At that point we had to go through the normal steps involved: logo design, trademark submission and rights to the name, a new signage campaign, etc. The final piece was delivering a simple Web domain, www.storcal.com.
Can you break down the steps to rebrand your stores and build a new website?
- We did name research through the U.S. Patent & Trademark website. Once the name search was complete, we agreed on StorCal Self-Storage.
- Working with our signage company, we identified the color scheme we wanted to use as well as the logo design.
- We then submitted the new company trademark name.
- The team developed a new signage layout and set a budget to maximize our spend.
- We hired a Web-development and branding firm to build the StorCal.com website.
- We spent countless hours of tweaking, refining and improving the final website design and layout.
- The company went live with StorCal.com as the new store signage was being installed.
- The StorCal signage and website were completed.
From start to finish, the entire rebranding process and website build-out took approximately nine months. Today, we still find ourselves constantly fine tuning our search engine optimization initiatives.
What would you do differently if you had to do it again?
We’d probably involve our operating-software company more during the website build-out and identify early on any possible functionality issues.
Since implementing the new branding, how has it impacted your business?
In the last two months of 2012 and now into 2013, we’ve seen massive growth in online reservation move-ins and boosts in occupancy levels. We feel this is due to the new StorCal.com reservation website and getting on board with some of the self-storage search aggregators in which we’re now aligned. Right now, our online website presence helps us average 30 move-ins per month over our portfolio, and it continues to gain momentum.
We’ve received great customer feedback about our new online-reservation process and the ease of use StorCal.com provides. We’ve also received great responses from existing customers who’ve created online accounts and can now make online monthly payments. We use our customer feedback to continuously improve our website platform and provide a simple, user-friendly reservation process.
Mark Beck is the owner of StorageAlly , which provides training and support to self-storage owners, managers and investors. He’s been a self-storage operator since 1995, is an ambassador for the California Self-Storage Association, and has supported more than 200 store teams in the United States and Europe. For more information, call 818.527.4977; visit www.storageally.com. Follow him on Twitter @markbeck .