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Ep 23: Have You Built A Powerful Contracting Brand That Works For You? – Noel Fox

What separates a great brand from an average brand
The thing contractors often get wrong with their own brand.
How to leverage your brand for recruiting and hiring
How to evaluate your brand the way a world class branding agency would
The signs you’ll see when you have a brand that’s working for you
A step-by-step walkthrough on how to build a powerful brand on a budget

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Listen to Episode 23

Read a Summary of Episode 23

Branding is one of those things most construction companies put on the back burner. But in today’s world, can you really afford to do that?

With competition for eyeballs becoming increasingly more fierce, your brand has never mattered more than it does right now.

A great brand not only makes you recognizable, creates an emotional connection to your company and helps build trust, but also attracts high performers and, is essential when it comes to selling your company.

In this episode of Contractor Evolution, we catch up with Noel Fox, owner of FreeBird Agency. Noel has helped brand (and rebrand) many industry-leading companies including You Move Me, WOW 1 DAY PAINTING, 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, Lululemon and our very own Breakthrough Academy and Contractor Evolution.

He says that most contracting companies still fail to realize the value of brand, despite the fact that they themselves buy into brand.

Think about it: When you go and purchase a new tool, a new pair of work boots or even a coffee, I bet there’s a specific brand you buy into. Why? Because you trust it, you are loyal to it, and well, it speaks to you (you might even wear the ball cap, you’re that proud!).

The same goes for your company. Branding builds loyalty. More than 80% of consumers buy from brands they trust.

So when should you brand or rebrand? “I say, yesterday! If it’s not on mark, you’re missing out on business,” says Noel.

Benefits Of A Powerful Brand

You will:

    • Rise to the top (beating the competition)
    • Be more memorable
    • Become trustworthy
    • Attract YOUR ideal customer
    • Attract quality hires (they will feel pride working with your organization)
    • Attract high-level strategic partners
    • And when it comes to selling your company, it will increase the value of your brand

“You need to think of your brand as a person,” says Noel. “What's their personality, their tone of voice. If you were to meet them, what would the interaction be like? Funny/serious?”

What It Feels Like to Have True Brand Traction

When Noel started to rebrand Shack Shine, one of the top guys there told him, “We are a super cool brand, our team only wears black.” But Noel asked them to give him a shot. He designed a happier logo and changed the uniform to blue jackets and black pants. The goal? To make it more personable. The reaction from customers? It shifted 180 overnight . . .they suddenly got invited in for tea!

“When customers see your brand you want them to fall in love and trust immediately.”

So, how do YOU, a small business owner, build YOUR brand to stand out and get noticed?

Noel has a very robust process that you can follow:

Understand Your Brand Goals

To start, you need to understand where you want to be. This will help you build your brand roadmap. When Noel met Chip Wilson, billionaire founder of Lululemon, Chip hadn’t even launched his company yet. But Chip knew where he wanted to be. “On day one Chip told me he wanted to be as big as Nike. When we created the look and feel of all the marketing and print materials, we weren’t thinking about a yoga brand, we were thinking about a brand that would be as big as Nike.” The net worth of Lululemon today? $48.845 billion!

Brand Strategy Step 1: Your Brand Personality

“You need to think of your brand as a person,” says Noel. “What’s their personality, their tone of voice. If you were to meet them, what would the interaction be like? Funny/serious?”

This is all part of humanizing your brand. Your brand isn’t about you, the business owner. Don’t think about who you would like to go for beers with or what you’re passionate about, instead, put yourself in your customer’s head: who do they relate to? Would they feel comfortable inviting them in?

Brand Strategy Step 2: Your Ideal Customer Personality

Strong branding allows you to attract quality customers in the marketplace (and avoid the deadwood). To do this, you need to dive deep into your ideal target market: What are their values and beliefs? What other brands do they buy into? There’s no shame in gaining inspiration from successful brands you know they love and also speak your language. This will help you create a more targeted brand strategy.

(Check out the book Buyer’s Personas by Adele Revella!)

Now find the common ground between your brand personality and your ideal customer personality.

Your Logo Design/Redesign

Your logo is your recognizable mark. It will be on absolutely everything. “Do a bunch of research into other logos, not competitors in your market, but ones you and your target market love. Consider what icons/typography/colors you like. A logo needs to be clean and simple, with a lot of story behind it. It needs to sit happily on the page with the other logos you like,” says Noel.

Bring Your Brand To Life

This step is what Noel calls the “brand creation stage.” “You need to think about where your brand and logo will live,” says Noel. Contracting is complex, it lives everywhere: mugs, trucks, a website.” A logo may look great on a business card, but how will it look on a baseball cap? “Consider how it will look across all these mediums.” A great example is Wow 1 Day Painting; their logo works on everything. Check them out!

Can You Build a Brand On A Budget?

If you don’t have the budget for mass branding, that’s OK! Just keep things really clean and simple. When you drive by, you want people to know who you are, and what you do. Do your research. Find websites/logos you like the look of (and not in contracting, because not many folks are doing a good job in our industry yet). Find 10 amazing logos, and ask yourself: “Will my target market and employees love it?” Then give those ideas to a junior designer and tell them you want your logo to live in this world. “You don’t want your brand to look like anyone else’s, but there’s no shame in gaining inspiration from successful brands,” says Noel.

And finally, 2 Brand Principles To Stick To (and 2 Things To Avoid)

Keep It Simple: Communicate what you do, clearly. Let people easily see the name of the company and know what you do.

Stand Apart: Don’t look to competitors for inspiration to build a brand. Look to yours and your customers’ inspirations. You be you!

X It’s Not About You: Contractors will often choose a brand and logo that they love. But just because you love hunting, doesn’t mean your customer will appreciate you rocking up at their home with a gun logo on your truck. Think about what would appeal to them, yet still speaks to your company.

X Too many words: “Contractors will sometimes have 10-15 different areas of speciality, and then they put it all on the side of their truck.” No-one can read all that! “Make it simple enough so people understand what you do. Pick one thing.”


Ultimately, if you’re one guy with a really small team and super personable and all your work is through referrals, then maybe a powerful brand isn’t for you. But if your goal is to grow your company, that’s where it starts to become really important,” says Noel. It may be an expensive process upfront, but trust us, it’s worth it. It will come back in dividends long term.

Noel has so many great tips to share on this episode of Contractor Evolution. We can’t wait to see your brand out there!

Igor Trninic

Igor Trninic

Igor moved to Canada at a young age, where he learned the value of hard work as he watched his family rebuild a thriving life in a new world with extreme change. Most of Igor’s early learning came from competitive sports, where he learned how to hustle and lead. This learning transferred well to business, when he started running a College Pro Painters franchise at 18 and quickly grew it to one of the top franchises in Canada. After finishing an honours degree in Accounting and HR at the SFU Beedie School of Business, he decided to leave the dull world of numbers and followed his passion of developing people and businesses. He fell in love with leading great people and growing companies to their potential.

Working at College Pro as a General Manager for the franchisor, he tripled the revenue of his division in three years by hiring and leading great managers. Here, Igor saw the power of combining amazing people with strong systems to drive scalability. After College Pro, he chose to test these principles on a new venture with the launch of Shack Shine, and together with the guidance of a highly experienced trades entrepreneur, they grew the company to a full scale franchisor within a year and a half. Shack Shine was eventually acquired by 1-800-GOT-JUNK to be scaled across North America and Igor launched the Breakthrough Academy to guide trades and home service entrepreneurs grow their businesses through proven principles. Igor has a passion and true care for developing people and their businesses, which has formed the foundation of Breakthrough Academy. His work in developing BTA has recently been highlighted in Igor’s Top 30 Under 30 selection by BC Business Magazine.

Igor resides in Vancouver, British Columbia and loves to take on all the adventure that BC can offer. From hunting to skiing to downhill mountain biking, any outdoor adventure is up his alley.

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