• The Best Way to Build a Contractor’s Brand – Part II

    Jan. 4, 2013
    Most contractors have a marketing gold mine that they squander away. The gold mine is their service trucks. At Comfortech, Steve Miles and I gave a joint presentation on the power of mobile billboard advertising. This is a summary.

    This is Part II. For Part I, CLICK HERE.

    To make the most of your mobile marketing, you should follow good design practices and avoid bad practices. Given that the advertising value of your truck is around $15,000 per month, it’s worth taking time to get your trucks right and to correct mistakes. Here are good truck design practices:

    • Bigger is better. Make your logo LARGE. Make it visible from a distance.

    • Higher is better. Place logos higher on the truck so that they are visible above other cars. Fed Ex provides a good example of large logos, placed high.

    • Bolder is better. Bold logos easier to see from a distance. You’re increasing the number of impressions with a bold logo.

    • Tell people what you do. Bubba’s Services communicates nothing. Bubba’s Services could be a lawn service. If your company is Bubba’s Services, add “residential heating and air conditioning service, repairs, and installations.”

    • Use color. Color stands out. Press the home key on your computer, close your eyes for a couple of seconds and see where your eye is drawn. It probably zeros in on the Contracting Business logo at the top left, rather than the headline. Why? The Contracting Business logo is in color.

    • Use color strategically. Color works best when its use is limited. Use it for emphasis.

    • Add contrast with borders. Putting a border around your logo can make it stand out if this adds more contrast.

    • Use upper and lower case or small caps. IT IS HARD TO READ ALL UPPER CASE because we learn to read by shape. You’ve probably seen the following on Facebook or in email…

    The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghi t pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

    • Use shadows for depth. Shadowing the letters of your logo can give it a sense of depth and make it stand out.

    • Use angled text. Humans have an instinctive “fight or flight” reaction to the unexpected. We expect text to follow the horizontal plane. When it’s not. When it’s cantilevered slightly, we instinctively notice it. Angle the text of your logo on your trucks.

    • Use angled graphic elements. Stripes, swirls, and other graphic elements can be used at an angle to direct the eye to your logo.

    • Paint the truck. It’s surprising to most contractors to learn that there’s no law requiring white trucks for contractors. What else could explain the predominance of white service trucks? Stand out. Pick a color no one else is using and get your trucks painted (and repaint them when you retire them). When you think about the cost, think instead about the advertising impact. Once people begin to associate a color with your company, merely seeing a glimpse of your truck is as good as an impression.

    • Play off local sports team colors. By mimicking the colors of a local high school, college, or professional team, you can gain a positive association.

    • Go fluorescent. Be very, very bright. Use a fluorescent color and really stand out.

    • Use multiple colors. Using different colors, if done well, can make your truck more visible and distinctive. This is a good strategy if you are in a larger market someone already “owns” the major colors.

    • The only number worth promoting is an alpha number. No one is going to write down your phone number from the side of your truck in traffic. If you are parked in front of a customer’s house and the neighbor is looking out the window, a small phone number on the front fender or door is big enough. Don’t waste your truck real estate with phone numbers… unless you have an alpha number (e.g., 1-800-HOLIDAY for Holiday Inn). Then, make your number big because people can remember it.

    • Use brevity on the front. When people see the front of your truck, it’s because you are traveling against them in traffic. You will flash by. About all you have time to read is a logo.

    • Use ovals and circles to break the expected pattern. Related to angled text is the use of ovals and circles. These design elements tend to draw the eye.

    In the next issue of CB Hotmail, practices to avoid will be addressed.

    The Service Roundtable is issuing rebate checks this week. For the year, we paid out more than $2 million dollars to contractors for buying parts, products, and services from our Roundtable Rewards partners rather than someone else. Are you getting cash back on your purchases? In not, join the Service Roundtable and enroll in the free Roundtable Rewards program. Call 877.262.3341 for more information.