How is your trucking company differentiated from all the other small and micro-carriers?
In simple terms, this is the basic premise of company branding. So how do you increase your trucking operation’s name recognition?
Develop a Slogan or Motto
A motto or slogan should be from three to a dozen words which explain in one short sentence the goal of your trucking company. Examples: Advance Auto Parts – We’re Ready in Advance; AGCO – (manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment) – A World of Solutions for your Growing Needs; Ford Motor Company – Built for the road ahead; Harley-Davidson, Inc – Define your world in a whole new way; Midwest Hauling – You call, we Haul. Getloaded – Never drive empty again.
Each one of these slogans begins to define what these companies’ goals and business intentions are. To be a successful part of a company’s branding, a slogan needs to be memorable, and define what you do in as few words as possible. But be very careful that it doesn’t give the wrong message. A good example of this was a trucking company with a logo of a camel on its trucks, and its motto was ‘We Hump to Please.’ If seen in conjunction with the logo, it sent a message of a desert caravan with camels as the beasts of burden hauling freight. By itself, the motto had potentially another message, and in street slang at that.
Develop a Mission Statement
A mission statement shows your reason for being, and the value you provide to your shippers, brokers, other customers, vendors – and don’t forget your drivers. Start with your motto or slogan and incorporate it into the statement. Again, short and sweet creates the ideal mission statement. It needs to be something memorable, easily repeated by your employees, and said in less time than it takes to ride an elevator for a couple of floors.
Components of a mission statement:
- Who – Define your organization
- What – To What is your organization dedicated to?
- How – How do you meet Quality, Cost, Time and Service Requirements?
- Where – Where are you based and/or operate (geographical Information)?
- Why – Why does someone benefit from what you do?
Examples: Walmart (Founding) – To give ordinary folk the chance to buy the same thing as rich people. WalMart (1990) – Become a $125 billion company by the year 2000
Otis Lift Company – to rise unnoticed
Getloaded – Getloaded is here to keep trucks loaded, freight moving, and America’s trucking industry chugging along at a happy, healthy pace. We’re committed to providing instant load board access to truckers and freight brokers with cutting-edge technology that’s user-friendly, economical, fast, and secure.
Boeing –To push the leading edge of aviation, taking huge challenges doing what others cannot do; Boeing (1950’s) – Become the dominant player in commercial aircraft and bring the world into the jet age.
Note: In the examples, the mission statements of Walmart and Boeing changed as both the culture and company direction changed, so remember, neither a company’s mission statement nor slogan is set in stone. It’s important in branding that these reflect the goals and mission of your company, as it began and as it is now.
Select a Company Name
Your company name reflects your slogan and mission statement. Again, think simplicity and a name easy to remember. When a person hears or reads your trucking company name, it should bring to mind what your company specializes in and what you do; and again, involve the idea of quality and appeal to your customer/shipper base.
As an example, if you’re a livestock hauler, tradition says you use the name of the ranch, farm or the trucking company’s owner’s last name. Unless you’re trying to buck tradition, it’s probably best to continue with that tradition. But maybe you specialize in hauling potatoes or onions. I know a carrier named “Ankle Pik,” reflecting the fact they haul produce that’s harvested at ankle level. Another carrier’s named “Xtreme Trucking,” specializing in over-dimensional freight. Both have a memorable name; one I’m sure many of you will remember long after reading this article.
Design a Logo
Your logo reflects your slogan, mission statement and company name. Important: If your logo looks amateurish, then so will your trucking company. Be willing to engage a qualified graphic artist to design your logo. Provide him/her with your slogan, mission statement and company name from which to develop several logo designs. You’ll choose the one you feel best meets all of the criteria.
From experience, at least for the first go-round, let the graphic artist have free rein in the design. Then work from the first set to come up with the one that fits your company the best. Keep in mind that simple is best, as this logo will be on the sides of your trucks, drivers’ and office staff shirts and caps, plus business cards, letterhead, invoices, brochures, and advertising. It must be easily identifiable from a distance and close-up. Think Coke, Nike, Apple, Canon, General Electric and McDonald’s.
Putting them all together
When all the above components in place, be constant in their use. Send out an email with the logo and slogan included. Your company logo and slogan are on every invoice or statement mailed or emailed. It’s on every truck, business card, postcard, brochure or correspondence sent from your trucking company. And it needs to be on your website, company Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages. Your mission statement needs to be memorized by every employee and contractor, so when someone asks them what your trucking company does, they can begin the conversation by quoting your mission statement.
Finally, be sure you maintain the high level of quality and service that your slogan and mission statement implies. Then your logo, trucks, and employees will have the brand recognition you’re seeking. When someone familiar with your company sees your logo, they’ll immediately identify “quality and customer service” as being who you are.
Timothy D. Brady © 2020
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