If you’ve been in business any length of time, you undoubtedly have some sort of brand created for your company. Way back when you launched your website, purchased trucks and printed business cards, you put some thought into your company name, logo and a tagline that summarized your company mission.
At the same time, you may have also developed a company philosophy, your company’s core values that would drive your success. But, if you’re like many AV integrators, you stopped there. You got busy in the day-to-day of bids, POs, design, integration, and service.
Your marketing was pretty much on auto-pilot as your sales team went out there and did the daily hustle to respond to inquiries, pursue leads, and close deals. From those initial successes, referrals started coming in, helping to drive new business.
But now you look around and the industry is renewing its focus on marketing. You see that your peers are doing cooler, more intriguing things than you are.
Their website has been updated, redesigned to be slick and responsive for all browsers and devices. They’re creating content, soliciting testimonials, developing a social media presence, and garnering media coverage as a result of it all.
But here’s the good news: There’s still time for you not only to catch up, but to jump to the head of the pack. All you need is to develop a process for content marketing, the willingness to make the commitment, and a small-ish budget.
But let’s back up a step. What exactly is content marketing?
Think of content marketing as referrals on cruise control. Share engaging, interesting, original stories – either about your company and the work you’ve done, or about industry trends that your audience may want to know about. Promote theses through your company blog, a newsletter, on your website as a case study, or in industry trade magazines.
Your customers and prospects will begin to think of your brand as a recognizable name they can trust. As you lay the groundwork with enough content marketing, your Google rankings rise, the public perception of your company grows, and new business starts coming in – even when you’re not actively selling or marketing. To see this in action, check out the D-Tools Blog site.
Don’t worry, if you focus and commit, it won’t require a large upfront investment. It will require some investment of time or money, but as your company’s online reputation grows as an organic result of the fresh, new content you’re putting out there, you’ll see that the results are exponential. You’ll see it happen and will realize you’re starting to get out much more than you put in.
Remember, you can always trade time for money, and vice versa. AV integrators who want to raise their profile and get into the content marketing game can either devote the time to creating the content themselves, or hire outside talent to help.
Not only does outsourcing reduce your company’s time outlay it may help with budgeting and resource allocation.
Back to Branding 101
Branding is the “intangible sum of a product’s attributes,” according to the advertising executive David Ogilvy, commonly hailed as the “Father of Advertising.” This is a pretty good definition in the abstract, but in essence your brand should communicate to your customers what to expect when engaging with you.
More specifically, branding is:
- The perceptions consumers have about a product, service, or company
- A unique set of characteristics that differentiates a product, service, or company
- The recognizable colors, logo, styling, messaging, philosophy, people and culture that set your product, service, or company apart
I also like this description of branding from New York Times bestselling author and Founder of Pencils of Promise, Adam Braun: “Branding is the sum of the look and feel and voice of a company or organization that transfers into people’s experiences and perceptions of the company or organization itself.”
If it’s been a while since you first launched your company and developed your brand, you may want to take your current offering, approach and near-future business climate into consideration as you’re looking at how your brand is represented and craft content that speaks to this and draws your intended audience in.
Think about your own company’s brand. What stories do you tell? What perception do people have of your company? Is it as positive as you want it to be? What could you do to ensure the perception remains positive?