It’s so tempting to get on the bandwagon and start ordering stickers, signage, and branded t-shirts to promote your business. Today on the show, Tim Roman from Imperial Builders talks to us about the right way to build a Luxury Brand even if you don’t have a large budget.
Although this question was sent in to us to Ask a Protractor, we’ve decided to make this a special show on the Marketing Minute. This is a show you will want to bookmark and listen to over and over again. There are a lot of key elements inside that will help you build a luxury brand and attract high end clients.
Inside you’ll discover:
▪ Why branding is JUST as IMPORTANT as building the business itself.
▪ The only 2 things needed to SEPARATE yourself FROM the competition.
▪ The importance of WOWING your clients INSTEAD of spending money on stickers, signs, and branded t-shirts.
▪ Why you should be OVER-COMMUNICATING Everything Everyday!
▪ How “traditional” branding strategies are NOT bringing the same ROI as new technology rolls out, and WHAT you can do about it.
▪ …and much more.
If you have a question you would like to send us for the show, please send them to [email protected]
Thank you so much for your support, and for sharing this show with your followers. We greatly appreciate it!
—–And now… here’s the entire blog post from today’s exclusive interview with Tim from Imperial Builders —–
Martin: Hey, everyone. Welcome back to The Marketing Minute. Today, I have a special guest for The Marketing Minute, instead of me doing a solo episode today, I have invited Tim Roman back on the show. If you don’t know who Tim Roman is, from Imperial Builder, then go check out episode four on the Protractor Podcast, because I had him on as a featured guest, and his show was absolutely awesome, and he talked a lot about websites, and SEO, and how they built their business to over a million dollars very shortly, using websites and SEO. So, I highly recommend you listen to that episode if you haven’t already. Maybe go back and listen to it again. But, today I have Tim back on the show. We’re gonna talk about branding. Tim, welcome back.
Tim: Thank you so much, Martin. Thank you so much for having me. Love it. Love the show, and I’m glad to be back here again.
Martin: Tim, we have a question that was sent in, and it says, how important is brand building for high end business? I want to focus in on branding and specifically luxury branding. Branding in such a way that you’re attracting high end business. So, just right out of the gate, what’s your first response to that question? How important is brand building for a high end business?
Tim: I think it’s just as important as building the business itself. It’s binary. It really goes alongside everything that you do every day, that should be your ethos, that should be your purpose, your mission statement, and that is, in my opinion, the ultimate goal. In my opinion, also, when you can say you have established yourself as a brand, in a luxury segment market, that’s when you have really accomplished a lot of things. The steps you take to get there are extremely important on a micro and a macro level, absolutely.
Martin: Well, let’s dig into that.
What’s step one?
Step #1 – Determine The ONE Thing Giving You Your BEST ROI
Tim: Step one is really, I think, in my opinion, is you have to figure out what is the one thing in your business … you have to break down your business into little segments or divisions or whatever is easier for you. If you’re a general contractor, you can look at things that you sometimes do a lot of, and break those out, and then go deeper. Or if you’re just a painter, maybe you could break it down in residential and commercial, and then go as deep as you possibly can to really uncover those fruits, and to really find out where are you getting the best ROI? And that is probably going to be an area where you’re really comfortable, and where you’re really knowledgeable in, and you’re really efficient in. And that is going to be your niche. You can then take that niche and then start developing that as the brand. That would be step one, I think.
Martin: Okay. What would be next, then?
Step #2 – Reverse Engineer What Your Main Competitor is Doing
Tim: Next, if you have something figured out, you would then really want to find out who is your main competition in the space at the very top? Who is doing it absolutely best? Who is absolutely crushing it? If I was starting a tech business tomorrow, I would probably use Apple as an example, and I would really try to reverse engineer everything that they do because they do it so well.
Apple doesn’t trick you, or convert you into buying their products. There’s no salesmen at the malls with stands promoting their products. You buys it unconsciously, because it’s a product that you believe in, that you can see just past the actual technology that you’re holding in your hands, and that is brand. Yeah, I mean, that’s step two for sure.
Martin: And you know, like with, say Apple, I don’t buy them because they’re the cheapest product. They aren’t. I buy them because I have identified myself as an Apple user, I have to use Apple. You know what I’m saying? It’s–
So, how do you get to that point then? Where people want to buy your brand? We can go back and keep following through on these steps, I definitely want to go one, two, three, four, five. But I’m also very intrigued by the concept of somebody saying, I just want that brand. I don’t care how much it costs.
Tim: Absolutely. In our industry, I mean, this is what this podcast is mainly concentrated on, is around the construction industry and the building industry. I think it’s service and experience.
Those are the only two things that can possibly separate you and elevate you from your competition. You can do that very, very quickly. That’s the only positive thing about the service industry versus a tech industry, or some other industries, where it’s quantified, or it’s based on different factors. In our industry, you can come out of the gate and provide extremely good service, and grow really fast, and scale really quickly just based off of that. That’s the one positive of being in the service industry. Service-based industry, rather.
But, I mean, we all obviously are hoping to get to a level like Apple’s and have that kind of brand awareness and recognition across the world, but you really, it’s micro and macro. And micro is the everyday things, it’s the little things, it’s the thanking your existing clients for being there, and following up with them, and then really spending just as much attention on your present clients, and then thanking people that are to be your potential clients, that is creating a system within the company that is aligned with your vision, which is extremely important.
So, every tentacle, every limb, of your company is going to communicate the same vision that you have. So, if it’s an accounting person, that person is doing it at its best and everything is communicated and thorough. If it’s a project manager, the project manager is doing everything above and beyond. And it’s those little things on a micro level.
Martin: Yeah. I see that happening while you’re working, and communicating with your existing customers, and actually doing the job, but from a branding perspective, how do you communicate that that’s who you are, and that is what your brand is?
Tim: You have to wow your clients. It’s really the only way. I mean, branding is kind of like a wow factor.
And again, sometimes those little things are the wow factor in the service industry. A customer getting a phone call three months later after the project was done and money has been collected and all inspections has been passed and pictures have been taken, and you already are not even thinking about that project anymore, how about a basket of, you know, an edible arrangement just randomly saying thank you again, just wanted to … really appreciated your business, not even asking for a referral. Just thanking them.
Those things like that. It’s not saying hey, here’s a card, could you please pass it on to your neighbor. None of that.
Just sending them an edible arrangement with a thank you card. They’re obviously going to understand the underlying intent of some marketing sales way, of course. But it doesn’t need to be said today.
A true brand doesn’t have to say that. It’s an elegant way of doing things, and it really speaks to the client that wow, they really care. They didn’t just forget about me after they collected my money. And that’s gonna want to make them share that experience. And again, back to service and experience.
Martin: Step one. Define the one thing giving you your best ROI. Step two, who is your main competition in the space, and reverse engineer what they’re doing.
What is step three?
Step #3 – Execute Your Plan Day In And Day Out
Tim: Step three is day in and day out execution against that reverse engineer plan that you have put in front of you. A lot of people have a lot of great ideas, and a lot of people would really like to get to some point, but the execution is what sets everything apart.
Everyone has a great idea. I’ve had many of them, but I don’t even speak on them because I know that I can’t follow through on many of them. So, some of them just die. But it’s the execution, in my opinion, that really can separate one company versus another, and get them closer to that brand awareness status. That’s really just grind, for your entire company. Everyone has to be on their best game, whether that’s dress code, punctuality, the language that is used on job sites or communicating to clients. Again, those little thank yous, and just over communicating things to a client. That’s one of the biggest downfalls of our business, one of the biggest complaints, that clients are left in the dark. Companies that over communicate things tend to have less ratio for problems and call backs and punch lists, because everything gets taken care of immediately. Service industry companies, service based companies, rather, are very hard to scale. Because you have to pay attention personally to a lot of things, and you can’t multiply yourself.
So, the only way, in my opinion, to scale, is to really just over communicate everything, every day, where everyone’s on the same page. The clients are. There are no surprises, therefore there cannot be any delays. That’s, again, it’s those things on just a very small scale, that sometimes people don’t think are important, or can easily be overlooked, like showing up on time. And again, communicating properly and efficiently, and being punctual with your paperwork, letting the client know that you’re a solid business that means business, that follows through, keeps all their documents in order, keeps their employees in order, is aware of everything that’s going on at every single time. That slowly will translate into an image, which is just a place that people are going to trust and want to do business with.
And sometimes people prefer, like you said, pay a premium for it. Like an Apple product.
Martin: So, what do you think about shirts, stickers, banners on your vehicles, all that typical branding stuff. How does it tie into this message that you’re communicating today?
Tim: It really depends on the size of the company and what you’re doing. Not all marketing tactics, it’s not a one fit all. They don’t all apply to every company, but the basis, the thesis is the same. I think that traditional advertising and marketing means are kind of, not to say they’re dying, but they’re very overpriced and they are not bringing the same ROI as the new technology is, and for a brand, today, you have to be 1000% tech forward.
Because on a luxury, considering we’re talking about the luxury market, your clients are very educated. They are worldly, they are all over social media. They are very connected with tech. They are looking for tech friendly products. So, you have to communicate that image, and not only because you’re a company that can install tech forward products, but you have to be a company that acts like that. Again, make every transaction as seamless as possible for your client, and create that worry free, stress free experience.
I mean, the construction process is exhausting as is, take out … not, say, in a perfect world, it’s just exhausting. And now adding all the problems and delays and paperwork’s getting lost, and punch list has not been communicated to a project manager, and a day or two are lost, or … you know, that all could be handled by technology today. And a company, a modern, high end company today, really needs to adapt that at the highest levels.
Martin: So, Tim, if you could choose between, like if your budget only allowed, say, this choice. Shirts, or … maybe not shirts. But, stickers and graphics, you know, paper, brochures, that kind of thing. Or yard signs, versus an edible fruit basket that you send three months later. Which would you choose, between the two, if you had a limited budget?
Tim: The second one. The edible arrangements, the random thank yous, maybe a complete detail, not just a cleaning, but a complete detail of a client’s home that was just unexpected at the end of a project, you know–
Martin: So, I don’t want to run this into the ground, the point number two, who is your main competition, what are they doing and reverse engineer that. But typically, we think of branding as the first thing I suggested. The stickers, and the graphics, and the fun little things like that that go in the trash can. But you’re suggesting something a little bit out of the box here, and that is wowing your customer with no strings attached, that just causes them to want to refer you.
Tim: Yes. That is, I mean, because the traditional means, the ones you’re referring to, are what we call today, I guess in a digital world, in a marketing world, are just impressions. If you have an Instagram business account, and you post a picture, you’ll see that the highest number is always going to be impressions. Those are just eyes that are passing through, or seeing it somewhere, but have taken no action.
And they could be in the thousands. That’s great. Again, you took the effort to design a poster. You’ve put it up on some corner, and a million cars drove by, and someone reported you and sent you an e-mail at the end of the month and said hey, look, we can prove that a million cars drove by, but your phone didn’t ring, and you don’t have any meaningful leads from that.
Maybe one or two. But having a thank you gift of that sort to a client that you just had a successful renovation with, who is already your client, already pretty much is an advocate for you–
Is now going to be a mini salesperson for you, because she is going to, or he is going to rave about that mini customer service experience that they’ve just had. They’re gonna show up at work and say, you won’t believe what my contractor did. By the way, if you need someone, I’m telling you, no matter the budget, you gotta check this guy out. Check out his work on Instagram, they’re active there. They always got cool stuff, they’re posting, and on and on and on it goes. It is the modern day of word of mouth, through good customer service.
Martin: Mm-hmm (affirmative)- wow. All right, so step one. What’s the one thing giving you most ROI? Step two, who is your main competition, reverse engineer what they’re doing, and step three, execute day in and day out.
What’s step four?
Step #4 – Over Deliver For Your Customers EVERY Single Time!
Tim: Step four is to never forget who got you there in the first place, which is where we concentrate a lot on, and that is our existing, current, and potential clients. You can never, never, never take the eye off the ball. And that is your client. In the service industry, which is not transactional, we don’t have the luxury of selling a product and leaving a 10%, let’s say return rate, or RGA rate, or claim rate. Say it’s headphones, and 5% of them are bound to fail or be returned, damaged in shipping. We don’t go by those kinds of metrics and measures in the service industry. We shoot once, and we shoot for a bullseye.
We want to make that project perfect, first time, first deal, precise. So, that’s what it comes down to, I think.
Martin: All right.
What’s step five?
Step #5 – Develop Your Digital Presence
Tim: Five is, I think, is your digital presence. I mean, we can’t really forget about that.
It is your digital footprint, because if you work that hard to create all these meaningful connections and this great customer service experience that people are raving about, you still need a home base for all those things to come back to, which is going to be your website.
Which then, they can go to Facebook and Instagram and check out the little other branches that you might have, whichever that person might feel comfortable with. But everyone likes a well organized, well presented, well laid out website, that they can learn a lot of information within few minutes, if you did your job in the marketing department, and you laid out the website properly and you provided all the information that your client, not just any client, but your specific client, is looking for.
Then they are going to, it’s gonna be an instant connection. And that’s something that we get all the time.
A lot of times, clients come to our website, and they’re a little confused. They’re like, well we don’t really understand what you’re doing. And inside, I’m thinking, that’s because you aren’t really our client. But in reality, that’s what it really comes down to. You need to only communicate to your client. You shouldn’t be communicating to everyone, because not everyone is your client.
Martin: See, and that comes back to point number one, what’s the one thing giving you your most ROI, or you could say who is that perfect ideal customer, and everything is directed towards that person.
Well, so far we haven’t talked about stuff that really costs that much. I mean, the last one, your digital presence, will take some investment. But, this is stuff that any contractor who changes their mindset and decides, I am going to be a luxury brand, can do, right?
Tim: Absolutely, absolutely. And the one thing not to forget is, when you’re a luxury contractor, I mean, the detail is what to speak about, but it goes without saying that you are, you need to be a full service company in whatever segment that you decide to be in. And a high end client is going to rely on you, they’re not gonna want to go to two to three different contacts to get a certain project done. So, you need to learn how to be a liaison, almost, for that client. For your client. And that is just to think full service, all day, every day. Pretend you are a seven star luxury hotel, and use that as your goal for customer service.
Martin: Wow. Well, Tim, we’re gonna wrap it up right there. Thank you so much for coming on. For all you Protractors, we’re gonna have a full blog post written up, transcription from this. You can go through each of these five steps, and implement them in your own business if this fits you and what your brand is trying to accomplish. If you need help with your web presence, reach out to me. That’s something we specialize in, I’d be glad to have a chat with you. Other than that, Tim, anything else you want to add before we say goodbye?
Tim: No, just thank you so much for having me once again. I can’t wait to see what other questions people are going to be answering. I’ve been paying attention very closely.
Martin: Hmm. Thank you so much, have a good day.
Tim: You too.