A strong brand can give construction firms a great deal of leverage from a pricing standpoint. It can increase your competitive edge, pricing power, timeliness of payment, and even tolerance of change orders.
Let’s make one thing clear. The owner or facilities manager will never tell you that your firm won the job because you had the strongest brand. Neither you nor your client use that term, but it does affect our perception and behavior.
What is a Brand?
A brand is not a logo, despite misconceptions that exist in the construction industry. Your brand includes your logo, color scheme, tagline if you have one, reputation, client experience, and the overall perception of your firm. It is this collection of factors that collectively influence your customer’s buying decision and willingness to loosen the purse strings.
One of the best ways to illustrate branding power is with the common scenario of car shopping. Regardless of what we drive, we have all test-driven vehicles from economy to luxury and made buying decisions based on our perception of a brand.
When you jump into a BMW, for example, you are immersed in quality from the design of the exterior, to the layout and appearance of the engine, to the attention to detail and sturdiness of even the smallest components such as the shifter. The experience really sets in when the engine roars and you experience the responsiveness on take-off and smooth humming on the highway.
Then you jump into an old Mercury Cougar and it’s like being awakened from a deep slumber with a bucket of ice. From the appearance to the driving performance, it becomes readily apparent why Ford discontinued this brand.
Is it safe to say that your definition of value and price tolerance would be drastically different after experiencing these two brands? Of course it is.
Building a Brand
Understand that you can only directly build a portion of your brand. The remainder will be built indirectly. Let me explain.
You can design a logo, choose colors, and communicate your value proposition to the market through such vehicles as public relations, advertising, website copy, mass e-mail campaigns, and social media. But you can’t directly control your reputation and how your firm is perceived. The market will do that for you.
This area of indirect branding is a scary place because you lack direct control. It’s based on your performance before, during, and after projects, customer satisfaction, and what your clients and competitors say about you behind closed doors. In other words, it’s about how the outside world experiences your brand.
Do you want to win more? Do you want to increase profitability? Do you want to sack the competition? Invest in building a strong brand today and you’ll be well on your way to higher revenue and profitability.
(Adapted from an article originally published in Construction Executive’s Managing Your Business eNewsletter)