Creating a marketing brand for your image

June 1, 2018 By    

The image customers have of your propane company is directly linked to their experiences with you over time.

Those experiences, good or bad, end up being incorporated into your brand. A bad image is difficult to overcome, even with a fancy branding campaign. Customers might be saying these things about your business, but there are ways to combat the comments:

They let me run out of propane

  • Maybe it’s time to get serious about tank monitors and other propane technologies that help you provide seamless gas service with peak efficiency.

It’s not easy to do business with them

  • Is your website up to date and search engine optimized so people can find you? Do you have an active social media campaign with high follower engagement levels? A customer portal on your mobile-friendly website that allows customers to view their account, pay bills and order gas are expected conveniences in commerce today. Does a live person answer your phones as often as possible, or do you have a brief phone menu that is easy to navigate? How do you handle your after-hours calls?

Their trucks don’t seem well maintained

  • Dirty, rusty trucks with worn paint, scratches and dents tell customers how you might be taking care of the rest of the business. At $150,000 or more for a new bobtail, it is time to take better care of the trucks you have in service, no matter how old they are.

The delivery driver dresses sloppily

  • Review your dress policy and institute a uniform program if you haven’t already done so. There are safety advantages, along with image improvements, that come from providing uniforms designed to be worn while handling propane. If your drivers want to wear hats, tell them to use company-issued ones. Have you ever seen UPS drivers wearing anything but company brown? They protect their image, just like you should.

Their location is the junkiest business in town

  • There’s nothing like stacks of old rusty propane tanks in the yard to tell customers and prospects that you don’t care much about your company’s image. They envision those old rusty tanks sitting in their yards and they look elsewhere for their propane supply or turn to another form of energy. You have more cost-effective options than ever before to deal with those tanks and clean up your yard. Put a plan together and get it done. Also, pay attention to the appearance of your office building (inside and out), out buildings, bulk storage tanks, signage and other yard features. Your image depends a lot on the curb appeal of your business. Take a critical look at it and make improvements where necessary.

If you are comfortable with how customers feel, think and talk about your company, then you have a great opportunity to build your brand.

Branding campaigns are interesting and fun projects that end up with the new branding infiltrating every part of the business. It begins with a mission statement that gives the key qualities and benefits your brand offers and probably ends up including a new or revised logo and a tagline that says something special about your business.

You need to find your story and build your brand to tell that story. What makes your propane company different from those down the road? What is your secret sauce? If all propane companies were the same, a consumer could just toss a coin to choose a supplier.

If you are comfortable with your image, build your brand to match. Results can be measured in increased customer loyalty, more referrals and more sales. That makes work fun and profitable.

Tom Jaenicke is vice president of propane marketing services for Warm Thoughts Communications.

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