Many of you may already know that Marketing Cafe is the remake of Mirchandani Consulting. We spent the better part of a year focusing on rebranding; working with brand experts, business coaches and designers to help us hone in on our essential essence - helping small businesses take control of their online marketing.
It was a challenging process. It was very tempting to hang on to all sorts of stuff that we could do; we can do design, we can do logos, we can do business cards. After all we had done all of those things.
But it was time to be bold. It was time to draw a line in the sand and say we could do those things - but we do not. We focus solely on online marketing. And you know what? It worked.
Here are some of the lessons we learned and how you might apply them to your own brand.
Branding Lesson 1:
Be True To Your Core Values
It may seem counter-intuitive, if not down right stupid, to turn away business but that's exactly what we started doing. We referred any clients for whom we did print graphics to an associate and passed along the files. Calls that came in for graphic design were answered with "We focus exclusively on web design, email marketing and social media." Giving up the "graphic design" part of our what-we-do spiel was a bit like giving up a favorite childhood toy. But it allowed us to focus on the kind of work where we feel we're best able to provide value.
So take a look at your book of business and see if your "we do it all for our clients" is really serving you or your clients well.
Branding Lesson 2:
Be True To Yourself
We're a small shop. The "we" is truthfully made up of one full-time person and a team of strategic partners that are called in dependent upon the needs of a given project and an uber-team of business women who function as an advisory board. Early on, like many small businesses, there was a sense of defensiveness because of our small size; we tried to look bigger than we were and it often presented in overly-formal marketing language, dry, unappealing visuals and frankly, a stilted brand. It wasn't really "us".
The new brand is a more accurate representation of what you can expect from working with us; a down-to-earth approach to using online technology to market your business with a bit of fun thrown in.
So take a fresh look at how your brand represents what your customers can expect in working with you? Is it an accurate picture? If your feeling a bit as if you're trying to put a square peg in a round hole, you may need to freshen up your brand.
Branding Lesson 3:
Be True To Your Inner Diva
Okay, this may not translate directly to all the guys out there, but you get where I'm going with this. Being modest was not going to help launch a new brand. It was going to take a bold move. It was going to require the throwing off of fears. So we changed the name of the company, designed a new logo and created a new website. We hosted a "thank you" cocktail party for our clients. We took out our first booth at the Business Council of Westchester's Mega Mixer.
What are you talking yourself out of that will further your brand? How are you holding back your inner diva?
Go forth and brand boldly. It's the only way to market effectively.