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A branding story

I was washing my car recently when a truck pulled up in the street and a man came up to me with an offer.  “Can I give you a quote to sealcoat your driveway?” he asked.

I looked down at the wet pavement.  It had been a few years since it was done and it was beginning to show.  The black asphalt had turned to gray.  Cracks were starting to appear.  Something really needed to be done before winter and the cold weather and ice and snow would make things worse.

So I said “sure.”  The man looked around and after about 5 minutes told me he would do it for $200.  I said thanks and I would think about it.  The guy immediately went into a sales pitch about how he was local, and how he bought his chemicals at the same places that everyone else did.  I said thank you but I was not going to make a decision immediately.  He then said he would do the job for $150 if he could do it today.

I looked over at the truck.  It was full of chemical and there were two other guys waiting for my decision.  My driveway covered with wet leaves.  It was not a good time to pour an oil mixture on it.  I never heard of this guy before.  I politely asked him to leave a written estimate and told him I would give him a call if I was interested.

The guy had got me thinking that I needed to sealcoat the driveway.

A few days later I called another company (lets call them ABC Inc.).   ABC had recently done a couple of other driveways on the block that looked good and I pulled their phone number off their lawn sign.  The owner came over, dropped an estimate off at the house along with a brochure explaining the process.  He left his cell number.

I called him back, asked a couple of questions, found out the procedure was a bit more complicated than I expected.  It would take a couple of days, the first one to clean and fill cracks, the second one to sealcoat the driveway. He told me I could not drive on the driveway for 48-72 hours.   He told me he would start the next day and send me a bill when the work was done.

I said go ahead and work was competed as promised.

Well my driveway looks great.  I ended up paying more than $200 but I feel good about the work.  If anyone would ask I would recommend ABC.

So why did I pick ABC over the first company (lets call them XYZ)?

What is the brand promise of ABC?

First off it has very little to do with the ABC logo, their brochures, their website or the advertising they employ. 

ABC’s business is based on relationships.  People trust them.  Their ownership is approachable.  They set an expectation and they deliver on it.  They are professional.  They do good work.  They are not the lowest price in town or do they want to be the lowest price in town.  They deliver on their promise and for this reason their customers recommend them to others.

On the other hand XYZ had no track record, were pushy, wanted to perform a job in less than ideal conditions and competed on price when price was not my primary concern.  They were first to the table but they did not get the business.

So when someone talks about you and/or your business what do you want them to say?  What images come to mind?  What will they tell their friends?  Is it positive or negative?  This is your brand promise.  This is your brand.  It is an asset that can be grown with effort over time and can be destroyed much more quickly by taking short cuts.

If you live in Indianapolis and your driveway needs sealcoating ask me for a recommendation.  I will be happy to tell you about ABC.

Until next time – all the best!


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