As the remodeling industry contemplates rebranding its image for the next-generation workforce [ see article], successful remodelers continue to finesse their brands as prospective clients see them. But branding means walking the walk — not just talking the talk, warns marketing consultant David Alpert of Continuum Marketing Group.

Greg Smith (above, far left) expresses his company's brand through action helping others. Here he leads a student “work camp” that produced a wheelchair ramp, among other vital improvements.
Photos: Greg Smith Co. Greg Smith (above, far left) expresses his company's brand through action helping others. Here he leads a student “work camp” that produced a wheelchair ramp, among other vital improvements.

“Brand is more than just nice graphics and a snappy tag line,” Alpert says. “It is the experience clients and others have with the company and its staff and owner.” A brand is “everything a person thinks about when they think about a company. It's much bigger than a corporate identity or logo” — and can be helped or hindered by how the company actually performs.

One Alpert client whose actions reinforce its positive brand is Greg Smith Co., of Falls Church, Va. The remodeler launched a dramatic rebranding effort in the late 1990s that included a new logo along with an integration of image and message across various media, including direct mail, vehicle markings, and its Web site (www.gregsmithcompany.com).

Besides having a sharp look, Greg Smith Co. has always hewed to a list of “brand attributes” that Alpert says every brand should have. Several of these attributes have to do with the owner's quiet commitment to community service, which for years has included volunteering in a rebuilding program for needy homeowners and at a food bank.

Smith and his company have won many awards, Alpert says, but the pinnacle was in October, when a local materials dealer gave Smith its community service award. The award — which came with a $2,500 cash prize that Smith donated to his church — made him feel “on top of the world,” he says, and also gave his employees a boost of company pride.

Typical of Smith, he didn't exploit the award for business gain, though it did merit a brief mention in his company's newsletter. However, a local newspaper wrote about the award, reinforcing the company's brand and all it represents.


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Learn more about Greg Smith Co.'s brand attributing in What's Your Company's Brand?