Billy the Exterminator is a Branding Genius

Ok, maybe it’s his publicist, or his image consultants, or maybe it’s really him.  The point here is that his brand is rock solid and there’s a lot to be learned from it.

Don’t hate. I watch it. My 8 year old son found the show via Netflix, lured his little sister into the madness and then one by one, we’ve all become devoted fans, consuming each and every season that is available to us via our streaming plan.

If you aren’t familiar with Billy, take a moment and check out this link.  Go on. You’ll find a very charming, disarmingly intelligent  pest control specialist, along with his brother, Ricky, his mother Donnie and his father, Big Bill.  Together, they make up the Vex Con team.  

In this A&E reality show about pest control, folks in the Shreveport, Louisiana area call on Vex Con, namely Billy, to get rid of the pest or rodent of the moment.  Billy most always does it using natural methods and if possible, without causing fatal harm to the animal.  In other words, he wrangles, wrestles and relocates.  These rodents can be anything from skunks, gators, snakes and rats, to the ever present stinging bee, wasp, hornet or yellow jacket.

What Just Happened?

My husband and I are puzzled, each and every time we get sucked into it.  But sucked in we are.  And you know what? It’s good stuff.

From a marketing perspective, I am in awe.   His brand is tight.  I think we’ve made it through 2 seasons now and can say that Billy, with his hair, his studded, black leather ensembles and the Vex Con skull and cross bones logo, is always instantly recognizable. His trademark hair cut, which I’ve heard he does himself, has only slight variations, but is most notably spiky, bleached blonde and very much “rock star.”  He usually wears a black ‘Kid Rock’ style hat, skinny dark sunglasses, studded black boots, and depending on the season in south Louisiana, may wear a Matrix type coat, long and bad ass.

What’s perhaps even more important than his clothing and his hair is that he is always on his A-game in each and every episode.  He’s knowledgeable, humane and kind to the clients, and to the animals.  And while his rock star image doesn’t match his insanely sweet, caring personality; it’s exactly the reason why we all (from my three year old to my 46 year old) keep coming back for more.

He’s a walking contradiction and a pleasant surprise.  It’s his legitimate knowledge (he’s a Certified Master in Pest Control from LSU and studied advanced entomology at Purdue University), combined with his endearing qualities (the catch and release approach, combined with his ever present concern for small children) that make his brand stick.

What’s Makes a Brand?

If you ask marketers and PR Pros to define what a brand really means, you might get 10 different definitions.  The American Marketing Association defines a brand as a “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.”

Thinking in terms of your personal brand, whether it’s Billy the Exterminator or Erica Allison, there are specific qualities that our target markets expect and in doing so, further solidify our brand.  Here are a few:

  1. We need to be interesting.
  2. We must also provide value.
  3. We need to be relatable, and on some levels, better than expected.
  4. We must be credible and knowledgeable in our field.
  5. And while we may change and adapt over time, at our very core, we remain CONSISTENT in delivering all of the above.

When we cease to deliver on those qualities, that’s when our brand begins to falter and lose its footing in the market.  When we stop listening to our target audience, that’s when they find a new brand all together.

Think about your business and your brand.  Are you delivering on these qualities? Have you noticed lost traction in the market when you fail to do so? What did you do to recover?

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