Skip Matlock got home from work one day to discover a roofing job in progress at the house across the street. He wasn't happy about it. “I asked him why he didn't let our company bid,” says Matlock, vice president of sales for Seattle-area Legacy Roofing. Turns out the neighbor wanted composition shingles and thought that Matlock's company only installed shakes. He had good reason to think that. At the time (five years ago) the company Matlock worked for was called Shake Specialists. CEO Cliff Hurn, who came out of shake manufacturing, chose that name when he founded his residential roofing company in 1989. Though most of its work initially consisted of installing shake roofs, the company had soon expanded into other types of materials.
That afternoon provided a marketing moment of truth. Shortly thereafter, Matlock and Hurn decided to rename the company. Hurn then took the process a step further by contracting with a local marketing/design firm. Eben Design's job was to come up with a look and a logo appropriate to the new name: Legacy Roofing.
The Challenge Ahead Marty Krouse, of Eben Design, says the challenge in branding Legacy was to convince consumers that a roofing contractor could provide the same kind of follow-through and service that other types of businesses can. “To make that visible,” he says, “is where branding comes in.”
Fortunately, the pieces were in place. For instance, to back up the quality of its installation, the company offered a 10-year labor warranty (recently changed to lifetime). And in an industry where proposals might consist of a number scratched on an envelope or business card, dropped through the mail slot, Legacy's estimators showed up in vans outfitted with desks and office equipment, including laptops and printers. That way, Matlock says, “we can produce a detailed set of specs and an estimate that lays out three to four or as many as eight options.”
Eben Design, which had never worked with a roofing contractor before, set out to create a company image that reflected “the customer service and classiness of Nordstrom with the simplicity and accessibility of Target,” says owner Eben Green.
Eben Design developed a logo and a graphics package. Hurn and others at Legacy selected gold as the company's signature color, along with black and green. Soon everything from stationery to vans was inscribed with the logo and/or painted gold.
Legacy Roofing's leads increased by 30% to 40% annually. Much of that owes to the vans, which function as moving billboards. In 2003, vans generated 473 leads. That number jumped to 565 in 2004, and to 782 in the first 10 months of 2005. The vans now provide 25% of Legacy Roofing leads.
Re-branding also boosted the company's referral rate (from 5% of leads five years ago to 13% this year). Plus, the close rate across all lead categories rose from 13.9% to 24.2%.
The number and quality of van and referral leads mean that Legacy can hold the line on media spending and still increase its leads.
Where the company does spend its money is on direct mail and radio. Public relations is another tool in the marketing arsenal. Legacy Roofing ends up in the news when the company wins an award, sponsors high school athletic events, or participates in an Extreme Makeover project.