Are you branding?

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by The Lighting Geek, May 11, 2008.

  1. The Lighting Geek

    The Lighting Geek LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 875

    I was thinking today as I recover from a 2 day shoot. Let me tell you they are exhausting! I do a few things specifically to set me apart from competition and to help brand my company. I use flags with my logo on them, 8 colors. I had a branding iron made and we brand our connection boxes with 'The Lighting Geek' logo and website, we put stickers on the tf's, etc. What are you doing to set yourself apart, aside from the standard items as quality, service, and such?

    Do you think this is important or a waste of time and money?
     
  2. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,112

    Not only is it important, but I think in this business it is paramount. That is why I am following your pattern for success. Seems to be working well for you. The full page magazine add is a little scary but what are you gonna do huh? It takes money to make money. For me, branding is finding something very unique about you or your company. Whether it be your style, like the Geek, or if it is your name. Find that little nuance that is special to you and exploit the heck out of it. I want people to remember and associate me with lighting and bringing magic to their homes. Tommy has done a very good job with this, IMHO.
     
  3. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,207

    I like the branding iron idea Tommy. I do put stickers on all of the transformers and I have trademarked my name with the U.S. Department of Trademark and Copyright. If I were you Tommy, I would do that too. It doesn't cost much if you do it yourself and it will protect your name. I have my logo on everything I drive, wear to work, pull behind a truck, etc.
     
  4. seolatlanta

    seolatlanta LawnSite Member
    Posts: 176

    How difficult is it to trademark and copyright a company name?

    Just wondering....
     
  5. Eden Lights

    Eden Lights LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 805

    Branding is something that I could really work on: trucks, uniforms, signs, and etc. Branding of equipment though? My clients don't know where their transformers are and most don't know what their fixtures even look like outside of the decorative fixtures.
     
  6. The Lighting Geek

    The Lighting Geek LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 875

    the marking of the components also let's us know if it is ours or if someone tampered with the system.
     
  7. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,112

    Hey Tommy, you should use a wax seal on all of your hub enclosures. If the seal is broken the warranty is gone. That should keep others out. I know, I know, stupid idea. It would never work.
     
  8. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    We've been using a custom logo for about 7 years now, on uniforms, trucks, brochures, advertising. we are in the process of changing it to include a christmas and landscape lighting theme. All out trucks and vans have professional photographic graphics on them. I'm wanting stickers for transformers, printed with outdoor ink so they look good in 5 years- where are you guys getting them ?

    I've toyed with the idea of getting my own brand of lights in 3-5 years when this is a full time gig for myself and 2-3 employees. If we do 150 installs per year, and average 25-30 lights on each, maybe buying a container load of semi custom heavy cast bullet lights, with a shroud with matching pathlights is a good idea. It always seems I make a comprimase on the lights I use to get MOST of the features I want, but not all.

    I remember Mike G doing this at his level and he was a one man operation. he was very good at branding his company.
     
  9. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,207

    It is really quite easy to do this yourself. Go to http://www.uspto.gov/index.html and click on trademarks and then "Where do I start". It will pretty much walk you through the whole thing. It cost me around $400 for each of my two trademarks but I now own them and they are registered.
     
  10. bmwsmity

    bmwsmity LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Ohio
    Posts: 276

    I think it's important to keep your name in front of customers in order to create top of mind awareness.

    Logos, taglines, etc. are simply tools for this purpose. A label on a transformer is helpful for possibly capturing a client that moves in after the home is sold, but it doesn't do much for creating top of mind awareness IMO.

    In our line of work, it is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to truly brand yourself, simply because purchase frequency is low, the target demographic is somewhat small, and the dollars needed to truly brand are cost-prohibitive.

    I think the most important thing to do in order to get your name out is keep your business NAME in front of your current customers, along with your target demographic. Possibly sending a newsletter, thank-you cards, or just a simple phone call from time to time are great ways of reminding them about yourself. Sure, nice logos and professional image help this, but they aren't the really important component.

    There have been numerous times that I've called to check on customers and landed additional sales from the phone call. People are busy, and they often just don't get around to calling you, so be proactive.

    If you did a great job, did your follow-up to ensure satisfaction, and just generally gave great service, you've given the customer the real reasons to refer other clients to you. A pretty logo can never replace these things.

    One thing that would greatly enhance our industry is some sort of co-op advertising to raise the public's awareness about quality landscape lighting. A true integrated marketing plan that used multiple media forms to get the message out about where to go for quality landscape lighting.

    Once the public had more consciousness, we could all start to more effectively brand our individual companies.
     

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