Vehicle Graphics Build Company Identity

Award-winning vinyl-wrap design on Nevada plumber’s trucks underscores the high-flying power of effective branding.
Vehicle Graphics Build Company Identity
Straight Up Plumbing owner Mark Treglia understood the value of creating a strong brand identity when he hired an advertising agency to design the wraps for his service vehicles. He says the wraps generate 10 percent of his company’s service calls.

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When Mark Treglia decided to take off and form Straight Up Plumbing in 2014, he knew breaking into the competitive market in Nevada’s Reno-Sparks metro area would require a fresh, bold branding statement.

The U.S. Navy veteran achieved just that by hiring a New Jersey marketing firm that came up with an eye-catching vinyl-wrap design: a retro-looking airplane that, upon closer examination, is actually a water faucet, with hot and cold handles serving as the propellers.

“I wanted to make a statement — be different,” says Treglia, who owns the company with his wife, Jerilyn. The company’s primary focus is service and installation for residential and light-commercial markets. “Most of the local plumbing trucks have simple and homemade lettering and we didn’t want to enter the market like that. We wanted something bright, bold and fresh.”

As they say in the military, mission accomplished. The airplane graphic works on several levels; it’s not only memorable, Treglia points out, but it also meshes perfectly with the company name. Moreover, the retro-looking airplane reflects his desire to provide old-school service aimed at changing the public’s often-negative perception of plumbers.

“We want to bring back the kind of service people got in the 1950s ­— when you shook hands with customers and served their needs, not the contractor’s wants,” he explains. “Companies get so caught up in sales these days that they forget what the customer is asking for. That’s why we decided to call our company Straight Up Plumbing. There’s no baloney. We’re not going to sell people something they don’t need.”

The vinyl wraps adorn both the company’s 2006 Ford E-350, which carries a 10-foot Spartan box body made by Supreme Corporation, and a 2001 Workhorse step van, featuring a cargo body made by Union City Body. Graphic D-Signs, an advertising and marketing agency that specializes in small-business clients, designed the wraps. The Straight Up Plumbing wrap won an award in 2015 at the NJ Ad Club’s 47th Annual Jersey Awards Show.

Creating a strong brand identity for a new company does not come cheap. Treglia says he made an investment of just less than $10,000 to have Graphic D-Signs develop a branding package that included the logo, wrap design and business cards. The result? An integrated marketing campaign centered on the airplane logo and a short-and-sweet motto that reflects Treglia’s aspirations: “Where service meets integrity.” The company’s research even delved into what colors appeal most to both male and female baby boomers. The findings: Aqua blue appeals to women, red and black to men. “Who would’ve thought that combination would work?” Treglia says. “But it does.”

A local company, Grafics Unlimited, printed and installed the vinyl wraps. That cost another $8,500. Total investment: roughly $17,000. But Treglia, who was trained to be a plumber in the Navy and worked for another contractor before striking out on his own, says it was worth every penny. “I was scared to cough up the initial investment,” he admits. “But I decided to do it after I read a book written by the owner of Graphic D-Signs, Dan Antonelli (Building a Big Small Business Brand).

In the end, I would say the wraps have paid for themselves. It’s hard to quantify that kind of return on investment, but it definitely was worthwhile.”

How worthwhile? Treglia estimates that about 10 percent of the company’s total service calls, which average about 45 a month, are a direct result of the highly visible trucks. (Customers are always asked where they heard about the company.)

“That’s not only huge, it’s pretty remarkable,” he says. “Customers say they’ve never seen anything like our trucks — they say they love the retro look. We’ve been delightfully surprised at their reactions.”

What would Treglia tell other plumbers who’d like to develop a better company image but are hesitant to invest a chunk of money in a new logo and vinyl wraps? “I’d say, ‘Thank you,’ because they’re giving me more business,” he quips. “They’re just shooting themselves in the foot. You can’t expect customers to pay you as a professional if you don’t project a professional image with things like nice-looking trucks, uniforms and business cards,” Treglia says. “Without all that, you’re just a Chuck in a truck.”

Ironically enough, the airplane design was Treglia’s least favorite out of four options presented. “My mind was stuck on a little guy — a mascot holding a grip wrench,” he laughs. “But I took a leap of faith on their recommendation and I’ve never regretted it. We went the extra mile to make sure our trucks make a statement and disrupt the market. And I think we’re on our way.”


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