As a security business owner, or as a manager of security guards, you understand the importance of training your employees to easily identify suspicious situations. You teach your guards attention for detail, and you expect them to be alert at all times on duty. If your guard doesn’t identify when something seems amiss, he fails his duties. In this sense, you understand the importance of identification.
Have you ever thought of the importance of identification with your own brand? This is more than your logo. This is the graphics on your fleet vehicles, your guard’s uniform, the business cards you pass out at conferences, and the website where people go to learn more about you. This is your identity. Just as you don’t want your guards to overlook red flags on their daily rounds, you can’t have potential customers overlooking your company because you don’t stand out.
You also know the critical-yet-top-notch service you bring to your customers. Don’t be afraid to reflect that in your branding. Chances are, if you let your brand lapse, one or more of your competitors won’t.
Know what you’re up against.
Human beings are increasingly more visual animals. Today, 65% of the population are visual learners. This means that more than half of us can easily associate color, pictures, and graphics with thoughts, ideas, and abstract concepts. Assuming potential clients will read the “About Us” section of your website doesn’t cut it anymore. People judge the reliability of your business by the cohesion of your brand. Strategic marketing has never been more important.
Marketing, by the same token, has also never been more muddled and full of scams. A simple Google search of “how to market my business more effectively” is proof of this. Phrases like “search engine optimization,” “content strategy,” and “quantitative analysis” are thrown around without explanation. Moving up on search engine rankings, having well written website copy, and using data to track your customers — that’s all important. More important is to start small.
Don’t be fooled by ads that tell you to spend big bucks on your branding campaign. In the security business, a few simple steps can tighten your brand and boost your reputation. Let’s take a look at tips for creating brand identity and examples of branding success in the security industry.
Marketing is easy as long as you remain professional.
As mentioned earlier, the underlying priority of your marketing strategy should be to have your brand easily recognized and understood.
Security businesses, particularly on the local level, are constantly battling to make people understand that no, the guards are not police officers, and no, they are not Paul Blart either. To be identified as security guards and taken seriously as such, businesses need to focus on their brand.
When designing your logo, keep your brand and your service in mind. You want a design that shows you are professional and tells your potential clients your guards won’t be caught napping on the job with a bologna sandwich on their lap. But you also don’t want to trick clients into thinking your guards have law enforcement power if it’s not true.
An example of a security business owner that found the perfect balance of professionalism and accurate representation is Shea Degan. He founded Signal 88 Security for the Greater Omaha Area in 2003. Despite selling his company a decade later, the results of his successful branding campaign still exist. Signal 88 in Nebraska police code means “situation secure.” The logo itself is a blue shield, another reflection of security. The shield was distinct enough to distinguish his guards from police officers, and professional enough to be easily recognized and taken seriously. Even the color was deliberate, a cool blue to convey calm and control.
A cohesive brand brings your team together in two ways.
A professional and accurate representation of your company brings two positive results, one from a managerial standpoint and the other from the employee’s point of view.
The first is this: By requiring vehicle, uniform, and personal appearance standards, as well as a code of conduct and clearly defined expectations, you increase the chance of word-of mouth recommendations from your clients to potential new customers. These standards also increase a sense of professionalism among your staff, leading to better defined hiring processes. All of which can positively impact recruiting, the quality of candidates, and the cohesion of your team. With a bit of luck, hard work, and consistency, security guard jokes will soon come at the expense of your less-prepared competition.
Having a brand for your security business is the chain that ties everything together. If you promote your brand as professional, eager to help, and competent, then employees will have that expectation when they work for you, and clients will deliver that message when they recommend you. If you prove to be what you say you are, that’s all the more trust gained.
Another positive result of a thoughtful brand identity is that your guards will have a better sense of community. Everyone wants to feel like they belong to something great, especially in their work. Give your employees a brand they’re proud of representing, and makes sure you back it up with real purpose.
If it’s still too much, seek help.
You don’t have to create a brand on your own, but you don’t have to burn a hole in your pocket seeking help. After all, you have a business to run.
There are plenty of creative people in Omaha, where Lyconic is headquartered, who understand business and the importance of sticking to budgets. Don’t reach out to the big name marketing firms right away. You can save those dollars for the many aspects of your branding that matter. Including, but not limited to, uniform design standards for all services and conditions, vehicle designs and wraps, light bars and equipment, property signage, letterhead, website design and hosting, and physical and digital marketing.
For digital design and strategy:
Try Mosaic Visuals. Mosaic Visuals specializes in identity, web, and print design. They can help you brainstorm a brand that accurately represents your business, then help you bring your brand to life online and in print.
Or L.P. Video of Omaha. With over 35 years of experience in graphic design, print, photography, and videography, this is another one-stop shop to tune up your brand. L.P. Video offers reasonable prices and a flexible schedule, something the big names can’t get you.
We at Lyconic personally benefitted from the services of Grain & Mortar for application and web design, branding, marketing, and digital strategic planning.
There are a host of options when it comes to uniforms and gear, but here are a few suggestions that we’ve got some personal experience with:
Propper.com is great for uniforms and outerwear for all manner of security services and circumstances, from executive protection details, to hardcore field work in temperatures ranging to the extreme. Also check out Vertx for tactical gear as well as additional uniform options.
We’ve also utilized Fresh Concepts locally for promotional products, signage, booth swag, and marketing apparel.
For vehicle wraps:
One sure-fire way to set yourself apart from the competition is to wrap your vehicle. If you have a roving vehicle patrol service, you can think of your vehicles as 24/7 billboards of your business in addition to the signals they send to your existing clients and any would-be criminals when you arrive at a customer’s service location.
Don’t be afraid to think a little outside the box on this one. You could set your vehicle up with markings that closely mimic law-enforcement. In fact, many security businesses strive for this. But, unless you’re actually enforcing the law, consider how you might set yourself apart from law-enforcement while projecting confidence in your brand and services. This can go a long way in establishing your brand and your professional value while differentiating you from your competition. As mentioned, you don’t have to shed an identity consistent with security and protection to accomplish this.
Once you’ve settled on a designer of choice, you can have them work with vehicle wrap vendors. Still other vendors will work on both sides of the problem, defining your wrap design, and also doing the labor to apply it to your vehicle. Design 8 Studios works either way. They’re happy to work with you on the digital and branding side, and can work equally effectively with your designer of choice. They offer everything from booth signage, table-throws, banners, and, of course, vehicle wraps.
Don’t hesitate to look in your market. Odds are you have really great talent in your own backyard. There are tons of professionals that can bring real value to your company without breaking the bank.
For more information on branding strategy for security franchises, marketing tips, or more recommendations to people who can help you build your brand, contact Aron Filbert at firstname.lastname@example.org or Bridget Lillethorup at email@example.com.