By Garret Smith
When you hear the word “brand,” what do you think? You may immediately turn to that catchy TV jingle or cool advertisement with your favorite athlete.
Maybe it’s the high-priced consultant yapping about how glacial metallic sky blue is a better color choice than cool mountain aqua because the hue resonates with facilities managers who are ages 25-45.
It’s more likely a mixture of thoughts about your company’s name, logo, colors, what you look like and perhaps even what people (customers) think about you.
You’re probably wrong, in any case.
Brands are far from colors and logos, catchy advertisements or cheeky slogans. A brand is not what you do - it’s why you do what you do and how you do it.
A brand that brings customer appeal and helps seal the deals starts well before any designer enters the room.
It starts with defining these four things:
Your company brand starts with the very reason you are in business in the first place: the better tomorrow you’re helping to create. The right vision statement will inspire and gives greater purpose to your existence. It makes your business about more than a paycheck for employees and moving snow for customers. They become part of something a little bigger than themselves.
At WNY Snow Removal, our vision is: To be the leading snow and ice management company in Western New York by 2025.
While your vision paints a picture of a brighter tomorrow, your mission statement should focus on what you’re driving toward today. Your mission statement is not a road map; it’s more like a sign in the woods that points you in a starting direction. It creates a rallying cry for employees and customers alike, something to look to on those cold nights when maybe one doesn’t want to go shovel that walk.
At WNY Snow Removal, our mission is: To clear a safe path for customers, employees and families every time out, using the most effective equipment and techniques.
In driving toward your vision through a daily focus on your mission, there’s a good chance you and the team will hit some black ice along the way. Your core values document the principles upon which your company operates and provides services.
These values allow you to align talent, operations and service experience with a shared way of thinking that ensures how you do business is carried out. It also tells customers what you’re about.
At WNY Snow Removal, our core values are: Community, Leadership, Empathy, Accountability, Results.
Let’s face it, the snow business can be very competitive. So, what makes you different? From what many customers can tell about snow contractors, the only difference is the color of the trucks. In creating a positioning statement (I recommend Geoffrey Moore’s), you clearly define for all who, what, why and how in a way that’s clear for your team and customers to understand. It’s your elevator speech … the advertisement that each team member echoes when asked, “What do you do over there?”
At WNY Snow Removal, we use the following positioning statement: For businesses and homeowners who want customized, high touch, snow and ice removal management, WNY Snow Removal offers the latest in snow and ice management services that provide businesses and homeowners with an effective plan for consistent results unlike traditional snow contractors who do something else 8 months out of the year at WNY Snow Removal, snow and ice is all we do, so we can put the focus all on you.
Remember, building a brand for the ages starts well before your logo and color scheme. It begins with deciding who you are, how you do things and why you’re different from every other company.
Smith is founder of Pitch + Pivot, a sales and marketing agency. He is also co-founder of WNY Snow Removal, where he’s responsible for the company’s sales, marketing and business development efforts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.