Dan Antonelli has helped rebrand more than 2,000 home services companies. Since 1997, KickCharge Creative has teamed with roughly 150 to 175 brands per year. That’s about three per week.
“Rebranding is second nature to us,” says Antonelli, president of the company. who got his start as a sign painter. “But we know it’s a big deal for every business. We recognize what they’re asking us to do is a really big deal.”
KickCharge approaches branding as if lives are at stake.
“It’s really in our culture here that our work has the ability to change people’s lives,” he says.
Indeed, a company’s bottom line as well as the paychecks of employees, can rise or fall on the effort to create or fix a brand.
Based on three decades of experience, Antonelli is in the process of putting out a book called Branded Not Blanded: KickCharge Your Home Service Brand.
The book delves into reasons why disruption matters, the importance of consumer behavior, and why a brand should make your target audience feel a certain way about your company.
“People forget that branding isn't really that complicated as far as what the mission is,” Antonelli says. “It's really about trying to control what someone feels about your company before you actually provide service to them.”
He says most companies, especially businesses following best practices in the ServiceTitan world, are dialed in operationally. But before getting to a customer’s front door, your brand has to set a tone.
“What we're trying to do is make sure people have a connection to your company and they feel something,” Antonelli says. “Part of that goes to what the consumer believes your company can provide as a value—so they're OK paying a premium for something they believe holds value, more so than your competitors.”
Good brands counter consumer bias, he says.
“Consumers already have a bias against contractors in general, right?” Antonelli asks. “They’re afraid of contractors. They don't know if they need a $15 transistor or an entirely new condenser unit.”
A customer just wants to turn a switch and hope the thing works. A brand has to inspire confidence that this is your world, he says.
“Your brand has to speak to them and make them feel comfortable in what you're recommending,” Antonelli says. “Make them trust you, right?”
Too often, he notes, home-trade companies are focused on trying to get a little bit more money for their work or trying to increase average ticket sales, but are falling flat.
“They may have the best sales training program in the world, but they've got a really weak brand,” Antonelli says.
Game over before it can even begin.
Dan Antonelli recently joined ServiceTitan’s Jackie Aubel as part of Season 5 of the “Toolbox for the Trades” podcast, which included Antonelli’s thoughts on:
Distinguishing a bad brand from a good brand.
Making a good brand a great brand.
The difference between branding and notoriety.
How branding affects your bottom line.
Good reasons for changing your brand.