Right about now, you might be saying “what are you talking about? We’ve got a logo and uniforms and company colors! Of course we know our brand, we’re a trucking company!”
Well, yes and no. Trucking is what your company does. Your logo is an expression of your brand, it’s not your brand itself. Your brand is who your company IS: your values, your history, your culture, your specialties and your motivation. It’s what makes you stand out in a crowded marketplace. In this era of 24/7 communication, your fleet needs a distinct reputation.
Your brand is what makes that happen.
We’ve spoken before about identifying your employee value proposition (EVP). Now, let’s discuss how to identify your brand essence. More importantly, let’s discuss how to make your brand clearly identifiable to potential clients and truck drivers.
Defining your brand
Much like your EVP , you inherently know your fleet’s brand. You just need to be able to summarize it in a way you (and everyone in your company) can understand. From there, you’ll use your brand to drive all of your marketing and advertising strategies… and your recruitment and retention strategies as well. First, though, let’s discuss how to define your brand.
- Ask yourself: what are we CURRENTLY known for? What do current clients come to you for? What attracts drivers to your company? Is it that you’re a family-run business, that you exclusively serve one market, that you run same-day delivery? If you’ve run any market research, lean into that as well. And be brutally honest with yourself if you have to: is your fleet falling short of your goals?
- Ask yourself: what do we most WANT to be known for? Here’s where you can turn any shortcomings into an opportunity to brand yourself the way you want. What should be the main reason for clients and drivers to come to you? Are you looking for people who appreciate that you’re a third-generation family business? Who appreciate that you’re a dedicated reefer fleet? And if the public doesn’t realize these things about you, why not? Which leads us to our final step…
- Ask yourself: how do we get from where we are to where we want to be? Once you know what you want to be known for, you need to create a strategy to get there. The way to do this, of course, is branding. To define your brand to potential clients and truck drivers, you need to create a marketing plan.
Marketing your brand
“Marketing your brand” is a bit of a misnomer. Rather, your brand should be your guiding principle in all your marketing and advertising decisions. Everything you do to build your business, be it sales conferences, job postings or social media posts, should be done with your brand in mind.
Let’s say you’re a family-run business. A family’s unwavering commitment to the fleet over multiple generations is a powerful brand marketing message. Convey that the same unwavering commitment extends to client service and to truck drivers as well. Make sure that sentiment is prevalent in sales pitches, recruitment ads and conference materials.
Don’t worry if some people will be unimpressed by that fact that the business is family-run. It’s impossible to be all things to all people. As the joke goes, you aren’t pizza and so you can’t please everyone.
Your target audience – the people looking for the dedication and down-to-earth values that a family business can bring – will be impressed. They’re the ones who will click on your ads and read your social media posts. They’re the ones you’ll convert into sales and drivers for your fleet. And they’re the ones who will stay customers over the long term.
Choosing the right tactics
Your brand should also determine which marketing tactics to focus on. While all tactics are valuable, some will be more authentic to your brand than others. Here are just a few suggestions for consideration.
- QR codes. This one is universally beneficial to any brand. QR codes are simple to create, can be scanned by anyone with a smartphone, and can send potential clients and drivers right to your sales or job page.
- Your website. Your site is still “home base”. Make sure it accurately reflects your brand, and make any updates where necessary.
- Short-form videos. Loved by younger drivers and forward-thinking companies, short-form videos (think TikTok) are seen as an authentic form of truth-telling by both those groups.
- Event appearances and sponsorships. Get involved with any event that’s a perfect fit with your brand. See if you can book a speaking opportunity and, if your budget allows, consider sponsoring it as well.
- Paid social media posts. Facebook (still a juggernaut among most companies and drivers) allows you to pay to “boost” a post. If you’re targeting a certain region or demographic, this is a great way to make sure your posts get seen by the right people.
- Advertising. Your ad campaigns should align with your brand. If they don’t, then take the time to redo them.
- Blog posts. These are the best way to use longform storytelling about your brand. You can go into greater depths about your company’s culture, and add a call-to-action for users at the end as well.
If all this feels like a challenge, it doesn’t have to be. Identifying your own brand can be a pretty fun exercise, considering it’s a vital part of your business model. If the rest feels overwhelming, KAT Media can help. Contact us today to talk about any and all of the above, no strings attached.