What you can learn about branding your business from a binman

Creating a ‘bold promise’ you can stand over is a key step.

By Oisin Browne The City Bin Co

CARVING OUT A successful career from the back of the early morning bin truck isn’t exactly your typical office for a budding entrepreneur - but this is exactly where I found myself just over 18 years ago.

I started my career with Galway’s The City Bin Co, ultimately learning from the ground up the commitment and skills needed to contribute to a successful team.

My own business journey has since spanned from the back of those bin trucks to the expansion of the company in Ireland and the Middle East, as well as writing two books.

As with any business, branding is one of the most important aspects to establish from the outset. Whether your operation is large or small, retail or business-to-business, an effective brand strategy gives you a major edge.

Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.

For me, there are three key aspects of branding that are vital to success:

1. Create a bold promise

This should be an attractive promise to your customers to do something that ensures the value they expect is delivered each time without fail: a simple message with the reassurance of delivery, stating ‘if we mess up, we’ll pay up’.

When you constantly deliver on your brand promise you sow the seeds to building trust. First-time customers are more likely to become repeat customers and tell others about their experience.

Your brand promise needs to be strong, clear and simple. You must establish a promise that your customers will react to and that you can implement and measure. It is important to think about what you are delivering to the customer, how you are going to deliver it and what value are you offering.

A brand promise also needs to differentiate you from your competitors, if everybody is offering it, it’s not a brand promise: it’s an added service.

At The City Bin Co, for example, our brand promise is: ‘Job done! We will do the job right each and every time. You will never have to listen to excuses or sad stories. And should we break our promise then you don’t pay.’

This is a bold statement but one that our customers can trust.

2. Associate your brand with awards

Our company has won numerous awards since it was established. We have an award-winning mindset and the strength and confidence to be gained from this is immeasurable.

Participating in an award process can create new opportunities from PR exposure and creating brand awareness, opening doors for your product and allowing you to network with potential costumers and partners.

Awards can also improve employee morale while influencing customers. Calling yourself an ‘award-winning company’ helps potential customers to better understand your offerings and it sends out positive indications to browsing eyes that you are a winner.

Such an exercise doesn’t just oblige you to do a laser-focussed examination of your company; it compels you to ‘up your game.’ You create new benchmarks that make you and your team get better results. You look deeply at your competitors to figure out your points of difference.

In order to win, companies will often have to tighten up the operational element on all levels. You will have to take a really hard, honest look under the hood before you enter, which is often worth more than the award itself.

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3. Get your brand online

Digital marketing is neither a bandwagon nor the latest fad in the business world. It is part of the new business landscape that gives you a great set of marketing tools.

You don’t need to be an expert in digital marketing, but you can become confident in the digital sphere in a short timeframe. Practice and persistence is key. If you don’t know how to do something, look on YouTube for online tutorials.

This is a new world with new rules that can enhance your sales. Digital marketing has flattened the playing field by giving all businesses access to affordable tools that give a wider reach.

Traditionally, the customer had to physically go into the business space to make a purchase. Now, the business can go to the customer’s space to make a sale.

Previously, a small company would have had trouble creating the same marketing reach of a bigger or more experienced competitor through the traditional approach alone.

Digital marketing also enables your brand to measure and analyse results in real time. This empowers you to adjust your marketing strategy to achieve maximum results.

Oisin Browne is an author and a marketing expert with The City Bin Co.

If you want to share your opinion, advice or story, contact opinion@fora.ie.

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