Grit Nation - The Building Trades Podcast

Brand Recognition - Frank Doolittle Company

May 02, 2021 Season 2 Episode 37
Grit Nation - The Building Trades Podcast
Brand Recognition - Frank Doolittle Company
Show Notes Transcript

Brand recognition is hugely important in developing trust and allegiance to products, teams, and organizations. 

Brand logos can offer visual markers, that trigger emotional responses buried deep in our subconscious. 

Advertising agencies understand this and literally capitalize on our inherent desire to identify with merchandise, services or even other like-minded individuals who sport the same brand. 

Don’t believe me? 

Try this, close your eyes, unless you’re driving that is, and picture what first comes to mind when I say the word…. McDonalds. 

Well, if your anything like me you see the golden arches. 

How about Nike? See that iconic swoosh? 

Yep, me too.

Now try… Target. There it is, the red bullseye. The name is, literally the logo.

This mental imagery can greatly influence your decisions and emotions and is the reason savvy organizations from sports teams to corporations put so much emphasis on getting the right look for their logo.

For unions curating brand recognition in the form of t-shirt’s, hats and stickers can pay off in many ways including member pride, solidarity, and allegiance.

This is especially important for unions because our ability to identify with and gather strength from our fellow brother and sister carpenters is crucial for our ability to grow and prosper.

On todays show I’ll be talking with Greg Mooseker from the Frank Doolittle Company, based in Bellevue, Washington. 

Frank Doolittle has been in the business of providing Union and USA made products with custom designs to organizations across America and Canada for over 30 years.

In this episode you will hear what goes into the design and manufacturing of brand worthy logos and how the Union employees of this NW business go above and beyond to meet their customers’ expectations.

The Show Notes

The Frank Doolittle Company

NW Carpenters Union

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Bob Eisner:

I think the most important thing in terms of maximizing brand value or managing a brand is first to completely understand the essence of the brand. And then after you determine exactly what those are, adhere to them, really in a very committed way. Make sure that every time that brand name is used on a product or on whatever it is that basically the brand is being applied to that those attributes exist in that product. That's very, very important.

Joe Cadwell:

That's Bob Eisner speaking former CEO of Disney, you might say he knows a thing or two about the importance of reputation and staying true to your brand. brand recognition is hugely important in developing trust and allegiance to products, teams and organizations. Brand logos can offer visual markers that trigger emotional responses very deep in our subconscious. advertising agencies understand this and literally capitalize on our inherent desire to identify with merchandise services, or even other like minded individuals who support the same brand. Don't believe me? Try this. Close your eyes. Unless you're driving that is it picture what first comes to your mind when I say the word McDonald's? Well, if you're anything like me, you see the Golden Arches about Nike. See that iconic swoosh? Yep, me too. Now try target. There it is the red bullseye. The name is literally logo. This mental imagery can greatly influence your decisions and emotions and is the reason savvy organizations from sports teams to corporations put so much emphasis on getting the right look for their logo. Or unions curating brand recognition in the form of T shirts, hats and stickers can pay off in many ways, including member pride, solidarity and allegiance. This is especially important for unions because our ability to identify and gather strength from our fellow brother and sister carpenters is crucial for our ability to grow and prosper. Hi, I'm Joe Cadwell, President of the Northwest carpenters union, and this is Grit Northwest. On today's show. We'll be talking with Greg musiker. From the Frank Doolittle company based in Bellevue Washington. Frank Doolittle has been in the business of providing union and us made products with customers designs to organizations across America and Canada for over 30 years. This episode, you'll hear what goes into the design and manufacturing a brand where the logos and how the union employees of this Northwest business go above and beyond to meet their customers expectations. It started off our conversation by asking Greg exactly what the Frank Doolittle company does.

Greg Mooseker:

We supply union merchandise made in the country, preferably union made from the design process, all you know all the way through to you know delivering it to you. Okay, and as I understand Frank Doolittle company is a member of the local 1094 which is part of the IU pa T and for our listeners who aren't familiar with the IU pa t who is that again, that's the International Union of painters and allied trades. We're obviously not painters were one of the Allied trades. 1094 is a large local Oregon and Washington that has, you know, track painters sign painters, a lot of other kind of miscellaneous trades and including graphic artists, which is primarily while we're there. But all of our employees are members of local 1094 from the bookkeeper to myself, to the graphic artists, anybody that's working there as a member of 1094. When people think about buying union, I've often heard of the Union bug, what can you tell me and the listeners about the union bug, the overall word union bog just means a union logo. And it's come to me the union logo that is used to show that a product or a decoration is union may that it's been done by union workers. Most unions have their own specific design that's used as a union bug. made so that the wording on it can clearly show the purchaser that this item is union made. You'll see it on the tags of shirts, and bags and things like that. You also see it on a on a screen print, whether that's on aletterhead or a T shirt. You'll see it printed on that particular design. Our artists actually have a really fun time trying to include the bug into the artwork sometimes sometimes it's kinda like where's the Waldo thing you try to find where it is because it can sometimes break out the design. So It, it doesn't look good. So you try to put it in there in the in a color that works. So that becomes part of the design can be kind of fun, especially on stickers. Yeah, adding those easter eggs I imagine that's a pretty good challenge for your, for your artist, your graphic designers and these folks, how did they get their job? How big is your graphic design team? Oh, we have two artists that are on staff and that's what they do all day is just design things. They also are creating new designs so that we can have some ideas for people on the website, and all our marketing materials and all that kind of stuff. So that's what they do all day. They're been doing it for years. The new guy, it's been there I can't remember how long it's been but it's at least you know, 12 or 13 years. And the the the other one is the only one the shop that has seniority over me then they're 20 years dajia And just a quick look online in prepping for our interview. I noticed that you know Frank do little company has apparel, in shirts, sweatshirts, bandanas, non apparel, things from auto accessories, bags, awards, drink, where I noticed you have something for golf, I recently took up golf about two years ago, and I saw you had embossed golf balls there and tees and things like that. So you really get get involved with with branding, locals or union merchandise. And that's fantastic. Because it really is important to to have a brand that someone can feel proud of and identify with. And I think that's, that's a fantastic way to build solidarity within the ranks. Absolutely. And I see finding those union products, and USA made products if we can't find a union one, because there are some things you can't find a union made product in the country anymore, unfortunately. So the minimum we'll do is something that's been in the country, we don't touch imports at all. But I find no big part of my job is actually finding those products for people there are times when when people call up and they'll see something that they saw at the store, that's obviously an import, and they'll want to know is that something I can get union made or or USA made? And we have search tools that that search all the different USA manufacturers. We have great relationships with some of the large garment producers. Most cases were their number one, if not their number one customer certainly one of their bigger customers. And and so they're they're costly asking us what are people looking for out there right now. So I find that as a very enjoyable part of my job is finding those products for people when they call in and ask for him. So that's one source. One way that people can use us as as a company, maybe they're using an Intel printer that's been doing a good job for him. And I totally understand that. But if that person may not specialize in USA made goods, they're they're printing things for all sorts of companies and organizations. And so they can't find a particular thing for them while you call me. I'm going to be able to, if it's out there, I'll be able to find it for you. Unfortunately, there's some things that are tough to find. I've been looking for a good stainless steel insulated coffee mug for 19 years and there's really not one out there. There's one that has a neoprene cover but not the stainless steel that you see at Starbucks. And you know the quality is apparent when you buy us made union made goods. If you're looking for you know, cheap, poorly designed gear that may not last through its intended use then, yeah, there's plenty of people that are bringing that type of product in from overseas but it's especially empowering to know that when unions support other union businesses we get good value for our money. Absolutely. Yeah. And that's a big part of what we do is we stand behind everything that we sell and that's one way we can guarantee that we're putting good quality product out there is is that is being made in this country. You know obviously there's a lot more regulations on what's safe here than if you're making something offshore. And we can just be sure that the the product that we're putting out there is a good quality product.

Joe Cadwell:

Well it since you since you talked about safety there real quick. I know one of the things after having been in the field for a number of years I've heard people talk about hardhat stickers and I know Frank do little company makes hardhat stickers and there's been a lot of Talk about you know, oh geez, the stickers. You can't have those on your hardhat yet we see everybody with hearts had stickers on. I did some, again some research prior to our conversation that I noticed that OSHA doesn't necessarily say no to the stickers they offer they actually put it back on the manufacturers and the manufacturers are a little bit vague on the concept as well saying that you don't want to have stickers too close to the edge of your hardhat or covering over things that could determine you know, whether the hard hats been damaged or not, or just too many stickers in number. But one of the things that I've also been aware of is are the adhesives of the stickers and so with Frank do little product, do little hardhat sticker, what can you tell us about the adhesive?

Greg Mooseker:

Well, the standard adhesive, permanent adhesive that we use for our stickers is been tested, tried and true on hardhats for you know, 25 years and haven't had any, any problems with that. We do sometimes sell adhesives that are removable, which can you know, if you are concerned about that, of putting a sticker on your hardhat you can certainly use a removable adhesive and then you can take it off. If it's not something that's working out, but certainly is the normal adhesive we use is not going to degrade the the material of the hardhat or in any way, causing problems without.

Joe Cadwell:

going to a quick break in the action now to hear a word from the northwest carpenters communication team who encourage you to subscribe to the monthly grit newsletter. This multimedia experience combines written video and audio content designed to keep you up to date and informed on what matters most to you and your career. For example, you can now read about the lawsuit currently under review by the National Labor Relations Board that aims to abolish members of organized labor unions ability to display their union pride in the form of hardhat, stickers, t shirts, buttons, and other branded paraphernalia on the job site. This is yet another attack by big business to weaken unions and to jeopardize our ability to provide for ourselves and our families. Look for this article entitled to stick up in the April 2021 issue to find out more. To sign up for the newsletter simply visit NW carpenters dot o RG or look for the hyperlink in the show notes for this episode. Stay informed and stay union strong. And now back to the show. Greg, how about a little bit of the history of the Frank Doolittle company I understand you're located in Bellevue, Washington?

Greg Mooseker:

Well, Frank started the company by himself. It was a one man show for a number of years ago, he was involved in politics in the Seattle area, and had did a lot of work with different union representatives and kind of realize there was in Seattle a need for the kind of service, his father was a member of IBEW the Electrical Workers. And he really saw working with union people as something that he wanted to do. So he started up the company, as a grew, he hired on people to go out there and be account reps, he realized that the design aspect was a huge part of the business. So he hired artists, and very early on the union clock customers of his would come to him and and say I'd love to do business with you. But I only do business with union companies, which when it was him by himself wasn't really something that that he could do. But as soon as he started hiring people, so that's when he he and he decided to go all in which he didn't have to do a lot of my competitors, though, the graphic artists will be union members, but the sales reps and the accountants and whatnot are not. He just decided that everybody in his company was going to be a union member. And he wanted to have good benefits for them. And, and, and all the things that come with union membership. And certainly as an employee, I appreciate that. It's been a very big thing for for myself and my family. And as he grew, he hired more and more people. We're still a very small company. We do, I think an amazing amount of business for how many people we have or, you know, depending on the year, it'll be anywhere from 12 to 15 people that are in our company in total. And we're still doing business 25-30 years later. That's fantastic. What's been I can guess but I'm gonna ask what has been the hot ticket item in the last year that you you've been asked to design and send out? Well, I think I'm not sure if it's the highest selling item. In fact, I'm sure it's not but my favorite I'm going to do his lapel pins. And it's probably what we're the most known for. Because they are, they really take a live design where people aren't looking to put the, the UBC logo on a black t shirt, like they often do with T shirts, they want something that's gonna say what they do, where they're from, what they're about, sometimes it's a funny pin.And artists really enjoy working on those, I enjoy selling those. And it usually leads to other things. I mean, if we do a great pin design,chances are I'm going to do a sticker or a T shirt or something else with it down the line.We don't charge for that artwork, that's something I want to make sure that the people knowwhen we see it as part of the service that that we provide. And we can come up with some really great custom designs for customers. And I find pins are probably the best product for that we certainly do a lot of custom stickers, t shirt designs, all sorts of things like that. I have to agree pins do go a long way I was reasonably able to attend the general convention for the UBC the United brotherhood of carpenters and joiners of America. And which happens every five years and part of that program, there's a huge pin exchange, unfortunately, this year, or last year 2020. With COVID, we weren't able to do it in the normal fashion down in Las Vegas. So pins are being shipped all across the US and Canada to to you know, keep that flow going. But she surprised me Actually, with your answer of pens, I would have sworn that you would have been asked to do a lot more of those cotton facemask for COVID Oh, four during COVID Absolutely. And I would say that that, you know, may have kept our doors open during at least the spring last year because it you know, it was starting out as a really great year. We're with the UBC and a few other unions having conventions that year, people usually jump on that stuff early and, and we were off to a great start in 2020. And then March end of March, middle of March, we just fell off a cliff. Our manufacturers, you know, and it's something I didn't really realize until looking back on it. Our manufacturers that we use are suppliers of you know, sweatshirts, t shirts, bags, things like that, you know, obviously during a shutdown, they can't make that stuff. So it's even if I had customers want to buy, it's gonna be difficult for me to sell things that aren't being made. Well, what they did in it, I thought it was a really kind of it shows you the genius of American business people is they realize they can stay open, if they're making a product that is basically required by the the people during the pandemic. So the one thing they can make and do that is masks. So they made masks and out of every material imaginable, you know, imaginable. It's all of them, I thought, you know, they tried, and they weren't all that great. We finally found some that really worked really great. We're a fair price and we sold a ton of mass and in 2020 mostly with custom imprints, which is kind of what we do. So it was it was I had to I had to learn something new when she when you've been in a company as long as I've been I've been with the Doolittle company 19 years and, and you kind of start to think, you know, all the different products and what what they are and all of a sudden I'm selling face masks and I you know, except for doing work out in the yard and painting and things like that I'd never worn something like that in my life, didn't know anything about it. And all of a sudden, I'm I'm I have to become the expert on it, because I want to make sure that that the customer is getting what they want. Yeah, there's been a huge learning curve, for sure. I know, I've worn my fair share on this last year of some really bad, badly designed, badly manufactured mask and, and it really does make a difference when something's going to be on your face like that for a long period of time. And again, just going back to just the general quality of everything from from how a T shirt feels and how the how the artwork, you know, relays a message is so important and that's why I think it's really important that again, we support our union brothers and sisters, if I could add and this is true of all the products and certainly with a mass it became a very important thing is that you know, obviously quality is important, but people like different things. If I send a baseball hat out to some guy in New York City, and I send another baseball hat out to Minnesota, they may hate them. Even though they're two of the most popular caps I sell, they send it back, I switch it, and send the other cap to the other guy and the other capture the other guy, and they love them. So, but those samples are what was important so that I end up having somebody hold, you know, where it, touch it, feel it, use it, and know that it's what they want. So that's one thing we do at the Doolittle company is we provide samples, you know, if you're not sure, it's the sweatshirt that you want. If I'm not sure it's the sweatshirt you want. I mean, there's times when customers don't ask for a sample, but I say, you know what I'm gonna send you out. I, it sounds like you might be looking for something a little different. So I just want to make sure this is the right sweatshirt for you. And I'll send you out a sample. A, you know, we're not going to charge you for those samples, a lot of them, especially if it's expensive item, we're going to ask you to send it back so we can send the next person, but we're not going to charge you for that. And that's one way you know, you'll know that it's exactly what you're looking for. That sounds like a great strategy for long term customer satisfaction. Yeah, absolutely.

Joe Cadwell:

Well, Greg, this has been a fantastic conversation. where can our listeners go and find out more about the Frank Doolittle company?

Greg Mooseker:

Well, our website is pretty simple. It's Frank, do a little calm. We can also call us at 1-800-621-7633. And you can reach me personally my emails pretty easy. It's my my first name last initial. So Greg at Frank Doolittle calm. Greg newscred. Thank you so much for taking your time to be on the show today. Thanks so much for having

Joe Cadwell:

I guess today has been Greg musiker. From the Frank Doolittle company. To learn more about their high quality union made merchandise, be sure to visit their website, look for the hyperlink in the show notes for this episode. If you know someone you think may get something out of the show, be sure to share with them. And if you haven't already done so. Please take a moment to rate and review Grit Northwest and Apple podcast. It's easy to do and really does make a difference in helping others find the show. Well, that's it for now. As always, thanks for listening. And until next time, this is Joe Cadwell reminding you to work safe, work smart and stay union Trump