When prospective tenants drive by your facility what message does it convey to them? When they visit your website what do the colors and images tell them about your company? When people hear your company name or see your logo what do they think? Hopefully when people drive by, look you up online, or see your logo–all these elements of your brand communicate feelings of trust that make people want to store with you. Let’s discuss why it’s important to create a great brand for your facility by talking about what your brand is, how to know if you have a good brand, and personal experiences on creating a consistent brand.
What Is Your Brand
According to the American Marketing Association, a brand is the “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers”. So, your brand is everything that identifies your self storage facility and that makes it stand out from your competitors. Your signage along the road, signs on your office doors and inside your office, signs inside your units, logos on your merchandise, logos and colors of your website, manager shirts, letterhead on your letters to tenants, social media profiles, printed and digital advertisements, and unit door colors–all of these are elements that make up your “brand”.
Gauging Your Brand
To see how your brand currently is doing take a look at all your brand assets. Is your logo consistent across your signage, your website, your social media, and your advertisings? Are the colors consistent? Does your “digital brand” match your “physical brand”? If a prospective tenant found you online and drove to your facility would they be able to find you from the look of your facilities logo and colors matching that of your website? If not, you have an opportunity to improve.
Creating a brand guide can be a huge help in this. In a brand guide, you define official variations of your logo, brand colors, and fonts. Then you need everyone in your company to buy-in and follow this brand guide in every public facing element of your brand. When everyone follows your brand guide, your digital and physical brands become consistent and your entire brand improves.
Personal Experiences with Branding
Here at our company, we have a mix of newly built storage facilities and facilities 30+ years old. This presents a challenge because our logo has evolved and changed over the years. Also, our company has used a variety of graphic designers over the years so the look of our ads and office flyers have changed along with them. The same goes for the photos used on our website and social media. They’ve been taken by many different photographers and cameras over the years, so they look inconsistent when presented together.
We’re still working to make our logo consistent across all properties and our ads and flyers are slowly becoming consistent as we now design everything in-house. This shows that in many ways creating and maintaining your brand is an ever-evolving process. It would serve most companies well to check in on their brand every few years and make sure everything is still consistent and see if your logo, fonts, or colors, need any modernizing.
Our big push this year was to create a whole new media library for our 22 stores that includes new photos and videos shot by a consistent camera and photographer, so the media is all congruent. We are confident this investment of time and effort will pay off with us looking like a more professional company and brand across all our web properties.
The end goal with creating a great brand is when people see elements they identify with your brand, they get feelings of trust that make them want to store with you. Hopefully, this has helped you see what a brand is and why it’s so important to create a great one for your company.