How to Brand Your Plumbing Company
You can run a plumbing company without developing a strong brand presence for it, but you can be much more successful if you have an identity. That’s what a brand is–something customers recognize, understand and can connect with. Strong branding makes your company more alive for customers, and when done right, it also makes them more likely to choose you, grow attached to you, and recommend you. So, choosing how to brand your otherwise bland plumbing company is important. Here’s how you can do it.
Find Good Inspiration
You might think that the first step is to look at other plumbing companies and their branding, but think again.
Many plumbing companies share the same small set of branding elements, like navy blues, brick reds, blocky fonts, and other design elements you’ve seen a million times. Many plumbing companies also have on-the-nose names, like “Smith and Sons” or “60 Minute Rooter” or “Discount Plumbing.” These names work well for building very specific brands (what would you expect if you called “60 Minute Rooter”?) but they don’t leave a lot of room for growth.
In reality, a lot of plumbers (and a lot of people in general) think about branding in terms of design. They think your logo is your brand, but really, it’s just another way of communicating what your brand stands for.
A great way to get a better feel for this is to write down and take a look at some of the brands you personally love. Clothing companies, breweries, software companies, brands for your electronics, gyms, restaurants and the contractors that you choose for your own home are all good touchstones for plumbers.
Think about your absolute favorites and what draws you to those brands. What do their logos, colors, slogans, and other elements of branding say about those businesses? The trick is to look past the graphics and branding elements to figure out what the underlying brand is saying.
For example, Home Depot’s branding elements are their bright orange logo with a stencil-style font, stores designed around exposed metal and stained wood, and their slogan, “how doers get more done.” Put those elements together and the picture starts to become clear: their brand is to support DIYers and DIY culture. Their large inventory and other support features (like having lots of self-checkout lanes and financing options) give “doers” more options and more convenience for completing projects on their terms. So in the end, the business does a pretty good job of supporting the claim, making it a strong brand.
Red Bull’s brand might be a little harder to pin down, but we’re sure you’ve seen the branding elements. Their quirky, hand-drawn commercials, their iconic white and blue cans, their close association with extreme sports and their slogan, “Red Bull gives you wings,” together build a complicated message. While other energy drinks like Monster, Nos, Rockstar, Amp, Full Throttle, and Venom focus on an aggressive, masculine image, Red Bull uses a softer touch. By putting their brand front and center at concerts and sporting events that prioritize personal achievement over competition, Red Bull sends the message that they’re for anyone who needs a pick-me-up, whether you’re working, partying, or trying to set a new personal record. It might feel like a small distinction, but it’s given their brand a lot of staying power.
So take a look at the brands you love, and really think about what all their brand elements are trying to tell you. This little exercise can get your creative juices flowing and help you re-examine how you want people to see your company.
The Thing That Makes You Unique
Before you start thinking about your visual branding, you need to drill down on some elements of your business that can make you unique. This could be very straightforward, like being a woman-owned business, or it could be more abstract, like having a more efficient way to handle a high volume of service calls.
To find out what makes your business unique, start by looking at your reviews. Focus on which words get used over and over, and which aspects of your business customers are already resonating with. If they mention how friendly all of your team members are, or how you went the extra mile to clean up after a job, or how quickly you arrived, these are all brand perceptions that make a great jumping off point.
You can also try looking at the reviews of your competitors to see where they fall flat. If bad reviews mention how bad they are at responding to calls, or how much they overcharge, or how rude the service is, then you have a better idea of the aspects that local customers are looking for. And if you can provide a better service that fills those gaps, then that’s where your branding can make a real difference.
Pick Three Key Attributes
As you move forward with your brand design, you’ll be making a lot of decisions about color, font, materials, and many other aspects of your branding and the marketing assets that show it off. The best way to keep your design focused and purposeful is to have no more than three elements that you want the brand to communicate. If your brand is trying to say too much at once, then the message just turns into noise.
Here are a few options to get you started:
- Easy to work with
You can also focus on much more specific and tangible elements of your business, such as charities you support, spiritual beliefs, preferred services, and so on. The trick is to choose attributes that will never change for your company, that your company can actually live up to, and ones that resonate with clients. That’s called brand positioning.
Putting it All Together
Once you’ve decided what your brand wants to communicate, then it’s time to finally start putting the pieces together.
While many plumbers just stop at a color scheme, a slogan, a name, and a logo, there are actually a lot more branding elements you can play with.
Remember: branding should send a message and tell a story. “Looking good” is not the goal!
Choosing a Name for Your Plumbing Company
While your company name is central to your branding, it’s easy to get hung up on the name. The truth is that any one company name can lend itself to a lot of different brands.
For example, a name like “Smart Choice Plumbing” can mean “calling us is the smart choice,” or “our plumbers make smart choices.” It could also refer to smart technologies, such as “smart home” products. That makes the name pretty flexible, but also a little vague.
In reality, the company prides itself on 24-hour service, fast arrival times, and one-trip repairs. Those strengths aren’t really reflected in the name, but adding the slogan “smart solutions on short notice” helps tie it all together.
When searching for a great name for your plumbing company, make sure to also check out all of the practical concerns:
- What domain names are available? Ideally you want a website address that matches your business name exactly.
- Is the name already registered in your area?
- What local competitors are you up against? You don’t want customers to confuse you for another business.
- How memorable is it? And how easy is it to get your business name only slightly wrong?
- Is your name still going to fit your business 5, 10, or 20 years down the line?
- Will your business name comfortably fit on a business card, or is it a mouthful?
In the end, the best name for your plumbing business is the most appropriate name for your plumbing business. With the right mindset, it’s possible to turn even the silliest business names into powerful brands. Sure, “Giraffe Plumbing” looks funny on paper, but if you’re a rare breed of plumber who will always stick his neck out for customers…why not?
One Last Example
Let’s say you’re a family-owned, multi-generational business in a market dominated by plumbing franchises. While your competitors focus on high margins, fast turnarounds, and impersonal, professional service, you focus on more personal, reliable, and old-fashioned service. Here are a few ways you can communicate that.
- Plumbing Company Name – Focus on your local history with a name like “Kelley and Sons,” or a local name like “The Springfield Plumbing Co.” You can also pick a name with local significance.
- Plumbing Company Logo – Use classic design elements like mascots, or stencil-like elements that suggest an old-timey feel. You can also add a stamp like “est. 1980” to be more upfront about your roots.
- Colors – Use classic plumbing colors, or colors with a local significance.
- Uniforms – Classic plumbing uniforms that are visually distinct from what you’ll see at the plumbing franchises.
- Fonts – Stenciled fonts, handwritten fonts, and serif fonts are all fair game. You can also use big, blocky fonts, but they might not stand out as much depending on the local competition.
- Visual design elements – Incorporate bricks, textured metal, or subtle grunge effects into your visual design.
- About page – Make sure your website has a polished about page that talks about your local history and values.
- Trucks – Focus on simple, clear branding instead of trying to advertise every service you offer.
- Reviews – Capture video testimonials from locals to show your local presence and connection to your customers.
- Blog – Focus on locally-specific plumbing issues that franchises overlook, such as issues that stem from specific housing developments, hard water, or local restrictions.
- Partnerships – Make sure you join the local chamber, and are partnered with local organizations with deep roots.
- Sponsorships – Support causes and nonprofits with deep, local roots.
- Promotions – Offer giveaways that support other local businesses in the process, like giving away gift certificates to locally-owned restaurants. Post questions and quizzes about local knowledge to engage older customers.
- Policies – Offer referral fees or discounts that are hyper specific to your area’s needs.
- Social media – Post updates that include local landmarks and notables. Feature and thank specific customers too.
And that’s still just the tip of the iceberg.
Once you have a clear picture of what your brand stands for, and what you’re trying to communicate, we hope your realize that there are so many options for building a brand around it.