By Heather Ripley
Most humans are resistant to change. But in order to keep up with the times, change is nearly always necessary. That goes for your home service business’s appearance and messaging.
If you’ve been in business for a decade or more, your logo and website may look dated. Or maybe you’ve become more specialized in your services and want to convey this message to new customers.
Either way, it could be time to consider a rebrand.
But don’t make this decision lightly. A rebranding is more than just a change in your logos, the colors you use, your truck wraps and your website.
Rebranding should be about overhauling your business’s look, its attitude and the way it communicates its new vision to current customers and the new customers you want to attract.
One of the best ways to successfully rebrand is to tap a public relations team to help you with your market research and strategy, and to assist in developing the right message that encompasses your new look, attitude and vision.
The Reasons for Rebranding
Rebranding isn’t a task to take lightly. While it may be prudent to upgrade your logo to incorporate more modern icons and pull your website out of its 2000s doldrums, cosmetic changes won’t solve the problems you may be having attracting your target customers.
In order to make your rebranding a success, you need to take an impartial look at your current mission and value statements and see if they align with who you are as a company now. Your mission statement may be outdated or simply not reflect what your business has evolved into.
If you started as a plumbing company but now offer HVAC and electrical services, for example, your message needs to be more inclusive of your updated service offerings. Or maybe your company started more than 50 years ago and is now run by the grandchildren of the founder. Not only has the ownership changed in that time, but the vision has, as well.
But whatever the reason, you need to strategize with experts on how to successfully update your brand. A PR team that knows the home service industry will understand your issues and have experience in helping other companies with their rebranding efforts. If you already have a PR team, don’t forget to include them in your strategy sessions. Their knowledge of your company, the industry, and even your customers, is invaluable.
The Right Audience
For many plumbing and HVAC contractors, one of the best ways to scale their business growth is to attract customers who have never used their services before.
To bring in those new customers, you have to get your message out to where they live. While truck wraps and websites are still relevant, they are passive ways to reach customers. In today’s world, you need to be active on social media and you need to be putting your expertise on display.
If the weather is turning cold, writing a press release about how to protect your pipes is one way to reach out, but a PR team can carry that further. Not only do most of their content experts know how to write a release in Associated Press style, they also have media relations people who will pitch your press release to local and trade media journalists.
If you’ve ever turned on the news only to see your biggest competitor interviewed about weather-related problems in the home, chances are they weren’t just lucky – they probably had a PR team pitching their experts.
PR teams also know when the audience you want to reach is online and where they are spending their time.
As an owner, you should be writing your business plan and holding training sessions instead of spending your time pitching your expertise to journalists or engaging with customers online. Hire a PR team to do that for you. Especially one that knows your industry.
The Right Message
If your current brand no longer tells your story or doesn’t tell customers why you’re different, it’s time to rebrand.
But if you don’t have a handle on how best to tell your story or explain why customers should hire your crew, it’s time to call in the experts.
PR agencies hire content writers for a reason. These professionals know what resonates with audiences and can wordsmith your message so that it stands out from your competition. Just as you know the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of the latest refrigerant, a PR writer knows what words work with a particular audience.
Bringing in a public relations agency to help you nail the message is just good business, according to companies like Peterman Brothers, which rebranded from Peterman Heating, Cooling & Plumbing in the spring of 2021.
The company had been known as Peterman Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, but once brother owners Chad and Tyler Peterman began leading the company, they wanted a new name, look and vision to celebrate their family history and honor their father’s mission.
“Ripley was critical in our rebranding efforts made back in 2021,” said Peterman Brothers President Chad Peterman. “While our new brand had a similar feel to our old one, the main difference was in the story behind the brand. Ripley helped promote the new brand in the communities we serve, and that allowed people to make a connection. Building a brand story is critical to any business. Ripley helped us tell our unique story.”
Protecting Your Message
Once you’ve researched your avatar customer, updated your marketing assets and crafted the right message for the right audience, the rebrand isn’t done.
Now is the time you need to create a strategy to protect the rebrand.
If you’re like most home service business owners, you know that a crisis isn’t just possible, it’s most likely inevitable. You have team members that physically go inside customer homes and work on equipment that is essential to their daily lives. This could create many problems.
Let’s say you may have made a poor judgment call and hired a rude service technician or installed a system that broke down within a few days of service. No matter what the issue is, you shouldn’t be caught flatfooted.
That’s why it’s essential to have a crisis communications plan in place for when these events occur. You’ve spent a great deal of time and money updating your assets and developing a new message that better reflects your company’s new vision. You don’t want that ruined because of a human mistake.
A PR team can help you craft a crisis communications strategy to protect your new brand. This will include detailed steps about who can represent the company and speak about the issue, what message you need to convey and a protocol for keeping the right people in the know.
An experienced PR agency unlocks the doors you need to reach more people, improve your credibility, give you an edge over your competitors, and protect your company’s reputation during and after a rebranding effort.
So, if you’re thinking about rebranding, don’t forget to include the very experts who can help your rebranding stick the landing. PR helps you flesh out the values and legacy your organization needs to scale the growth a rebranding should provide.
Heather Ripley is founder and CEO of Ripley PR, an elite, global public relations agency specializing in the skilled trades, franchising and B2B tech industries. Ripley PR is recognized as the top PR agency for the home service industry, and it has also been listed by Entrepreneur Magazine as a Top Franchise PR Agency for six consecutive years. Heather Ripley is the author of “NEXT LEVEL NOW: PR Secrets to Drive Explosive Growth for your Home Service Business,” which is now available on all audiobook platforms. For additional information, visit www.ripleypr.com.