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Is It Time to Rebrand Your Self-Storage Business? Lessons From All Storage

Rebranding a self-storage business can brings many benefits, helping an operator stand out in a busy market and bringing unity to a company. This case study of the All Storage rebrand illustrates these benefits and more.

October 4, 2015

7 Min Read
Is It Time to Rebrand Your Self-Storage Business? Lessons From All Storage

By Amy Daniels

“The dark ages of dingy, first-generation storage are over,” says Jay Schuminsky, CEO of All Storage, which operates 37 facilities in Oklahoma and Texas. In business for more than 20 years, the facilities have all the features customers have come to expect from storage: a variety of unit sizes, security cameras and wide driveways.

What does All Storage offer that’s unique? Schuminsky is proud of the company’s professional team, and he’s quick to share their community involvement. But one of its biggest advantages is what Schuminsky refers to as an “EZ drive-thru” building concept, which merges the benefits of temperature-controlled units with the convenience of drive-up access. This service also provides an extra impenetrable layer of security, taking the storage experience to a new level.

So, what happens when potential customers associate All Storage with the outdated properties with which it competes? The potential to lose market share, leaving Schuminsky with just one choice—a rebrand.

A rebrand has a number of benefits for a company. All Storage experienced this firsthand—and in a short amount of time. Schuminsky began seeing a number of possible outcomes shortly after he launched the initiative in January 2014. Here’s a look at how All Storage rebranded its facilities, how the rebrand affected tenants and how the business benefited.

A Premium Message

Here’s a follow-up to Schuminsky’s quote about “the dark ages” of storage being over: The best brands out there communicate convenience, organization, family, happiness and a number of institutional values. If you’ve ever rolled your eyes at the TV reality shows “Auction Hunters” or “Storage Wars,” knowing those shows paint only a half-truth about the self-storage industry, you know what I’m talking about.

Storage doesn’t have to be associated with hoarding, and auctions really don’t comprise a large portion of what you do as an operator. So when your facility offers features like climate control, drive-through access, onsite coffee and beverages, vehicle parking, package acceptance, and so much more, a rebrand is the perfect way for customers to tap into those deeper values you’re providing.

A Feeling of Unity

In Schuminsky’s case, unity was missing because All Storage operates more than 30 facilities in two different states. As with many businesses that rise to success and then have the capability to spread out because of it, a sense of harmony can be a difficult thing to accomplish. And while some companies strive to maintain unity through company events, conferences and parties, a rebrand can do the trick, too.

Schuminsky has already raved about the stronger sense of collaboration across the All Storage properties. From maintenance staff to site managers, employees understand with clarity the company’s values and the message it wants to send to leads. They’re able to communicate that more effectively to potential customers. To top it off, morale is higher and job applications are rolling in.

Higher Demand

When the premium message and the feeling of unity come together, there’s something appealing about your facility—to potential customers as well as employees. In general, your property becomes the place where people want to be. The perks? A higher quantity of leads, less recruiting effort when positions open up, and a stronger likelihood that your brand will be shared like wildfire.

“Our organization is stronger now because we have a unified message and a more cohesive image,” Schuminsky says.

It’s always nice to know about the benefits you’re likely to receive in exchange for your hard work. More than that, realizing what it is that you’re actually working toward helps you strengthen your vision and execute accordingly. Rebranding isn’t like most projects where you simply set a budget, choose your message and put material together. Instead, it’s a time to pause, reflect, evaluate and, most important, pin down exactly where you want your company to be and how to make it happen.

In the case of All Storage, the increased demand has allowed the company to build and expand a number of new facilities in 2015 alone, complete with the new messaging and cohesive image of the brand. The company is expanding in Texas to better accommodate the growing customer base. Schuminsky believes the rebrand has a lot to do with the company’s current success.

Growth of All Storage Brand in Texas***

Where and What to Rebrand

“Rebrand” can mean different things to different people. Sometimes it’s as simple as crafting a new tagline and plastering it on all marketing materials. A rebrand can be launched for a single underperforming facility or company-wide.

You may not be in a position where you need to overhaul every last element of your business. However, if you’re feeling unsure, tired of communication breakdowns, or if you have to rely on phone calls to explain why customers should rent with you, now can be the perfect time to aim for the absolute clarity your company is missing.

As with most elements of your marketing and advertising efforts, there’s work to be done online and offline. Part of why Schuminsky has been so successful with his rebrand is he adopted a well-rounded approach. Everything from brochures to social media accounts received the attention needed to deliver a single, unified image to the public.

“The rebrand transformed everything: Our physical structure, the company atmosphere, and all print and Web marketing,” says Sandra Blankenship, regional manager.

Offline Efforts

While many operators have shifted most of their efforts to the Internet, the in-person experience serves as an important foundation for a storage business. It can include the features offered at a facility and the level of customer service the staff provides. Here are a few pieces to consider for offline rebranding:

  • Constructing new facilities

  • Renovating existing properties

  • Incorporating new services

  • Redesigning your brand’s logo

  • Crafting a new tagline

A new logo and tagline might make their debut on physical marketing materials and even building signage, but they’ll also overlap with online efforts. It’s important to embrace overlap, though, as that’s an indication of an effective rebrand.

Online Focus

When you focus on unifying your offline and online rebranding efforts, what you’re really doing is providing a seamless experience for your leads. Whether they find one of your fliers on their college campus or Google sends them to your website, they’ll receive the same quality message every time. The main things to keep in mind for your online rebranding include:

  • Launching a new social media campaign

  • Unifying messaging across platforms (blog, social media, etc.)

  • Relaunching or redesigning your company website

Of these projects, a website redesign is the most time-consuming—and perhaps the most important. Schuminsky knew all of his offline rebranding efforts would be essentially worthless if his customers weren’t directed to a clean and fresh page online, so he had high ambition for his redesign. He wanted to update the branding (including logo and tagline), incorporate modern design trends, and implement mobile-friendly capabilities.

The last thing Schuminsky wanted was for a lead to develop an interest in his business only to come to the website and feel completely underwhelmed. His personal goal was to see the All Storage website on par with some of the newest and most professional websites online today, in the storage industry and elsewhere.

Develop an Image That’s as Good as Your Product

Ultimately, if you believe your product is superior to that of your competitors, the process of rebranding is a powerful way to send that message to leads and customers. No matter where your prospects hear about you, they can and should receive a modern, convenient and unified experience.

What it takes is to nail down your marketing. While marketing is a means for bringing in more business by spreading the news, it’s also about delivering a better message about your company to that potential business. What do you have to share with your customers, and how can you tell them about it through a rebrand?

Amy Daniels is the content manager at storEDGE, which offers a comprehensive suite of technology solutions designed specifically for the self-storage industry. She combines self-storage industry research, Web-marketing strategies and small-business experience to cultivate the growth of facilities nationwide. For more information, call 913.954.4110; visit www.storedge.com.

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