When we think about motorcycles, Harley-Davidson usually comes first to mind. The company has one of the greatest brand-marketing schemes ever to hit planet Earth. It’s one of the few brands men and women are actually willing to tattoo on their bodies. Extreme, isn’t it? Maybe, but it’s a great example of incredible branding!
When you hear someone mention “The Blue Oval” or “The Bow Tie,” do you think Ford and Chevrolet? When you hear the letters “HP,” do you think Hewlett-Packard? These corporations spend millions of dollars on their brands every year just so you don’t forget who they are. As a storage operator, you don’t need to create a brand with equal impact to these companies; but be aware that your brand is as important to your business as your commitment to customer service.
Creating a Brand
Your brand may be the full name of your business or a shorter version, nickname or acronym. Two examples: International Business Machines is better known by the acronym IBM, and Coca-Cola is known best as Coke.
When you create your logo, stick with a simple one- or two-color design. You’ll realize the importance of simplicity when you have promotional items printed and learn every color is an additional charge. Try to avoid complex colors with gradient shading because they’re difficult to print inexpensively.
Your logo should be a specific font style, size and color. It should be created in a software program that does layered or vectored art work (most printers prefer vectored). There are many companies online that will create your brand or logo for you. In addition to vectored artwork, you may want to ask for bitmap (.bmp) and jpeg (.jpg) file types so you can manipulate the artwork in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Publisher. If you want to print hats or shirts, embroidering shops can use bitmap artwork.
Businesses that show the federal trademark or registration symbol for their name, logo or slogan are widely considered to be more credible, established and professional. These symbols attract more sales. In addition, having a trademark will garner added protection against other companies picking future names similar in sound, appearance or meaning, as well as ownership rights as protected by your state or the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Taglines, Slogans and Promises
Maybe these sound familiar:
You can incorporate a slogan, tagline or promise in your brand, but it has to be believable. My facility uses “Your Total Storage Solution” because it’s the only facility in our area to offer RV storage, boat storage, self-storage and climate-controlled storage on one property. We believe we have it all, and it shows.
When to Use Your Brand
Strive for consistency whenever you use your brand. It should be incorporated in your business cards, line cards, stationery, leases and all marketing. Coffee mugs, pens, key fobs, baseball hats and logo clothing are examples of promotional items that can be used to generate revenue.
In our office, we wear our logo shirts because we feel it gives a professional look to our business. We give out our business cards with pride. Our lease and promotional items are presented to customers in a folder with our brand and tagline. We give away key fobs with LED lights on them. They are printed with our brand and phone number to remind customers how to reach us.
If you’re not sure how much pride a brand generates, visit a motorcycle rally. Approximately 500,000 bikers attended the Sturgis, S.D., rally this summer. At last count, there were more than a million Harley Owners Group members. Taxable sales are estimated to exceed $12 million in just over a week.
With a little hard work and creativity, you too can create excitement and generate revenue with your brand. So enjoy building your brand and marketing it to your soon-to-be storage tenants!
Ed Heil is the manager of operations and security at Lake Havasu RV & Boat Storage of Lake Havasu City, Ariz. For more information, call 877.764.1961; visit www.lakehavasustorage.com.