After more than 20 years in the business, Greener Landscaping had hit a wall in growing their market. To revitalize business in a down economy, it was time to find a new image, one that could be easily recognizable on their vehicles and materials without being an eyesore. Darlene McSorley, vice president of administration, explains how they made the change:
What made you realize you needed to rebrand?
It was mainly for customer perception, just to consolidate and combine our efforts, which is something we always tried to do anyway. We wanted to sell ourselves as a package, because we have other services. It was a conscious thought to make everything cohesive. And it was good for company morale, having everything together.
But mostly it was to help us get some of the bigger clients. We’d bid and have great references and then at the last second they’d say, “Well, we’re not sure you can handle a job this size,” and go with another company. We want to be able to say we’re not just a landscaping company. And for a company our size, our snow business is not comparable. Even though people see our vehicles, the attraction of our clients has been mostly small businesses. We want to show that we can handle larger, more corporate accounts like a hospital or mall. We figured that a lot of customers would look at us before and have a preconceived notion of, “Oh, Greener Landscaping… that’s like Bob’s Lawn Care.” We can handle the big jobs, so that’s why we had to look like we could.
Maybe our logo was a little outdated. Even though it was very recognizable but the palette of green and pink we were using was a little outdated.
A few years ago we really should’ve done it. We were very busy and we had a big workload that we could handle. We were doing really well with our trucks and just by word of mouth and we thought it wasn’t anything we’d have to worry about. We definitely made the mistake of falling into that no-marketing trap. When business was good, we should’ve done more, because your marketing efforts, they don’t come to fruition until at least a year later. You don’t see the return on your efforts right away.
What made you decide to hire outside professionals?
I’m working day-to-day at being in business; I no longer had the time to do that. That’s a reason that our marketing suffered. We probably expected it to be a lot cheaper than it was at first. It was understanding the budget and really just having a budget for this. We coupled ourselves with a designer and brought him in temporarily at a contracted hourly rate. In times with a lot of stress in the job market we could find people who wanted work and we worked with them. We found a sign guy as well and we utilized each other for what we needed for a time of economic stress. Together, we came up with a great concept and plans.
When we were first choosing a logo we thought was right, it had to be a concept that To revitalize business in a down economy, it was time for Greener Group to find a new image. had room to grow and incorporate all our divisions and services, to make them go hand-in-hand and be easy for the consumer to understand. When we were able to go from one service to the other and the concept worked, when it was coming together, I think that was the turning point for me. We got a lot of great feedback and had a big company meeting. I think it was absolutely the right decision. We’re very happy with the way everything turned out.
How did you manage the transition?
It was a really easy transition, actually. We sent notices to the clients, and kept everything familiar as we changed things over. Our vehicles still remained black; the feel, the colors, the trucks, the people were the same. It was all about letting the consumer know what was going on. We gradually eased into changing the logo. We stuck to the old logo on the invoices for a while but included the parent company as well. We sent out postcards and letters, and eased them into the change.
We all have to learn how to be in business differently today. Our sales are actually down, but not because of our rebranding. That’s just what we’re facing in our industry overall. But any of our market efforts we’ve done, we do get a response. We’ve had a very positive response to our pieces and our new look. It’s helped us get our foot in the door, but it all comes down to price right now.
My best advice is to make sure you understand who you are and think of a cohesive plan from beginning to end. Think of how your brand looks in black and white in print, or on the side of your truck. When you really think out your branding it’s something that needs to be able to grow and evolve with you.