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Creative Advertising Tips and Ideas from Pantheon 2022 to Boost Company Culture

Stephanie Figy
June 22nd, 2022
6 Min Read

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“We have to be working really hard every single day to keep the team members that we have,” says Crystal Williams, founder/strategist of Lemon Seed Marketing.

From a company mascot and a plumbing TikTok channel to a billboard campaign celebrating the community, creative advertising campaigns are more than marketing; they make employees excited about the places they work. 

Williams recently hosted a session to discuss creative advertising strategies during Pantheon 2022, ServiceTitan’s annual conference for the trades. Read on for the top three takeaways and some creative advertising ideas.

Creative Advertising Ideas

Williams and home service industry pros Cassie Pound, co-owner and vice president of Quality, Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing in Tulsa, OK; Stephanie Postell, owner and COO of Anchor Heating and Air in Charleston, S.C.; and Leslie Harpole, co-owner of Champion Plumbing in Oklahoma City, shared the following creative advertising examples.

Company mascot

Williams manages marketing for her brother’s business, McWilliams and Son Heating and Air Conditioning

“We created a mascot based around my grandfather, and {the mascot’s] name is Sailor Mac,” she says. “It's really given us a great brand presence in our market, and we've continued to grow year over year and add other markets.”

Williams says one of her team members shared a video online of his son hitting a home run, and then high-fiving Sailor Mac.

“We’re making him [Sailor Mac] synonymous with the brand,” she adds. “It’s about the connection. That is golden for recruitment and golden for retaining employees.”

Facebook Groups

“We basically took our company from about zero to about $4.25 million in less than two years on Facebook,” Postell says. 

She joined various mom and neighborhood Facebook Groups and would post HVAC tips and tricks, plus answer questions when people asked. 

“There are many choices in Charleston, probably almost 100 HVAC companies,” Postell explains. “We got to the point where there would be 40 people who would recommend us for service [in the Groups].

TikTok videos

“Something that really sets us apart in our area is our use of social media, using really engaging video content,” Harpole says. “We have a pretty large TikTok following. A lot of people recognize us from that. It allows them to get an idea of who we are before they ever call us, or we ever get inside their home. That's just added a lot of value to us.”

Billboard campaign

“Our No. 1 core value for our company is to serve people,” Pound says. “We want to serve our customers, we want to serve our community, we want to serve our team members. That's plastered on our walls at the building and in our office. We wanted to figure out how we could continue serving people and what that looked like.”

They settled on digital billboards that showcase their logo and say “We love to celebrate you.” The company features three different people on the billboard each week.

“We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries. We've announced someone's engagement and wedding,” she says. “The family had no clue there was going to be an engagement, let alone they were also getting married that day. We announced that on our billboard.”

People take pictures with their billboards and share them on social media.

“The organic growth that came with that was baffling,” Pound says. “It was supposed to be a 30-day campaign, and now we've extended to the rest of the year.”

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Creative Advertising Tips

When brainstorming creative ideas for your company’s advertising, consider the following:

1. Employees want to feel connected to a purpose. 

Postell stresses the importance of community involvement.

“Heating and air and plumbing is a service,” she says. “But they [employees] want to be connected to something else in the community. They want to be connected to the purpose we have. When they get to work for companies that know their purpose and are getting out in the community, and then we include them in it, that’s the best thing.”

For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, she held a company meeting in which a dispatcher and breast cancer survivor shared her story. Afterward, all the techs took photos wearing something pink. Postell swapped their technician photos in ServiceTitan so the customers received the awareness photos before appointments. 

“One thing that came out of that is a lady called and said, ‘My neighbor just sent me a picture of your technician. I'm a breast cancer survivor, and I want to be your customer,’" Postell says.

2. Developing a company culture comes with growing pains. 

Pound notes the challenges she faced as her company grew. 

“We got to the spot of losing people who had been with us, or putting processes in place that people didn’t like,” she says. “The biggest growth for me as an owner and for our leadership team was understanding not everyone is going to be a team member, and that’s totally OK. They came to us when we were smaller and that’s what they were looking for.”

Williams recommends remaining consistent.

“We need to work every single day to not be held hostage by our own team,” Williams says.

“Because at the end of the day, as you start growing your company … you're going to feel the passion to roll forward, and there will be people that fall off. I've also learned that I'm not doing them any favors by limping them along for very long. Maybe they need a little coaching, but eventually, it's pass or fail.”

3. Involve and empower your team.

Whether it’s asking for photos to post on the company’s Facebook page or allowing your team to film TikTok videos, involving them in the marketing process helps them feel invested.

Pound stresses the importance of communication with your team members, especially as your company grows.

“We do a one-on-one with every member of our team twice a year,” she says. “And we don't talk about performance. We're talking about your life, your dreams, your goals, what you want to do in this company, and how we can support you, because that's how you grow together. That's how they will recruit for you.”

Harpole recommends this quick branding tip: Send techs out with dog treats bearing your company logo.

“That’s the biggest part for them is going into a stranger’s home,” she says. “Little things like that can really empower your technicians to feel comfortable before they even show up. It’s so easy.”

Lastly, if you don’t have time or the right skill set for culture building, Williams recommends hiring someone who does. 

“Your job as the owner is to run the best company,” she says. “That may mean you put in a leadership level between you and your team. Their job is to help figure out the culture. That may not be your strength, and it's OK. As leaders and as contractors, we're not the best at everything.”

>>Find more from Pantheon 2022

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