It pays to dedicate time and effort to the little details that impress customers
Every company needs something that makes it stand out from the competition. In a sea of standard units, it takes some effort to be distinctive.
Creating a professional image that conveys the value of your services doesn’t have to be daunting. Everyone offers restrooms; let potential customers know you offer more.
Nita Bailey went all-out when she began branding her company RS Waste Services back in 1999. She developed a fully integrated branding strategy that visually unifies everything from the company website to restroom decals to email signatures for company employees. She also saw opportunity to create a niche in the special-events market and began providing more unique units, like vinyl-wrapped bride and groom restrooms for weddings and restrooms that resemble British phone booths.
“Everyone jumped on the luxury restroom trailer trend, but that’s really high-end,” she says. “But there’s a market segment ignored between high-end luxury trailers and construction units.’’ That’s why she ordered the flushing Picadilly Concepts units, which she considers a step up from standard restrooms. She also prefers a smaller, more discreet and attractive decal placed on the interior of a restroom.
To Bailey, effective branding means sweating the details. For instance, when she or employees send out an email, the recipient will see a uniform signature graphic with a professional look. It shows job title, contact information and the company logos.
“It’s a very simple way to change and improve your image for a minimal cost,” she says. “These are all things that need to be addressed when you’re thinking about the image of your company.”
Another easy way to brand your business is to use a bold color scheme. Chris Martinez, owner of Shiny Boys, chose bright red for his restrooms. “We have red trailers, too, so everyone knows who we are. The name of our company is on every restroom and on the trailers, too, so it’s kind of a rolling marketing campaign.”
Martinez established Shiny Boys to mainly serve oilfield contractors. He knew he needed more than a take-notice color scheme to break into that competitive market. But inspiration struck when he realized the oilfield workers weren’t being offered any lighted restroom options, even though they were working late at night. Shiny Boys started providing restrooms with solar lights.
While providing restrooms and a hand-wash station for emergency crews after a train derailed, Shiny Boys received some well-deserved media exposure and things really took off. “After that, I’d be outside working and people would come up and ask me for business cards,” he says. “They’d say, ‘You’re the guys with lights in your restrooms.’ That (exposure) helped us get our first job in the oilfields and the lights caught on there, too. Little by little, customers came to know us as the guys with the lights in our restrooms — the Shiny Boys.”
When trying to come up with a brand strategy, sometimes it helps to consider the industry as a whole. Portable sanitation hasn’t always had the most positive image, but you can help change that.
“People think we’re a dirty industry, so we try to have fun with it, but still create a professional image,” says Scott Thone of Portable Sanitation Inc. (dba Arkansas Portable Toilets). Thone has all the company’s trucks decked out with new vinyl wraps featuring water graphics and rolls of toilet paper, along with the company’s playful slogan, “This is how we roll.”
The wraps are a tool that helps reinforce brand identity, he says. “At the end of the day, you can be the best at what you do. But if no one knows that, it doesn’t do you any good. And I’m not a big spend-money-everywhere-you-can-spend-it kind of guy; you have to monitor what you spend and see what gets best bang for your buck.
“If your business base relies mostly on homeowners or special-events planners, there’s no question you need to have a website and a social media presence. You can’t rely just on raising prices to make more money … it’s all about creating value and making it easier for customers to do business with you.”
What details do you think are most important when building a brand strategy? How do you stand out from the competition? Comment below.