People use the phrase “we stand behind our work” to suggest that they are confident in their products and workmanship and that they will take corrective measures if they are in error. Placing oneself behind one’s work may however suggest that the work they do carries more value than the people that complete the work. Another option is standing in front of your work, which lets clients and potential clients know that your work is valuable because it was completed by you and your team.
To illustrate the difference between standing in front and standing behind, let’s compare Proctor & Gamble (P&G) with Apple. P&G makes a wide range of personal and household products, and stand behind what they make. However, consumers may purchase these products because they are reliable and well-made, but they are often unaware that they are made by P&G. Can you name any P&G products that you use? Apple, on the other hand, stands in front of its products. Consumers buy Apple products partly because they are buying the company’s brand.
Remodeling companies that stand behind their work are likely to provide brand name products to leverage the power of these brands. They will establish alliances with vendors and manufacturers and might be certified installers of specific products. If you stand behind your work you will want to leverage the power of these brands by placing them on your promotional material, allowing you to minimize your marketing expenditure as those companies usually provide co-op advertising money.
Standing in-front of your work suggests that prospects should hire you based on your company’s unique offerings, not the specific brands you use. Your story, your talent and your unique systems are what attract them to you so you would want to promote your own story and your brand rather than specific products. You should also focus less on material selections and focus more on using your judgment and expertise to help clients with selections and design. You can even provide your own house-branded products such as wood stains or cabinetry.
Both models can be successful. Standing behind your work allows you to keep a leaner company focused on operations that relies on strategic partnerships for lead generation. Standing in-front of your work allows you more control and visibility of your brand as well as meatier gross profits.
—Daniel Glickman is a branding consultant and business coach at FirmFlair and the co-owner of Sustainable Construction Services, in Sherborn, Mass. firstname.lastname@example.org