More Than Pretty Pictures
How do you market your shop’s vehicle-wrapping services? I’ll bet you post photos of each wrap you finish – the ones you’re proud of, anyway. Maybe you hold the photo shoot somewhere more inspiring than your shop parking lot. And if you’re really savvy, no doubt you also share videos on Instagram and YouTube. What if I told you someone has thought of a completely different angle? What if your marketing were not organized solely around pictures, videos and likes?
Dan Antonelli, president and chief creative officer of KickCharge Creative (Washington, NJ), has represented the leading edge of wrap design for businesses vehicles since the publication of his books on logo design and brand-building for small businesses two decades ago. Dan is scheduled to lead an educational seminar on the business of vehicle wrapping design at the 2020 ISA Expo, now rescheduled for August. At last year’s show, he shared, in part, “Six Simple Rules” for making your designs stand out. This year, Dan will focus again on rebranding – before and after wraps – but with a new twist: touting your customers’ sales increases after the rebrand.
REMAKING THE IMAGE
Dan has worked with hundreds of clients (maybe thousands by now) and has collected sales-increase data from many of them; he uses it to market his own firm’s services. For example, nine years after rebranding, one of KickCharge’s most successful clients ever, Timo’s Air Conditioning & Heating (Thousand Palms, CA), has enjoyed an increase in revenue of 1,114% – that’s like going from $1 million to $11.14 million in nine years!
Nearly a decade ago, when, according to Dan, mascot branding for service businesses was not nearly as prevalent as it is today, his company’s work on the web caught the eye of Joey Timo. At the time, Joey was a service technician for Timo’s; he’s now its president. “[Joey’s] dad was initially resistant to the idea [of a rebrand], since they had been relatively successful with their current logo,” Dan said. “But Joey was looking to take the company in a new direction and felt it was time to update their image.”
Timo’s original branding was derived from clip art: “Forgettable, and not really delivering anything unique in terms of a story, or feeling,” as Dan described it. The running man was amateurish and the simple, cut-lettering on white vans looked like everyone else. “We call that ‘blanding’ and it’s a pervasive disease afflicting the vast majority of small businesses.”
Soon after getting to know his client, Dan settled on themes of family and nostalgia to help create the type of mascot his company has become famous for – not to mention influential. At the time, Dan recalled, “super graphics” or large visuals on truck wraps, were not widely used, but he was confident this rebrand presented a great opportunity.
GATHERING THE DATA
“Timo’s [sales revenue] was around $750K/year at the time we rebranded,” Dan reported. “Since then, we’ve helped spearhead all their marketing efforts for almost 10 years – creating their collateral, ads, billboards, social media and websites,” elevating Timo’s to one of the largest HVAC contractors in Palm Springs. While it’s natural to expect a clearly successful company to be willing to share certain revenue information, Dan maintained there’s more to it than that. “I don’t view our clients as customers; we’re more partners in their marketing. Truthfully, most are just so genuinely grateful for our efforts, they are happy to try and help.”
When it comes to your shop collecting this information from your clients, Dan suggested that you explain how you want to use their revenue growth for your own marketing. “Some were more than happy to share revenue and dollar amounts, but others were more open to the idea of percentages,” he said. To keep KickCharge’s marketing of this data consistent, Dan uses percentages for everyone. And this type of marketing shares the focus of his firm’s design prowess with the revenue growth it delivers for his customers.
“A very common error with signshop marketing is making it all about yourself or your shop,” Dan said, since this doesn’t directly address the needs of a potential customer. “At the end of the day, we’ve won hundreds of awards, written books, published articles, etc. It’s all great. But the bigger question is, how does all that stuff help [the customer]? Make your marketing answer those questions, and it will connect.”
Timo’s previous branding.