Brand identity is a big part of the recipe for success for any business, and that includes commercial trucking fleets. A strong brand means that your business is well-known and recognizable—and that means that when someone goes looking for a carrier, they’ll think of you first. Besides increasing your market share, branding also raises the overall value of your company, which is especially important if you expect to sell at some point.
But brands are not static, unchanging things. A company can do a great job building its brand in the beginning and then find itself looking dated and out of touch as the years go by. Sometimes the same message works the same way for forty years; newer is not always better. But other brands lose their relevance and start turning off potential customers. There is no way to know which way your brand’s image is going if you don’t stop and reevaluate your brand regularly.
A strong brand has three main elements:
- A recognizable look; the more often people see your logo, the more likely they are to remember it. A good logo is visually simple, easy to recognize, and evocative of your particular business. Make sure that logo is everywhere your business is—on your vehicles, on your buildings, your website, and any printed materials you produce.
- Positive buzz; buzz is how people talk about your business and what people say has a lot to do with what they hear and see. Never miss an opportunity to boast about your business—new safety records, corporate successes, employees going above and beyond the call of duty, all these are reasons to speak up. For some businesses, creating buzz means launching an advertising campaign. Whether aggressive public marketing is right for you or not, be sure to use social media tools, like Facebook and Twitter, to get the word out there.
- Excellent service; all the memorable logos and positive buzz in the world won’t help strengthen your brand if your business itself does not do great work. The people you work with have to be able to trust that your company will do its job well and conduct customer service with a smile. Doing a good job and treating people well is not just a great way to strengthen your brand, it is also the right thing to do.
Excellent service in turn has two main components.
First, you need to have good equipment, good policies and practices. Fleet management software is a good package of tools here; efficient routing, improved customer service, efficient maintenance scheduling, and improved security through GPS fleet tracking, all improve the value of your company.
But the heart of your brand is always the people who work for you. They make your fleet a success—or not. Recruitment, hiring, training, and retention are all big parts of making your company something worth boasting about. One way to look at it is that it’s your drivers’ job to take care of your customers, but it’s your job to take care of your employees. Fleet management software helps here, too, by improving both training and driver accountability. Great drivers can look forward to the recognition and better payment they deserve, if fleet managers can get the information they need.