Your Public Persona

Hey, here I am, over here — look at me; I’m the future of remodeling and renovation right here under your nose!

Why doesn’t my advertising work better? My company offers the best value in the marketplace. We’re thorough, responsible and responsive. I’m cute, funny and good to my kids. I’m a real find. Keep on saying that and believing it and in two or three generations, or a hundred years or so, maybe the public will figure it out. But until then, let’s try to find some way to get noticed before you are a candidate for Nurturing Nancy Nursing Home. Uniforms with the company’s and the employee’s name above the shirt pocket, monogrammed trucks, nice brochures, and an advertising budget the size of a NASCAR team — will help establish your company, but unless you’re under 31, you probably should consider something a little more timely and effective.

How do we get noticed effectively without spending a gazillion bucks?

For years, I read almost everything I could find on how to get noticed. What is the best way to inform the remodeling buyer that I’m here waiting to hear from him/her? You can buy it and every type of media representative will offer you a good reason why they are the best and most effective for you, but will they guarantee that it will work? I don’t think so. And what if your new ad campaign does work in say, a magazine, the newspaper or on TV? When that happens, you face the distinct possibility that a number of other players in that part of the media world will cabbage onto your type of ad and the next thing you know, the magazine or newspaper or TV ad programming will take on the characteristics of a remodeling flea market and you just have a booth with all of the rest of the also-rans. You need something unique to break through all of the clutter. The idea: make yourname known because that isn’t something anyone else can copy. You need a public persona, an intangible little extra, that makes the remodeling buyer think of you first. Come with me into the arena of public relations with what I call, Presence Marketing.

You can stand at a podium, pound your chest and say, a la Ali “I am the greatest.” And unless you are as good as he was, very few people will take it to heart because you have an axe to grind by saying so. However, by allowing someone whose public posture is neutral and whose reputation is to support quality and service step up to that same podium and say, “I asked Ralph Remodeler how to do this, and he says the best way is with the left hand, while wearing green shoes and a purple ribbon,” that gets you noticed immediately and with a higher degree of respectability. This is what’s called a third-party endorsement, when some independent source uses you as a reference. How do you become someone that people in the media want to cite as a qualified expert? You create what I call presence; basically you get into their field of view.

Build a Habitat for Humanity House, have your team wear bright solid-color company shirts and have your company name on the back in letters large enough to read from the sidelines. A lot of people know the No. 18 on a football jersey but when you add “Manning” to the back, everyone knows who it is. Do the same thing with your company. Make yourself a star without ever having to say it. Become an expert on any number of important remodeling subjects: Green, CAPS (aging in place), computer technology, home maintenance, energy efficiency or remodeling industry statistics. Then let the proper media know what you know. They will call you because they want information that is up-to-date and if you are a good source, you will be the source they contact. And when they use your information, they will credit you and cite your company. Be active in your local association, that’s a good credential, e.g., “Ralph is president of the NAHB Remodelers here in town.”

There are rules and practices that should be followed to be good at Presence Marketing.

  1. Make sure you have good, accurate information.
  2. Respond quickly to a request for information (within the hour).
  3. Don’t sugar coat anything; let the writer, reporter or producer do that if they want to.
  4. If you are speaking, try not to mention your company name other than introductions. If you do something noteworthy, describe it and then say something like, “any top-notch remodeling company will most likely do this.”
  5. And if you don’t know an answer, say so. Offer to get the answer; then do so quickly. If the writer is on a deadline, ask what their time frame is so you can meet it. Late news is important. News that is too late is yesterday’s news.

It’s out-of-date and you don’t want to be known for that, while you’re here...