By L. A. "Tony" Kovach
Re-branding is a tried and true approach for companies and organizations to broaden their appeal, and thus their results. It can be done at a single location, regionally or company wide, depending of the unique dynamics of your company. It is not new in manufactured housing. Arguably, when we went from being "mobile homes" in the 1950s to the early 1970s to "manufactured housing" since June 15,1976, we have as an industry already gone through a major re-branding.
Clayton Homes is arguably using rebranding, when they rolled out their iHouse. They don't call it a single section manufactured home, or "single-wide" do they? They got a strong, positive media reaction to this effort as well.
We have used elements of rebranding with various companies I've worked with over the years too. Properly implemented, the results are nothing less than amazing.
With one client in the communities world, we took them from a handful of inbound telephone leads or walk ins a week to well over 150 a week, all while reducing their ad budget over time. With a street retail client of ours, we had a similar outcome, creating as many as 38 inbound lead calls - plus their walk in traffic - in a day. Combing marketing - that included rebranding - with a revised, customer friendly sales process that fit with rebranding, made their sales team overall more productive. These are examples of documentable results.
The essence of re-branding is giving something a new name that fits and has more or broader appeal.
We have copyrighted a number if re-branding names that could serve the industry, by serving individual retailers, communities and developers. One if our latest is a process we'd like to see grow called eGeenHomesUSA.com. Here is a screen capture of the website's home page, click through to get the idea, then please return to finish this column.
The consumer/home buyer focused
features rotating home page images
of elegant looking factory built homes
a content management system
and a blog for enhanced SEO, among other features.
Click on the graphic above to see the site.
The idea here works like this: in most cases, you would keep your current business name. But in addition, you add a new one! In the case of our example, you would become an eGreenHomesUSA.com local affiliate. Yours might be something like eGreenHomesHUTX for a location in Houston, TX. Using a proprietary process, we drive traffic to that new site. Your sales team gets trained on how to properly handle an ever growing volume of inbound calls.
Certainly others in our industry have used similar strategies, as noted with the Clayton example above. But the point is this; by a process using rebranding, you can gain access to the 85% of the housing market that would never normally consider manufactured homes. That 85% is often more credit worthy, or can pay cash for your homes.
Re-branding is not a one size fits all silver bullet. It can be done wrong, or used at a location where it doesn't make good sense. A word of caution: rebranding like what we suggest requires the buy-in and updated training of your sales team. The good news is, when you do so, their sales (and thus commissions, bonuses and your profits) can go up.
That said, as part of your arsenal of marketing and sales tools, re-branding is a way to stand out and dominate in your local market. If you are considering a change in your signage, inventory, merchandising, website or marketing --- before you spend a dime! --- give a good hard look at rebranding. It just could be the best investment your money can buy. ##
(Editor's Note: L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach is a member of MHSpeakerTrainer.org)