11. Technical Expertise
You can distinguish your company by technical expertise. For example, you could become the specialist for manufacturing housing air conditioning. Or, you could become the mini-split specialist.
Like geographic specialization, a technical specialty will result in focused marketing and becoming the go-to company for the area of specialization. However, it will cost business outside of the area of specialization.
Jerry Kelly Air Conditioning, another Contracting Business Contractor of the Year, consistently won a local “best of” award. Steve Miles used this to set the company apart, promoting Jerry Kelly as the #1 contractor in his market.
It is important to enter contests and other competitions for your company (e.g., Contracting Business’ Quality Home Comfort Awards). Once you win an award, it sets you apart. Once you win, you will forever more be “an award winning company.”
Are you the largest company in your area? If so, this can set you apart and allow you to take advantage of the wisdom of crowds. If you’re the biggest, you’re also the safest, and probably the best.
Is your company the oldest contracting business in your area? If so, that is a point of distinction. It shows that you must be doing something right to last that long. Huntsville, Alabama’s H.C. Blake stands apart by stressing their founding in 1884, noting that they are “the trusted choice for plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical expertise in northern Alabama for over 125 years.”
Can you offer the consumer a unique experience that becomes associated with your brand and company? One of the best experiential marketers in the HVAC industry is John Price with Aloha Aire in Texarkana, Texas.
Returning from Hawaii, John and his wife, Marilyn wondered if it was possible to bring Hawaii back with them. This sparked the end of the Price Service Company and the start of Aloha Aire. The trucks are distinctively branded with a Hawaiian theme. Hawaiian music plays on hold. Technicians wear logoed Hawaiian shirts.
If a pleasant island theme is not your thing, you can try offering a different type of experience. Dick’s Last Resort is a café noted for rudeness. Visit Dick’s and the waiters are likely to insult you. Of course, what may be fun in a café is not fun from a service company, though many achieve it by accident.
Celebrity endorsements is another way to stand part. Few products are more of a commodity than bricks. Nevertheless, Acme Brick managed to distinguish itself from other brick manufacturers by gaining the endorsement of former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman.
The relationship between Acme and Aikman started simple enough. Acme donated the bricks to build Aikman’s home in return for a little promotional tie-in. Since then, the relationship has grown with Acme making charitable donations to the Troy Aikman Foundation.
Acme has expanded their celebrity work with Texas Ranger Juan Gonzalez, donating bricks for a Habitat for Humanity program sponsored by Gonzalez.
Can you donate your service to a celebrity and/or support a celebrity’s favored charity in return for a endorsement? If so, it gives you a chance to stand apart from the crowd.