Before 2008, says Dale Contant, owner of <a href="">Atlanta Design & Build, in Marietta, Ga., “people were using their homes as ATMs to pay for remodeling.” When the bubble burst, Contant knew he needed a new strategy and hired a branding company to help ADB recognize what makes it unique. “Anyone can build a screened porch,” he says, “but what makes the experience different for clients working with us?”

Contant and key managers interviewed staff about clients they liked working with; the branding company interviewed past clients. “The overriding theme of the research was how much our remodels had enriched [clients’] lives,” Contant says. ADB distilled that down to: “Transforming homes. Enriching lives.”

The blueprint they came up with led to the creation of a five-point system for ADB to follow with potential clients and has given the company a common purpose of principles outside its already existing mission statement. “It has helped us focus on getting the right customers,” Contant says.

A: The Other Guys

Look at the competitions’ advertising, websites, blog posts. Investigate what materials, language, and technology they use. This can help focus your message.

B: Call It Out

Can you quantify the steps you take on a kitchen project, for example? Sometimes all it takes to get noticed is to give a name to something you’re already doing.

C: Take a Stand

Use research gleaned from employees and past customers to define who you are (position); what makes you unique (differentiator); and how to work with clients (promise).

D: All Systems Go

These five steps go into ADB’s “HomeStyle” system. The language guides clients and staff. “It has helped us ask the right discovery questions,” owner Dale Contant says, and sets ADB apart.

E: What You’re Made Of

Show customers what the company culture is all about and what clients can expect when they work with your company.

—Stacey Freed is a senior editor at REMODELING. Find her on Twitter at @SFreed or @RemodelingMag.