When Dana Spears assumed full ownership of Cornerstone Pros in 2009, it was a very different company than it is today. She credits much of her Tampa Bay, FL business’ increased success to her relationship with KickCharge Creative, a New Jersey-based marketing agency that serves small businesses across the country.
The partnership began in 2013 when Cornerstone sought KickCharge’s expertise to rebrand the heating and cooling company. As the company expanded its services to include plumbing and electrical, its name changed from Cornerstone Air to Cornerstone Pros. The team at KickCharge created a dapper, friendly retro technician mascot to communicate Cornerstone’s differentiator—old-fashioned quality service in today’s fast-paced world. KickCharge Creative wove the retro brand into all of Cornerstone’s marketing efforts, including its service vehicles, initial brand announcement, brochures, blogs, print ads, billboards and stationery.
Cornerstone Pros had five service vehicles when its rebranded fleet first hit the streets in 2014. But Spears said the visibility and power of the new brand made customers feel like there were many more vehicles out there. Today, Cornerstone has roughly 56 vehicles in its fleet. Spears said the increased visibility has helped with employee recruitment efforts, too.
During the eight years since this partnership began, the new brand continues to pay dividends, including a 300% boost in revenue. Spears said annual revenue was $3 million before the rebrand and it jumped quickly to $5 million within the first year after introducing the retro brand and new services.
Since 2016, KickCharge has been managing Cornerstone’s highly successful digital marketing campaigns, which include search engine optimization, email marketing and pay-per-click advertising. KickCharge also launched a retro-themed, custom-designed website for this brand.
- 300% growth in annual revenue since rebrand\
- Increase from 5 to 35 service vehicles
Spears’ goal is slow-based growth. As of 2020, the company had more than $12 million in annual revenue and roughly 78 employees. Cornerstone has nearly 2,000 reviews on Google with a 4.8/5 average rating. Its closing ratio is 87 percent even when the team has too much work to tackle same-day appointments.
For Cornerstone, newspaper ads were once a primary driver of leads and Spears relied heavily on print, billboards and home-based advertising as well as some radio spots. These days, digital marketing is the dominant force. Google is the leading source of call volume (80 percent of leads), followed by repeat and referral customers.
“I am now dominating online so I don’t need to spend as much in other marketing areas,” she said.
Digital marketing campaigns offer more control over lead volume because they can be targeted specifically and adjusted instantly based on demand and seasonality. Those are factors Spears likes. It’s also easier to track these campaigns and to evaluate results.
“Although I was reluctant to turn my marketing over to an agency,” Spears said. “I’m glad that I did.”