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How to brand better: Hacks edition

Photo 123RF
Photo 123RF

By DC Design House

By the time you read this love letter about all the marketing-related things you should be doing to help your business, they’ll have changed again.

I apologize on behalf of my industry. That said, I know enough about all things construction to know that yesterday’s cribbing is today’s prefab, just like yesterday’s copper pipe is today’s plastic. You get the idea.

I guess what I’m saying is that both marketing and construction industries evolve at a pace that can feel like riding a bull without a saddle. And so for now (quite literally), here is our lens on what you — someone who works in a company with a size between one and 101 — can do to brand better:


Apps can make you smile or clench. For flip phone lovers out there — I’m sorry, we cannot save you from the future. For the rest of the smartphone users, apps can be so helpful in getting quick things done well. Canva, for example, is a handy little app that lets you create social posts and other agile digital visual creations — so many of our clients are downloading this little time and resource saver. Am I sad that so many of my junior design buddies are losing out on these key foundational opportunities to hone their craft via the “little jobs” that are so important to our growth in the game? Yes. Do I appreciate the need to get things to be done in-house for success? Yes. Moving on …


The big question: why do you do what you do? If you don’t know, don’t panic — most of my business-owning clients don’t (nor do their employees) and that’s a problem. Brand spirit is an inside job! I know a local company who can’t seem to find their way into the hearts of the customers they’re after. The reason? Nobody who works there has a clue about why they do what they do. Sure, they know the logical answers to what they do and they know how they make the sausage — fighting the urge to sing “Daddy, would you like some sausage” right now –– but do they connect with the emotional reason that comes from knowing why? Sin. They deserve to know and you do too.


“So, who’s your ideal customer?” I often ask. “Everyone!” They answer. “Noooo,” I yell at them while flipping the desk (OK, not really — that’s just what I picture happening). In reality, taking the time to paint the picture of who your audience really is unlocks so much appreciation and recognition of who really matters and where your success actually comes from. Spoiler alert: it isn’t from strangers. It’s the people you already know, who work for you, who have been loyal customers for years, who refer you to others — they’re the ones, son! So please get together and set up that appreciation station by reaching out to keep them warm before your competition slides in to show them some love. 


A few months back, I counted up all the places a company can be found online. I lost count (cue me running to Google to enter my own company name for results). I was so overwhelmed. We know Facebook and Twitter are top-of-mind pages where information about our companies exists. But in an age where internet crawlers are scraping the web for data — and in some cases, creating their own ghost pages with your info coming up in the search results of potential customers who are looking for you or the things you do — getting your digital house in order means knowing all the places you may end up and ensuring that you look and feel right. That means consistency and scheduled reviews of all these current and pop-up places (for example, your Google business page), especially as some of these places allow reviews and recommendations to be posted. And trust us — you want to be reviewing those, stat!


What is the most important lesson I’ve learned over my roughly 20 years in marketing and communications? A few mind-blowing quotes of choice ring true: “Your network is your net worth” and “Successful people aren’t just well rounded, they’re well surrounded.” Partnership is life, especially in this less transient, traditional-values-oriented island on the edge. Driving partnership in every corner of your life is teamwork that makes the dream work. Connection is the key to happiness, so lower that drawbridge and let people in wherever you can. The more people that you invite to belong and believe in the campaigns and must-do storytelling that makes a brand feel real, the more shared success results. It’s kind of a life thing, you know?

I hope these little hacks help you to brand better. None of these things “cost” you much. Most of them are inside jobs; the bedrock to making any company go boom, no matter if you’re in marketing, construction or basket weaving — which, if you’re like me, depending on the mood or moment, sounds like a pretty attractive career path. I kid.

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