My Journey to Rebrand-Part 1

journey to rebrand - image of road

winding road with words Journey to Rebrand

I kept thinking “I need to Rebrand!”

I chose the image above because this is how I felt . . . for a couple years.

I started my own company and had a put-together-sort-of-brand.  But I had worked through the start-up stage of starting a business . . . and was finally ready to rebrand.

I looked for professional help.  I didn’t know at the time that I was in for a long journey … a road with twists and turns.  Many times I didn’t feel like I was on a smooth road or even the right road.

I’d think: “I am sure there is something called branding and rebranding!”  I kept looking for a professional that would lead me through a process where I would figure out how to present my business in a consistent way. I thought: “There has to be a business that will help me bring together my values, my direction, my services; they will look at my logo and evaluate my company colors”.  I wanted to make marketing decisions a little easier.

I knew I didn’t know enough about branding, but I knew I had to do it in order to grow my accounting firm.

The Rebrand journey begins

I have been in the business world for so long, I don’t know where I heard of rebranding.  Maybe it was in college classes — I went the accounting path but also took many other businesses classes so it could have been those marketing classes.  Or, maybe it was from my colleagues — I did work closely with sales and marketing departments, so maybe it was from those meetings.  Or maybe it was from all the time I spent googling and learning how to create my website.  Either way, I kept thinking “I am right. There is a path to rebrand and strengthen my brand. Wait . . . I am not finding help . . . am I right?”

Yes! There is a path to rebrand.  I finally got on the right road.  But, I had detours.  And some of those detours were caused by professionals who have careers in the creative business fields–the ones I had assumed were experts.

This post hopefully will give you insight if you are going down the path of rebranding.  Here’s my journey.  It is from the perspective of a non-marketer, a non-advertising specialist, a non-website developer, a non-social media guru, and a non-logo designer.  This is me, a business person who started her own business with years of business/accounting experience, but had to find creative business help and ultimately the path to rebrand.

Let’s start at the beginning, so you can understand some of my detours — which may help you if you decide to brand or rebrand.

Detour – Social Media help with cute messages

First stop: Social Media contractor.  She said she really understood social media.  She didn’t ask anything about my website or other marketing activities; she didn’t mention branding.  I thought “OK, she knows about social media posting, so let’s give it a try”.

But this ended up being a waste of money.

I didn’t see a plan. She posted on social media.  But there was no real direction or plan.  She posted quick cute images and inspirational messages.  Once in a while she’d post a sentence about my accounting firm but nothing really of substance.

What was my consistent message on social media?  Nothing really except that I was a positive person with cleaver image posts.

Lesson: I wish I would have focused on finding branding help to make a cohesive plan instead of starting with buying social media services. I could have learned about social media and even used it. But I wish I would not have paid for help and instead spent the money on branding.

There was no direction. I moved on.

Advertising firm wants me to start with Google Ad-words

Next stop: Advertising agency. Sounds like a great idea. And it may be. But this firm wanted me to spend money yet was not offering any branding meetings.

I talked to the advertising company over the phone and I was hopeful. The woman agreed that it was good to start with branding. But then her plan: she wanted to sell me a new website, their SEO services, and start advertising with google ad-words. I tried to bring it back to a branding project and said I thought we need to start from a core understanding and then create a solid plan. But she talked more about google ad-words and “pay-per-click”. I asked how should I come up with an advertising budget without a clear brand and path. She said I could send her a quick email about how I have branded so far and they would spend an hour or so on it and give me opinions.

By now I was a year in to owning my own business. I had a website and logo as a start but no cohesive brand or marketing plan. I didn’t think an hour sounded like enough time to figure out branding — especially since there would not be a face-to-face conversation between us.  In addition, I had heard from colleagues that the cost of Google Ad-words can add up quickly especially if you don’t lay out a path.

I didn’t go with this firm. I kept looking.

Marketing firm wants to jump in

Next stop: Marketing firm.  I thought this must be the way to go. But this firm was not a match.

I was hopeful, they would actually meet face-to-face.  I liked them.  Both the man and woman talked about the importance of branding.

I eagerly waited for their bid. It came; but the bid was not for a branding project like we discussed. It was for a new website and monthly posting on social media.  I kept reading the bid. Wait, in the meeting we talked rebranding with the possibility of later hiring them to post to a certain social media platform.  But the bid was for No branding and for them to create a website and post to a social media platform that was different than what they recommended in our meeting.

Did they change their mind or did the forget what they said in our meeting?

I emailed them and asked about a branding bid.  The woman replied that they want to bid on posting because they have “posting packages” — I could pay them to post and start buying Facebook ads.

No. I had recently hired social media posting services with no direction and was still feeling the sting of wasted money.  I wanted a branding project first.  I moved on.

Yea! Rebranding is possible!

I continued and hit a few more brick walls.  Exhaustion set in and I paused the idea of rebranding.  I threw myself into client work, researching new software, and a million other things. But rebranding…that was on hold.

And then I got renewed hope.

I went to a seminar for accountants who wanted to think outside the box and grow their company.  I met a firm that was one of the sponsors.  But I realized, that’s not the first time I heard about them.  I had already seen a webinar that they participated in.

I kept “running” in to them.  I read a great article on LinkedIn and the author was going to do a free 4-week webinar in partnership with this same firm.  I signed up.

Yes! The firm believes you need to bring together your values, your direction, your ideal client, etc.  They believe that a logo and color change may be needed  but that they first need to understand your business so they can help you in the best way.  They believe in getting clarity before you buy Google Ad-words or Facebook ads or spend more money on a website.  They believe businesses should post information of substance and not only clever phrases.  They think a branding plan is important.

I finally found “the” firm to help me brand.  Stop by my next blog as I continue my journey to rebrand. . .

Disclaimer: The information on this post and on the Barb Brady CPA website are for general information purposes only; it is not intended to be tax or legal advice.