About a year ago, Taylor Milliken took the plunge and decided to change his company name. It wasn’t a branding issue; customers easily recognized the red Priuses and leaf logo of the company, which was growing rapidly. But as the company expanded its service area, it was running into a competing company with the same name.
After a big marketing push, stories in the news and lots and lots of personal communication, Milosi hasn’t lost any customers and has received a lot of positive feedback, says Megan Lowe, sales and marketing coordinator.
“I think anybody who questioned it or wasn’t sure – we’ve cleared that up,” Lowe says, noting that at this point in the year, the company has been in touch with all of its customers no matter what service they use.
Out in front.
A big part of the success was getting the word out, right from the start. “We communicated a lot with customers on the front end,” Lowe says. “As soon as we decided to do this and put an end date in place, we started talking about it. We did a couple of letters and email blasts just preparing them so that this wasn’t just a new company out there servicing their lawns.”
Owner Taylor Milliken sent out letters explaining the reasons behind the change, the timeline and what to expect next. “We really just put it out there so that people would say ‘Oh we knew this was happening,'” Lowe says.
When choosing a new look, the company kept the signature bright red color on their company cars and shirts, and even used the same red leaf in the new logo design. “When we did our new logo, we kept it pretty similar but we also kept elite in the tagline just to keep that consistency,” Lowe says.
But that tagline, “an elite landscaping company,” is starting to disappear now that the Milosi brand is established. “We’ve dropped that tagline now on phone answering, voicemail. For the last year we’ve been in transition mode and now we’re going to just be Milosi,” Lowe says. “Anything we’re getting printed, we’re dropping off that tagline and eventually we’ll do a big Milosi push in the spring.”
For those customers who aren’t aware of the change, Lowe says she just explains the change, and the reasons behind it, with good success. “I give them the one minute version of what happened, that it’s the same ownership, we just had to change our name and people are fine with it,” she says.
To keep building the new brand, Milosi has started a few new marketing efforts like their e-newsletter with a photo of Milliken right at the top. There are little red Prius cars decorating the newsletter, adding another way for customers to recognize the company. To add a more personal touch, there’s even a recipe section from Milliken since he loves to cook. “That’s reinforcing that it’s still us,” Lowe says.
Up next for the Milosi team is a new vision statement. Lowe says senior management at the company came to realize that their core values aren’t really action statements so they're brainstorming something new. Starting in August, they’ll have quarterly meetings, and run everything through the vision statement, helping to keep the brand strong, growing and on message.