understand what your brand is, Dan uses the analogy of a wheel. Think of the center of the wheel, or the hub, as your logo. Extending outwards are the spokes, or the touchpoints that integrate your logo. These are aspects of your brand like truck wraps, internet marketing, business cards, stationary, and social media. Together, the entire wheel is your brand.
If the hub of the wheel isn’t efficient, the entire wheel becomes shaky. There are a lot of companies out there that don’t have the core components of their brand dialed in, and spend too much time forcing the wheel to turn when they really need to go back to square one and get the hub right.
Dan has some strong words of caution for companies that use initials for their brand. The brands, he says, are those that evoke a visual and positive expectation of a deliverable. Initials don’t say anything about your company, whereas a name like “Expert Air” gives some sense of what to expect from your service. Should the customer expect you to do the right thing? Should they expect experience and high-quality service from you? Your brand needs to have a name that will not only stick in mind when the customer needs service, but says something about who you are as a company.
In a sea of trade companies, it’s easy to blend in. Dan calls this “blanding”. It’s a generic logo, a simple name, and the same marketing that every other Joe’s Heating uses for their brand. KickCharge Creative pushes companies outside the box to create a brand that truly stands apart in their service area.
Especially in the home service industry, brands need to combat the inherent bias that many have about the trades. They might be afraid of getting taken advantage of, much like the person with no car knowledge going to a mechanic. Your brand needs to speak to the execution of a deliverable, and generate a sense of trust in your potential customers. When people see your brand and logo on your trucks, uniforms, and marketing, they’re already forming their opinion. Why not control that conversation? With proper branding, you can convey a message about your company before you even ring the doorbell.
Many contractors are hesitant to embrace the change that comes with rebranding. They’re comfortable, and hear customers say “we see your trucks all over the place”. It’s understandable why some are afraid to take on a rebranding, but just having your name out there is missing the point. If hundreds of people see your logo every day but don’t have the impression you want of your services, what good does that do?
Dan has overseen rebranding for hundreds of companies, and not once encountered a case in which the rebranding resulted in a decline of revenue or loss of sales. It has always ended up as a positive change for the company.
In order to stand apart from the herd, you need a strong, unique, and deliberate brand. If you’re interested in investing a rebranding for your company, or simply want to learn more or get some feedback from an expert, you can email Dan with your questions. Or, to learn more about KickCharge Creative, give their YouTube channel a look. There’s a ton of helpful information about branding and what they achieve as a team.
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