Examples of Modern’s marketing pieces feature the firm’s new (left) and old logos.

Heroes don’t always wear capes and fly; sometimes they travel by truck, come carrying organic pesticide and look a lot like the technicians at Modern Pest Services, Brunswick, Maine.

After a multi-stage rebranding campaign in 2013, the company has successfully positioned itself as trusted and knowledgeable professionals who can be a hero for their customers who are dealing with pest control woes.

“Our ‘hero’ embodies our commitment to being consistently prompt, efficient, polite and helpful,” said Danielle Beckwith, marketing manager for Modern Pest Services. “Our messaging reinforces that we will get the job done right or come back as many times as needed until it is solved — guaranteed.”

Thinking of rebranding your company? Beckwith said don’t be afraid to get help from a professional marketing firm.

“Having an outsider come in and take an honest look at your company can be very insightful and refreshing,” she said. “They can help provide a fresh understanding of your target audience and drill down to the specifics on how your business is different from the competition.”

KHJ, a Boston-based ad agency, helped develop Modern’s heroes campaign, which has been consistently successful.

“Since rebranding, we have seen a very nice and steady increase in our client referrals especially, meaning more customers are sending their friends and family to us, which is invaluable,” said Beckwith.

Another positive result of the campaign was that Modern got to know its target market a lot better. “Modern has learned and gained a clear understanding of who our target market is, and what exactly that individual looks like on a more personal level,” said Beckwith. “This has allowed us to make sure that all of our marketing efforts speak directly to that individual.”

Getting personal with customers meant really looking hard at the message Modern wanted to communicate.

“While it would be nice to be everything to everyone, that approach is not very effective because your messaging will not resonate with any one person. Essentially it will get lost,” said Beckwith. “Therefore, it has forced us to look more carefully at what we wish to bring to the table in regards to our service, and what we as a company can do to help our target customer believe in our mission ‘to be the most highly recommended pest management professionals in the nation.’”

Although Modern was able to streamline its message, Beckwith has never stopped testing. Whether it’s web and user experience or print and media messaging, she said they are continually analyzing customer feedback, which keeps Modern ahead of emerging trends, and has given them the opportunity to play with new marketing tactics and initiatives.

“Before rebranding, we had not fully utilized social media as a marketing and advertising platform,” she said. “We have since created a social media marketing strategy, which included creating new profiles on several social [media] sites relevant to our target audience.”

Beckwith said that just by sharing educational and useful content, Modern has been able to establish greater brand awareness and grow its audience by more than 5,000 Facebook followers in just one year.

TAKE BACK YOUR BACKYARD. Another new marketing opportunity was Modern’s Take Back Your Backyard campaign. The campaign was Modern’s first crack at a large-scale contest, and gave them the opportunity to engage a brand new audience of potential customers in a fun, yet purposeful way.

“We understand that many of our target customers won’t call us until they experience a pest problem; however, a lot more folks in our market deal with tick and mosquito concerns, providing Modern the opportunity to expose them to our services and our brand,” said Beckwith. “With this campaign, we provided our target audience with the chance to win a ‘backyard makeover’ which included a season of tick and mosquito service, allowing the winner to fully enjoy and take back their yard and have peace of mind.”

Although Modern was the one doling out the prizes, the firm was a winner itself.

The company did see an increase in new tick and mosquito services during the contest, but one of the main goals of the contest was simply to build brand awareness. With thousands of entrants and even more impressions, Beckwith dubbed it a success. They also were able to use the contest to collect contact information and develop a list of potential customers to whom a marketing campaign could be directed.

“The strongest benefit of contesting, from a marketing perspective, is list building,” she said. “By developing a follow-up plan for after the contest, it allowed us to continue to reach out to the people who wanted to ‘take back their backyard’ and extend the conversation with them.”

Another win for Modern was the positive PR they received from simply delivering the prizes, as well as promoting the names and experiences of the winners.

According to Beckwith, Modern plans to hold its Take Back Your Backyard contest again this year, but on an even bigger scale. They plan to run the campaign in all of their markets, and will also have additional small, weekly prizes leading up to the grand prize winner.

And as always, Beckwith and her team will continue to learn from their campaigns — whether it’s Modern’s heroes or giving away a backyard paradise — and constantly evolve to develop the most effective communication with their customer. —Laura Straub