Branding with Designations
NAHB recently presented a webinar, “Branding Yourself and Your Business with Your Designation,” to address the questions many remodelers have about what to do once they have a designation and the feeling that homeowners don’t necessarily know what the designations mean.
“We’re trying to empower remodelers and builders who have NAHB designations to get the word out and to use every opportunity to let their current and future customers know what [those designations] mean. We hope that will start the conversation and get a consumer to ask: ‘What is a CGR, what’s a CAPS, what’s a GMR?’ Essentially the message is: I’m a remodeler who took classes; earned this professional designation; and on an annual basis, I am continuing to learn, perfect my craft and be the best remodeler I can be. It’s an assurance to that customer that [the remodeler] cares about doing good work and giving them the kind of service they deserve,” NAHB’s Jenkins says.
“You can’t just get a designation and sit back and wait for the phone to ring,” says Jeff Hunt, CGR, GMB, CAPS, CGP, of Heritage Construction Services in Houston and one of the webinar presenters. “You’ll be waiting a long time.”
Hunt, who was NAHB Remodeler of the Year in 2008 (see Qualified Remodeler, November 2008, p.22), recounts he sent a press release about his designations to every local newspaper, magazine or neighborhood newsletter he could think of. The Houston Chronicle, a major paper in town, picked it up and ran it in the real estate section. After that, Hunt took the initiative to contact local news outlets with stories and information he thought were beneficial to the consumer and was able “after beating [his] head against the wall for a while” to land an interview on the evening news about a project he was working on. He was able to interject into the interview why the homeowner cut his risk by hiring a certified professional. That led to a subsequent interview with another station, and over time, to interviews with national media, including the Wall Street Journal and CNN Money. “I’m a promotion hound, and I think you have to be,” says Hunt.
He advises remodelers first to go after the “low-hanging fruit” in promoting their designations. “Sure, you put it on your business cards, letterheads, proposals, brochures, websites, Facebook pages, email signatures — everything,” he says.
Logos are available from the associations granting designations, Hunt points out. These can be added to printed material. “I have a section in my proposal that lists all of my designations along with the appropriate logo, and I have a little explanation about what each designation means,” he says.
Promote, Promote, Promote
Beyond that, Hunt promotes industry designations every chance he gets. For example, he gives presentations about how to modify a home for aging parents to local civic groups, during the course of which he promotes the advantage of hiring a Certified Aging in Place (CAPS) remodeler.
While Hunt holds a CAPS designation, he feels his presentation helps others with similar designations. “My belief has always been that it’s incumbent on each of us designation holders to do all we can do to [promote designations]. Every time I [make a presentation], I help everybody in the industry who has CAPS, CGR, CGP or other certification, and if we all do it, I think that the argument that nobody knows what designations mean will become less and less of an argument.”
Hunt notes there are two different markets when it comes to designations. “In certain markets, you might be the first CGR in that market, and I’d hammer on it all day long. In other markets where there is greater penetration, you’d better have a designation just to keep up. It depends on where you are,” he says.