Business Branding Basics
If you are a self storage facility owner who is concerned with profit and expansion, branding should be your number one focus. Today, branding in self storage can be broken down into two concentrations; physical branding and Internet branding.
Physical branding pertains to people’s natural perception of your product or service in everyday life (i.e. signage, traditional advertising, and community involvement). Internet branding is solely your presence on the internet (i.e. website, social media, and optimization). The two have some similarity with regard to how you can advance your brand and increase profit, but they are definitely different.
Physical branding is defined by a few simple constants. According to Laura and Al Ries and their book, 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, there are 22. I cannot agree more (especially after reading the book), particularly if you have a national brand. Fortunately for (most of) us in self storage, we only need to concern ourselves with a few of them.
The first constant with which we should be concerned is something Laura and Al Ries call “The Law of Contraction”. This simply means that a brand becomes stronger when you narrow the focus. I have seen self storage facilities all over the country that try to be everything to all people. This is confusing; if not overtly, then at the very least subconsciously. I have noticed more and more self storage facilities going up with car washes, bar-b-que restaurants, bakeries, mail centers, coin-op laundries, and coffee shops. This is fine if you separate the brand. You don’t ever want a potential customer wondering, “What is that place? Are they a bar-b-que place or a carwash?” Agreed?
It is fine to offer additional services at your self storage facility, but make sure they do not interfere with your brand. Make sure your signage is distinguishable and separate from any ancillary business you have on site.