Property owners are interested in keeping customers, lowering risk and providing reasons to increase rent. A terrible incident at a building, such as a shooting, a fire or explosion will result in people remembering an address for that event. When brokers start explaining to landlords that they have to lower their rents to accommodate a fear factor, that’s when a building owner or manager calls his security expert. But that’s too late.
Incidents and actions can destroy and build brands: “Oh yeah 310 Main Street, the one with the well-lit parking lot; I wish my building understood it was scary to walk to the car at night.” “What about 222 White Street, where that guy came in and stole everyone’s computers? I can’t believe the guards didn’t catch that the guy. I heard he pretended to be a repairman.”
Positive brand recognition generates value. That’s why corporations place logos on race cars, stadium walls and all their products. As an integrator, we should be offering our customers that same opportunity. Place your customer’s logo or address on every visitor management system and every badge. If you are not familiar already with white-labeling, it is the idea of buying a product that allows a customer to brand it themselves.
Brands set expectations and generate lasting impressions. The cornerstone of building a brand is delivering a consistent message. To accomplish this in property management, the building and security staff, equipment and integrated products must perform at a consistent standard to support the brand.
While so many security integrators are focused on selling an installation, the real opportunity is to work with the property client to deliver their “brand” of management of security. The process of installing a system and the constant re-bidding of support is flawed. Lack of consistency in delivery of service is destructive to any brand; even when the brand is in fact simply an address.
Smart building owners are getting these truths faster than their security counterparts. Security integrators are so focused on the installation that support is an afterthought. The opportunity lies with certain software products for integrators to deliver a holistic branded approach to their clients so that the integrator’s control is more valuable than providing a generic support solution. By branding the service for the client, that the property management or owner can deliver to his clients; that not only builds your client’s brand, it allows you the entry to build a database on your client that will ultimately provide them with more than they ever thought they were buying.
Are you communicating to your clients that you care about safety and security and are you doing the same with your service providers? The interesting thing about service providers is they work with a lot of buildings, and they know the difference. They are also telling their customers what is going on and how they should feel about the building, the security or the lack thereof.
Moving from being an integrator to being a partner in developing the property brand makes each integrator irreplaceable. More importantly, it is the foundation of developing a long term relationship that will result in recurring revenue.
Frank Santamorena, PSP is the president of Security Experts Consulting & Design LLC, located in Rhinebeck, N.Y.; www.Security-Experts.us