GOFFSTOWN, NEW HAMPSHIRE…
Jack Child, Founder and CEO of BLACK DAWG SEALCOAT and BLACK DAWG FRANCHISE GROUP, was chosen by Entrepreneur.com as one of ten entrepreneurs whose work exemplifies the reach of building a powerful brand.
“It was very flattering when they called to do the story,” Child recalled, “The fact Entrepreneur.com knew about us and were impressed by our work speaks volumes about the power and potential in creating a strong brand.”
Child started BLACK DAWG SEALCOAT four years ago in southern New Hampshire, providing asphalt maintenance services to residential and commercial customers. He began selling franchises the next year and now has operations in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Ohio, and Kentucky, with prospects for more franchises in New York, Maine and Pennsylvania.
“I knew from the start the key to any success would be to build a recognizable brand. The asphalt maintenance industry is dominated by companies that do very little in terms of brand recognition. That was the opportunity I saw for a different way of providing these services,” said Child.
BLACK DAWG SEALCOAT takes its name from Child’s black Labrador Retriever, Olive. Her image is on everything BLACK DAWG – the sides of the trucks, yard signs, the uniforms the crews wear, hats, their signature smart car, Facebook and Twitter, the website – everywhere. “The dog sells. There is no doubt about it, but simply having a clever logo or name isn’t enough to build a brand. It is just the start. Having a cohesive plan and executing that plan is the difference between success and something less.”
Child’s advice for building brand recognition is to follow three (and a half) steps.
1) Reverse Engineer Your Brand – “Too often businesses view their marketing, their customer service and their products as flowing from them to the customer. Turn it around. Look at your business, your products and services, your brand, from your customer’s point of view and build to satisfy their needs – not your own. Our graphics – the black and yellow, the image of Olive – all reinforce what our business is about, but it also connects to our customers in a very direct way that makes it easy for them to consider doing business with us and we then back it up with very open, customer-oriented interactions.”
2) Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say – “Mark Twain once said, ‘The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between the lighting and the lightning bug.’ All the research into choosing the colors, hiring a graphic designer, building a website, maintaining a presence on social media networks and all the other tools of building a brand won’t matter at all if you don’t deliver for your customers. Everything you say or do in print, on-line and on the phone has to be backed up 100% in the field. We call it branding, but back in my father’s day it was called your reputation”.
3) A Constant State of Promotion – “Businesses need to organize their efforts so that everything they do, every touch, every interaction with clients, with potential clients, with the pubic, reinforces their brand. A logo isn’t enough – that’s part of it, but that alone won’t build your brand. We use strong visuals to get people’s attention, but it is everything we do once we have their attention that drives our success. Your brand is a 24/7 goodwill ambassador. Back up everything with stellar service and you’ll have achieved what I call “A Constant State of Promotion.”
As for the last step, Step 3.5, Child says, “This can be the hardest of them all. Once you’ve seen your business from your customer’s eyes, once you’ve nailed down your deliverables, once you’ve put yourself in a constant state of promotion, there’s one more thing to do – don’t be obnoxious about it. If you’re at a networking event, a chamber mixer or a convention, don’t shove your business card in everyone’s hand or shout over everyone about you and your brand. Listen. Listen to what people say to you about their brand. If you’ve done your work, they’ll notice you, they’ll pay attention and they’ll come to you with questions. It’s how it worked out for us with Entrepreneur.com, and it is how we go about our business every day.”
For further proof of how well this approach works, Child points out he is launching YELLOW DAWG LINE STRIPING and BLUE DAWG POWER WASH this year and has already pre-sold four of these franchises.
For more information about BLACK DAWG and to see pictures of Olive, the “Boss”, visit www.BlackDawgFranchise.com , or call 1-800-998-DAWG (3294). Look for Jack’s upcoming e-book – A Constant State of Promotion – online this summer.