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Unleashing Your Brand’s Potential: Insights from Dan Antonelli on the Koolers Lifestyle Podcast #42

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00:00:00 Dan Antonelli
You know, branding, it’s a big word. It’s often sort of misused, misunderstood. Yes. I think the easiest way to to think about it is a brand is a collection of all the things that integrate into your marketing channels. And at the center of that integration, like I, I used the analogy of a wheel in the book and center that wheel is your logo. So if you don’t, if you don’t get that piece right, that wheel just can’t turn or it can’t turn efficiently. And you see a lot of companies with poor brands and then they implement that poor brand on all their channels, on their, their social, on their, on their website, their uniforms, their trucks, business cards, websites, brochures, all those things. And that wheel is never round. And and so it doesn’t turn very efficiently and and the downside of that and really what that inefficiency translates into is it just means they need to spend more money on their marketing. So we look at it as. I want our clients to be able to spend the least amount of money possible on their marketing. I want the brand to perform and and function well within that wheel so that it does all the things and needs to do and and you can always overcome poor branding with enough money. And there’s hundreds and thousands of companies that do that every day. You know, some of some huge companies do that. A lot of huge companies do that.

00:01:25 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Welcome to the Kooler Lifestyle Podcast. I’m your host, Matt Kuhlhorn, and I’m excited to have you join me as I interview community members and business leaders from the communities in which I live, work and serve through my business, Kooler Garage Doors. We’re going to bring you highlights on characters in our communities. Why? Because community matters and I want to know more about who is behind our business and leadership in order to understand and support the community fabric that our relationships make up. And collectively, we can build stronger communities that support our lifestyles, our youth and our health. Welcome ladies and gentlemen, to the Kooler Lifestyle Podcast and your host, Matt Eulhorn. Today I have Dan Antonelli, who I’ve hired, who’s become a friend. He is president of Kick Charge Creative, who’s really leading the world in branding home service companies. Dan, how are you?

00:02:24 Dan Antonelli
What’s up, brother? It’s good to see you again.

00:02:26 Matthew Kuehlhorn
It’s good to see you. I’ve got to start this question because I love cycling and I see that. I see the ride behind you. I know you’ve shared this story, but just remind me what is on the wall back there?

00:02:40 Dan Antonelli
On the wall behind me is a 1985 Pinarello Katina Luso, and that’s a bicycle that I bought when I was sixteen, I think. And I had seen that bike in the bike store window when I was probably 15 and I I had gone to the bike shop with my dad and I I said dad, I I really love that bike and I was into cycling at the time, but I was riding probably like a Fuji and a decent Fuji at at that point, but. I was delivering newspapers and I had worked in a deli and I was also working in a bakery. And I said, Dad, I want to get that bike and he’s like, sure, you know, go ahead. And I was like, OK. And that was sort of the end of the conversation. And they said, well, you want to get the bike, you know, work for it, then save your money. And and so I did. And then I I I bought it probably maybe like nine months later. And at that time it was like a. Like a $1600 bicycle in 1985. So that was like a lot of money. I mean, it’s still a decent amount of money now, but it was a lot of money for a for a bicycle. But you know it was at the time. You don’t realize the lesson that’s being taught to you. And I worked always doing stuff when I was younger, so that concept wasn’t that far into me. But and so I bought this bike. I I raced on it for a lot. I did a ton of riding. I took it to college with me. And then I graduated college and kind of sat in my basement for a long time and and I decided probably in in mid 2000s to actually refinish the whole entire bike. So I I sanded it down, resprayed it exactly to the original spec and the bike has a lot of heritage. It’s actually the same same model bicycle that was ridden the in the Olympics and the guy won gold on it. So it’s kind of a really cool story on on that particular bike. And I restored it and then when I got built this office here, I I wanted it here just as a reminder of that that work ethic and the idea of working hard to you know create something and get something that I think it just means so much more when you when you are able to do that and and work hard to to get that. So it’s just kind of a cool visual reminder of of that journey.

00:04:55 Matthew Kuehlhorn
So to speak, beautiful. I love that. Where where did you grow up, Dan?

00:05:00 Dan Antonelli
So I grew up in Staten Island, NY. Originally I was born in Brooklyn, but we, my parents, moved to Staten Island and I went to school there and lived there for 19, no more than 2022 years. And then I got married. Actually, I was young. I got married at 23, and then I moved to New Jersey. And at the time, when I first first got married, I was working in New York City after I graduated college, working as a graphic designer. And then I started actually the my side hustle. And then eventually that grew into a full time job, a full time company.

00:05:33 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Yeah, your side hustle, as I’ve heard it in the past, was painting.

00:05:37 Dan Antonelli
Vehicles. Sign painting? Yeah. Line painting. Sign painting, yeah. So I was doing hand lettering and originally I actually started out as a pinch stripper. So I was actually pinch stripping cars with with paint. And then eventually people would ask you to put some lettering on the back of the truck. So then you started learning how to do lettering. And and I was fortunate to get a job in a sign shop on Staten Island and and and listen honestly like I would have swept the floors like just to be exposed to it just to be in that environment. Like I was obsessed with all things lettering and lettering trucks, like all that stuff. Like I probably did my first truck at 15, I think my first hand painted truck in my parents backyard. I kind of remember doing that. And and so like I I saw that they had a job and I went there and I probably wasn’t good enough to be a a real sign painter but I knew enough on how to do a lot of things with paint and lettering and things like that and and so I worked under this sign painter and he taught me so much about layout and composition and legibility and and a lot of the things that he taught me and this is this is now 35 years or so ago like. His his fingerprints are still evident in the work that we do today. A lot of the lessons I learned and not experience of actually hand painting something on the side of a van and then walking backwards to look at it, make sure making sure it’s legible makes making sure that it communicates what you want properly. A lot of those lessons I really learned at a very, very young age at that point. I was probably 17 at that point working in that sign shop and him and I are actually still. Really really good friends today and he actually came to the opening when we when I opened up this office six years ago and I keep in touch. As a matter of fact in the the new book that I just wrote there’s a section I talked about him and just the gratitude I have for what he taught me and he he was one of those guys too that also just had a very, very high standard as far as what was expected of the level of the work that left that shop okay and and and his expectation was a need to be at the utmost level. Like, at a level that should be good enough to be in a magazine because there’s a couple of sign magazines. And that was like, that was like, if you made it in the sign magazine, then you were like, that was like the goal, right? So he always used to have that standard that he wanted to be so good that it needed to be of that quality. And again, that’s a very good lesson to learn. And that’s something that we, you know, take the heart cheat here today as far as the level of work that we produce.

00:08:11 Luke Hylton
Hey, everybody. This is Luke from Kooler Garage Doors. Just want to take a quick second to talk about our sponsor, Sommar Garage Door Openers. In our opinion, Sommars are the highest quality product on the market today. We recommend them for all of our residential garage door installs because of the variety of features they include such as Wi-Fi connectivity and safety features such as a fixed chain which moves along a secure rail to ensure your garage door opens quietly and safely. Click on the link in the description to learn more about Sommar Garage Door Openers.

00:08:48 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Did you guys make it into a magazine?

00:08:52 Dan Antonelli
We did, yeah. Yeah, we made it to a magazine. And then actually, right when I quit my job, it was really funny. But right when I quit my job that month, I before I quit my job, I had sent them a whole bunch of photos and then they did a whole write up of me. And that was literally like right as I was quitting like I think I was still at the other company and then I was in the magazine with they had a like a four page spread of all my work in there. That was just, that just blew my mind and that actually started. That relationship with that publication and then I went on to write and publish another hundred articles for that publication over the years. Over the last 25 years I’ve been writing for them, they just sadly they just went all digital because they is too expensive to print magazines today and they couldn’t get the support of advertisers. But that led to me writing my first book and then my second book and then they helped me publish my third book. And so like that one little thing also just launched. So many other things. So again, just super grateful that I formed that relationship with the publisher. And him and I again are still really good friends. And it’s just really cool to see how it all started from that one little sending them the photos, you know, like 1 little thing. I sent them the photos and then I got the call. You know, you get the call from them. Hey Dan, we got your stuff. We want to feature you in the magazine and like that just blows your mind. Like at that at that age. Dude, I was young. I was like 20-7 at the time when that happened. So it was pretty cool.

00:10:15 Matthew Kuehlhorn
That’s incredible. What do you think really called you in? Because I’m, I’m hearing that like you just wanted to go into signage and and the sign company, you would have slept, swept floors, done whatever. What was it about that that attracted you into it?

00:10:30 Dan Antonelli
I I think, you know, I think the idea of just seeing your work out in this, out in the world and knowing that you did it, you know, So I I used to just think that that was such a cool thing. To see that van that we had lettered like passed by in the highway like I did that and so there was there’s this sense of pride that you get from just you know knowing that you created something and and and then beginning was it was it was about that part of it. But I think later on it really became more so not just the fact that our work and our fingerprints are are in the DNA of so many companies which is also a really, really cool thing. But the idea of how our work also affects the lives of the people who who hire us. And so you know you have the cool factor of hey like I see the van and and you know we don’t really actually get to see too much of our work honestly because our work is national. And and so it’s it’s actually a kind of a neat thing to see it local because it’s rare because it’s we don’t really have a ton of clients near us. But the idea that that you know we’re doing these creating these brands for these companies and then that really. Is affecting their culture, their, their. I mean it affects so many things, but it’s all in such a positive experience and we’re all really proud of of that and and also that responsibility. You know, it is really something that we take to heart like it’s it’s a big deal like somebody’s trusting us with their livelihood and and respecting how important that is and then knowing again if we do our job properly. How it’s going to really change not only the lives of the owners but also the employees and and you know, how it affects culture. Like you’ve gone through the experience. You’ve seen kind of what it what it can do. But you know, just I, I think the other thing too, I want to say too that like I feel like I was really, really blessed at such a young age to actually know what I wanted to do, you know, and have a sense of what I wanted to do. I mean I was 15 years old and I was lettering trucks. You know, you think of most 15 year olds. Like my daughter is 15 years old and I wish sometimes she had a better sense of maybe what she wanted to do. I know sometimes that’s just not realistic. You don’t really know. But I I feel like, man, I was so passionate about lettering. Like I would come home from high school dude and and I was lettering alphabets on on on an old trunk. Like that’s literally what I do. My friends like, oh, let’s go out, let’s hang out. And I’m like no, no, no, I’m just going to go home. I’m going to let her some alphabet. You know, and like, what are you doing? I’m like why I need to really be good at doing some script lettering and I got to practice, you know and and so like I I knew at that point like I was I was kind of obsessed with it. I mean like you know and I think to this even to this day like driving around and and I’ll see a truck and maybe it’s executed poorly and you know looking at it critiquing it And I and I think, you know that’s never really left. Or even appreciating something that’s done well too, Like you see something done well and I would like they killed it on that, you know? So I think that’s really cool when you know that early on that you’re passionate about something and then you can just chase that and you know what you’re chasing.

00:13:41 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Yeah, refine the craft. I mean, it takes some time and it’s beautiful. How? What would be your definition? How do you define branding?

00:13:51 Dan Antonelli
So, you know, branding, it’s a big word. It’s often sort of misused misunderstood. Yes. I think the easiest way to to think about it is a brand is a collection of all the things that integrate into your marketing channels And at the center of that integration like I I use the analogy of a wheel in the book and center of that wheel is your logo. So if you don’t if you don’t get that piece right that wheel just can’t turn or it can’t turn efficiently and. You see a lot of companies with poor brands and then they implement that poor brand on all their channels, on their, their social, on their, on their website, their uniforms, their trucks, business cards, websites, brochures, all those things. And that wheel is never round And and so it doesn’t turn very efficiently and and the downside of that and really what that inefficiency translates into is it just means they need to spend more money on their marketing. So we look at it as. I want our clients to be able to spend the least amount of money possible on their marketing. I want the brand to perform and and function well within that wheel so that it does all the things and needs to do and and you can always overcome poor branding with enough money. And there’s hundreds and thousands of companies that do that every day. You know some, some huge companies do that. A lot of huge companies do that. And when they talk about numbers and they talk about percentage of ad spends and things like that and you heal people, throw out numbers like you need to spend 10% of revenue on advertising or 12% if you want to grow and all these numbers and in our experience like we, we don’t see that being true for well branded companies. You know we see a lot of growth for companies that are less than 5% of the ad spend. And they’re continuing to grow and do really well and and mainly because the branding is functioning the way the way we wanted to, like the trucks are very effective and it’s sticking the consumers minds and they’re not needing to spend a ton on pay per click because people just Google their name. Like that’s all part of the mix. But if you have a, you have a brand and that blends in that no one’s going to remember. Well, now when someone goes to Google, yeah, you’ve got to fight to get on top of that list so that they click on your ad. Wouldn’t it be better if they just knew your name already, you know, and they just typed it in like that’s so much better. So you see a lot as far as ROI as it relates to digital marketing, especially where you know, just better branded companies are going to perform so much better online in their overall marketing strategy because people are just Googling their name. You know, I bet you you probably saw a spike in branded searches subsequent to the rebrand. And, you know, you were kind of living in that white van syndrome that we call it, right? Where you had kind of a white van with some black lettering and stuff. And it wasn’t very disruptive and and wasn’t also delivering sort of the promise of who Kooler is. But now people look at that van like if that van is parked on my neighbor’s driveway, I know that they’re getting like. A kick ass door from you. Like I already believe that there’s something amazing that you guys are are providing And so you know, you see things like you know, obviously you know too like how it affects average tickets, like how do you, how can you command higher premium dollars for your work if the brand doesn’t present itself as a premium company, right. So that’s kind of the fundamentals and basics behind it too, but. Just being able to get more work, more money for your work, with a better brand is also a big part of why the brand is so critical.

00:17:27 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Yeah, it really is amazingly powerful. And I thought I had known a little bit about branding before I met you. And you’ve taken it. Like, you go deep on this stuff. I mean, for the listeners, Daniel said. He’s been doing this since he’s like he was a kid, like, this is what you did for fun. And it and it’s amazing and and that just goes into multiple, multiple layers for those that don’t know my story with Kooler, like the Kooler initial brand, I don’t even want to show it to Dan because it was horrible but it was a $5 fiver logo and it worked. Okay. However the brand that we have now thanks to Dan and his team, it is a massively powerful. And what you mentioned there, Dan, as far as having that brand recognition is really important. I know if I go into any kind of market and whether it’s looking at garage doors or HVAC or anything really, if there’s not a leading brand, I know that there’s an opportunity because a disruptive brand can come in there and grab that really the share of people’s minds, right, because you had mentioned having it sticky in somebody’s mind and if somebody sees. The Kooler Garage Doors logo, for an example, they know it’s a garage door company and they know Kooler and it’s already communicating some of that experience that they’re going to gain out of that.

00:18:57 Dan Antonelli
Yeah, Yeah. And that’s the other way to look at it too. Like you said, communicating that experience. And it’s the idea of communicating that experience before you even get the opportunity to serve them. So if I can control the way the consumer believes. Your company to be and the service that you provide, that’s really ultimately what a good brand is trying to do. So you ring that doorbell and Mrs. Jones already has an expectation as to what type of company she’s contacted and she’s formed that impression. By repetition of your brand in her world, in her in her environment, seeing it on the truck. Then she went to the website after she saw it on the truck because she googled Kooler garage. And then she saw the website and she formed an impression there as well. Then she called you, and the way in which the CSR answered the phone contributed to that impression. Now she’s got the sum of all these impressions, and now the van rolls up her driveway and and the tech rings the doorbell and he’s branded in a beautiful shirt that’s embroidered with a hat. Does she think at that point that you’re going to be the least expensive company that come to her door? Does she think that you’re going to not be professional in every single way in which you perform service for her home? Again, so every, every single touch point? Is delivering that brand promise to her. And again, that’s all we’re trying to do is is have her believe that the experience she’s going to get is going to be at such a high level that maybe all those other people that she called for estimates, she knows she’s she can’t get the same thing from them. She’s not going to get the same experience from them. And so she’s willing to pay a little bit more for that service and that experience because. It’s a premium brand. It’s the same reason why, you know, people pay a little bit more for a a Mac than they will for a PC. Why? Well, I believe it’s a better product, but why do you believe it’s a better product? I mean it’s a, it’s a sum of all different things for them to believe that. But those are all factor in. Is it reality? Well, I mean I’m a Mac person, so I’ll say, yeah, it’s a reality because I really like Apple products. But have I be conditioned to believe that because of that? Well, partly, but also it’s been my experience, you know. But I think the other thing too is mad like once you finish right, once you guys are done and you they’ve got that beautiful garage that you just finished. Like that promise of that brand is infused in her now and and when her neighbor says to her, hey I love that beautiful garage door, where do you get like she’s just going to be talking and talking and talking about how amazing that experience was with with your company? And and then so like you build on that. And that’s really again, just when you know that you create these super fans because of the experience. But if you have, you know, a white band and a magnetic sign on the side of it, I’m not sure you can create too many super fans. Like maybe, maybe after you get there you can wow them over. But I’m trying to control everything that happens before you even get there.

00:22:02 Matthew Kuehlhorn

00:22:02 Dan Antonelli
If that makes sense.

00:22:04 Matthew Kuehlhorn
It does. It does make sense and I want to add to that. And then I want to extract some pieces out of your book and and see if we can get any practicality to this. Because you have a a very dialed process in extracting some of the the mission, the values, the why, the purpose, all the all the pieces that really form a company. And what I’m hearing you say is it is the collective. And it could be, it could be led and also foundationalized by the brand in a person’s experience of that delivery. What I found really fascinating, again, I thought I knew about branding and brands because I just love the research and I and I went back like I’m in cow country, right. So I go back historically and the brand is like on the back of a cow and there’s a lot of art in. And rhythm to how those brands are formed and there’s a lot of beautiful components that we can still extract into today’s digital world. Even what I found most surprising that I did not expect was how the brand impacted our internal culture. I always thought it was an outward expression, but what I recognized was that everybody on my team like adopted this new identity and and rose to the challenge with the level up. Of an extremely powerful brand? Yeah, do.

00:23:30 Dan Antonelli
You see that? I think that’s that’s sort of one of those intangibles that people don’t really understand until after they’ve experienced it. But then they see how it has affected culture in such a positive way. And it’s it’s kind of funny because people don’t come to us and say, damn, we want you to create a new brand because we want to improve our culture. They don’t, they don’t say that. They say we want you to create a brand because we want you know a kick ass truck wrap from you or or we want to have the website look so much better, you know and then they go through the experience and they’re like Oh my God, like the employees are so excited about this new brand like the employees want to wear our swag. Now the employees are stoked to get the new van with the new wrap design on it And and and they they understand even from a recruitment perspective because that’s a big challenge right. The idea of well. Well, how do we retain and attract the best employees? And a lot of times you see people that are struggling with that, owners that are struggling with that. And if you were to judge them by what they’re putting out in terms of messages and in even experiences, you can say this doesn’t really even look like a place I would want to work at, right? So. So the idea of how branding affects culture, how it affects even recruitment. Is another aspect that most owners don’t realize until going through the process subsequently.

00:24:54 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Yeah, Yeah, I’d agree with that. For the potential business owner that’s listening right now, Dan, I mean I would easily recommend them to call you and your team and and hire you guys in lieu of that. What are some practical pieces that business owners can start utilizing kind of in the immediate time frame or or short term time frame, like how does somebody take? Maybe a branded brand and infuse it incrementally or a little bit or is it just go all in well?

00:25:29 Dan Antonelli
In an ideal world, you you try to invest in branding as early as you possibly can and as early as feasible, because the longer you wait, the more expensive it gets to do, and it’s not just the expense of redoing things. It’s also the expense of missed opportunities that you may not be able to get because of what you’re fighting against and and the additional cost of marketing your company because the brand isn’t functioning the way. In the absence of that, like just try to think about the fundamentals, try to think about well, how can we use color to our advantages is one thing, right? How can we develop unique colors in our market? So maybe. Maybe we can use a wrap design that uses colors that no one in our market is using. At the very least, I can start building the idea that those colors represent my brand only. That’s one of the reasons why. You know, we talk a lot about avoiding colors that are very common, especially common in a specific industry. So you know, if you’re a heating and air conditioning company, don’t use red, white and blue because not only is it way too common in that particular industry, it’s obviously associated with Americana. As well. So I can’t expect that consumer to see red, white and blue and think about me only, right. So we try to think of picking colors that are sort of outside the norm, even your colors are not necessarily very, I want to say normal colors like it’s not like you see those colors all the time all over the place, but now when you see those colors or you see your van coming up, you know that’s a Kooler van because there isn’t anything in your market that looks anything remotely like it, right. So if you can, you know, just think about. Aspects like that where you can build some disruption in your marketplace with colors and approaches that feel different than what everyone else is doing. A lot of people want to go to sort of where it’s very, very comfortable for them when they think about branding and like you could you could Google garage doors, garage door logos and you’re going to see a lot of logos that look almost exactly the same, right. So. So the idea of is thinking about what feels different so that. The consumer may actually remember it because it’s different, you know and you know it’s the same for HVAC whether it’s a red and blue arrow or sun and snowflake. Like why would anyone remember that unique to you when there’s ten other companies using the same colors and the same clip art, you know, so we’re just trying to think about ways in which we can build the idea of of a sticky brand for that consumer, so. Think about it from that perspective is do the best you can to try to think about doing something that feels very different. And sometimes that takes a little bit of guts because everyone else is doing it this way. Why would I think doing it the complete opposite makes any sense, right? So it takes some guts because it’s not your natural inclination. Your natural inclination is to do what everyone else is doing. You know, like when everyone else is sort of zigging and now you’re saying I’m going to zag and go completely in the opposite? That’s scary, right, Because it doesn’t feel normal, But that’s really what we found has worked very well. That idea of disruption is sometimes very uncomfortable for for an owner because they want to revert back to what’s very safe but safe branding yield safe results like that’s that’s sort of the way it works.

00:28:50 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Yeah, not only safe, but like in. In my experience, when we went through this process, your team and you presented a number of different options and we had a little bit back and forth. And I remember feeling hesitation and I think ultimately was a little bit of fear and ignorance. And what you’re mentioning is disruption. Like you definitely helped push me into the direction where we’re at now. And I love it. But in the moment I was like, oh man, this is. This is uncomfortable. Like it’s so different. It’s uncomfortable how do people, how do people move through that? I mean, I think your team is is great and likely maybe it’s more common than I think where you guys are just kind of nudging a disruptive brand into into reality with a resistant owner, right. But for somebody that’s so low in trying to navigate being disruption like as a challenge.

00:29:49 Dan Antonelli
It’s it’s definitely a challenge. I mean somebody once said that that you know Dan’s a brand therapist because you know there’s a fine line with listening to a client who’s who’s pushing back on something and being able to defend creative and the logic behind what you’re recommending to them And and you walk a fine line and and sometimes it’s really, really hard. It’s probably the hardest thing about what we do because you have to you have to balance. That right. Because like, if I push back super hard on you, like maybe that would have turned you off. Maybe that would have, you know, made you feel like I wasn’t listening to what you were telling me, your objections. But I’ll have clients come to us with objections and then I just do the best I can to sort of address them one by one. It’s not that I’m trying to be difficult and I’m not, not that I’m not listening to sort of what their objections are, but I have to guide them through that process. And I have to say This is why this will work. This is why what you’re asking me to do isn’t in your best interest. And and that’s that’s a tough thing. Like I I, you know sometimes that happens where a client wants us to do something that is not in their best interest. And I find that really, really the most challenging part of what we do because at the end of the day like our our, you know, our mission and our purpose is to have your back and sometimes having your back is is telling you things that you don’t want to hear. And it’s sort of trying to do it in a way that that they understand that piece of it and just don’t think that you’re being tough to work with or anything. So it’s such a hard balance sometimes you know for the most part a lot of clients trust us, they trust the process and we don’t, we don’t really have like I call them failures, right. So that that’s when you can’t arrive at a successful conclusion to a project and and I would say. You know, during the course of a year, it’ll be one out of 100. Let’s just say that we, we can’t arrive at A at a conclusion. And that’s really frustrating for us because, you know, sometimes you feel like, well, why, why did you actually hire us then? You know, like if you’re the expert on branding. Then you should just sit behind someone at a computer screen and tell them exactly what you want from your logo. Because then I’m not adding any value. Like I don’t add any value. If you come to me and you say, Dan, I want a logo and I want it to look exactly like this. Use this font and like I’m not adding any value that just go to a graphic designer and sit behind them and tell them exactly what you want to do. So we do the best we can. I think the other piece of that question though is remembering and recognizing that you as the owner. Are not the specific demographic that I’m most interested in pleasing, right? And that’s a hard thing too, for people too, because they’re like, well, I want to love my logo. And of course it would be foolish to have my clients not want to love their logo. But I want them to understand that the primary objective is to have the demographics that’s most important to the success of your business. I want them to love their logo. I guarantee you, if they love their logo. Love the logo and they’re buying a ton of stuff and your business is exploding. You’ll start loving that logo a hell of a lot more. But just recognize that it’s not really 100% about what you personally like. It’s about really who that audience is. And for home service companies, you know, 80% of the the buyer is going to be a female. It’s going to be a woman. So just recognizing that, you know, the the things we talked about in the book, like don’t use aggressive mascots, don’t have a guy that’s looking like he’s going to beat the heck out of you. When he shows up at your door, like they’re already worried about who’s coming to their home, why, why are we adding to their apprehension, right. So just thinking along the lines of that, but it is, it is such a hard balance. It’s it’s the hardest part of what we do. There’s so much, there’s so much to unpack. When you rebrand a company that’s been using a logo for a really long time, you know, like you probably liked your logo for a pretty long time and then you know, we started talking and. Talked about why it probably didn’t work and maybe that was hard to hear for you. But you know, on the flip side of it, I would probably say that you probably think to yourself, man, I should have done this a lot sooner. I should have done this a long time ago. And I think we hear that very often. Like after they go through the experience, it’s never like, Oh my God, I can’t believe we did this. It’s always, Oh my God, why did we wait to do this, which is the other part of the equation?

00:34:23 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Yeah, what’s so funny about the the experience for me? And I just laugh at myself because I literally thought I knew something about branding at one point in time. And then I was like. Wow. Man, yeah, I made this Dan guy and now I know nothing about branding and it’s awesome. And I think that might be some of the hurdle for a business owner like we throw down on our baby businesses. And. We gobble up information and try to learn the best we can, but we’re also. I got to recognize like I was learning about branding and garage doors and training and leadership and all these financial literacy, all these minutia pieces, and so I really didn’t have time to learn anything.

00:35:04 Dan Antonelli
Yeah, well, but I thought.

00:35:05 Matthew Kuehlhorn
I did and.

00:35:07 Dan Antonelli
You know and and I think when we did yours too like I remember like initially I don’t know that you really loved it. I I feel like you didn’t initially and then I remember we we had a meeting after and I feel like you had like a whiteboard behind you or something like that and and. You you were pointing out things on the whiteboard and and and then you know again we just tried to tackle some of the things you had concerned with as as best we could. And I and I remember one of my illustrators, Jeff, who who worked on on your branding, wrote an e-mail to you. And Jeff has sometimes a better way with words than I do. And I felt like he explained it really well, where where sometimes like that’s I probably don’t have quite as much eloquence as he does because I see it. I’m like. How could you not like this? This thing is freaking amazing right? But he’ll he’ll spell it out a little bit more eloquently about why you should like it and it’ll make a little bit more sense sometimes. But you know he, he, Jeff actually is a is a is a designer that’s been with me for almost 20 years at this point. So him and I are very, very In Sync on on on how we do this. So it’s it’s really awesome working with him.

00:36:13 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Yeah, it’s so amazing and you’re right. I’d like I did have some hesitation ultimately in that mix, like we had a little color Swatch mix up and these colors came together and I was like that’s.

00:36:26 Dan Antonelli
Good. Yeah, but.

00:36:26 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Was it was it Jeff that actually did the Kooler because that’s a handset?

00:36:30 Dan Antonelli
Correct. Yeah. Yeah. So Jeff hand hand drew and hand built basically the lettering for Kooler. So that is not a font. That’s not something that we spit out of a computer. It’s actually built from scratch. And actually Jeff’s history and heritage, his dad is probably one of my idols growing up as a sign painter. His dad was a sign painter. So the irony is that originally Jeff, his name is his dad’s name is Jeff too. So Jeff Senior had told Jeff Junior to contact me to do a website for his sign company and it’s again, this is probably in 2000 maybe or or maybe 2000. Two or something like that. And at the time, like, we were designing logos and I’m not an illustrator, like, so I can’t draw a face or or or picture or something. I’m really good with words and lettering, but not so much drawing things. And so, you know, he was asking about the website and then I was seeing his work. I’m like, wow, you do such cool mascots. It’s such cool illustrations. Like, what about if I did all the lettering and then I just drew a space where I needed to drop a mascot in? Like, could you do that for me? And that’s literally how we started working together is I would do all the lettering. And I’m like, give me a mascot that’s like he’s kind of doing this and I would sort of describe what I want and then he would sketch it up. And then that’s that’s really ultimately how how we started working together. So it’s kind of kind of just cool again, just that connection to how we we met originally, it’s kind of funny.

00:37:56 Matthew Kuehlhorn
I love that, Dan. Where can listeners, business owners, grab your book. Learn about you.

00:38:03 Dan Antonelli
Sure, you could get the book on Amazon if you would like, or you could also get it from our website on If you buy it from me, it’s actually a little bit less expensive and I’ll autograph it too. It’ll be worth hundreds as soon as I die. So you know, it’s super cool. And if you want to learn about Kickcharge, you could go to and you could check out some of our work there.

00:38:32 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Awesome. Awesome. We’ll include all those in our show notes, make sure that listeners you can find Dan and and his company stellar work and I really have to like again emphasize kind of what I heard initially and you alluded to it in our conversation, but the why, I mean a strong brand changes lives without a doubt.

00:38:57 Dan Antonelli
100%, yeah. And we do it every day. And that’s what’s still so cool about coming here every day is that’s what we do. So it’s it’s a really cool thing to be able to do.

00:39:08 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Yeah, I love the continuum of this thread, where this found you early in life and you locked in and have only been crafting the trade ever since. And man, I really appreciate our relationship. I appreciate the fact that you guys put together there’s such a stellar brand for Kooler. And now we’re taking this into new markets and I’m just seeing the electrification being amplified. It’s amazing. So I’ll have some real results to post out to you in a little bit of time here and I’m excited to share them.

00:39:43 Dan Antonelli
Awesome. Well, I appreciate the opportunity you gave us to work on it. You know, it’s a big responsibility, but I’m grateful for that opportunity for sure.

00:39:52 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Yeah. Well, Dan, you and I are going to get out on a bike ride at some point. We’ll we’ll meet in the middle or you can come to the mountains, I’ll go to the east, but we’ll make that happen. I really appreciate our conversation today. Thank you so much.

00:40:05 Dan Antonelli
All right. Thanks for having me on that. Take care, brother.

00:40:07 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Yeah, you too. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for listening to the Kooler Lifestyle Podcast. We count on your subscriptions, your likes, your shares, and I encourage you to do that. Now, if you’re watching on YouTube, go ahead and subscribe lower right hand button. If you’re on audio, download this, share it, and we look forward to having you on the next one.