The Brand Experiment: Behind The Scenes of My Brand Evolution
My business is 3 years old and while I began with my Name as the brand, one question kept coming up from my branding clients and entrepreneurs in my audience…
HOW DO YOU DECIDE BETWEEN YOUR NAME VS. CREATING A BRAND NAME?
I decided to experiment! At the end of 2018, I said goodbye to HILARY HARTLING at the top of my website, re-branded and launched BRANDPOLISH CO. as my updated brand.
And yes, I actually did re-name my brand, and do an entire re-brand in order to test whether my personal brand or a business brand name would work better. I wanted to be able to tell all of you which one resonated more with my audience and why.
Well, the results are in and I talked to a lot of ideal clients along the way to gain feedback for my brand! As you may have already guessed, for my business MY NAME wins!
Here’s what I specifically learned from my Brand Experiment:
01. The brand name, BRANDPOLISH CO. didn’t turn my audience off, but wasn’t as strong as my own name.
The name BRANDPOLISH did connect with my audience because they liked the fact that the benefit of what I help them do was right there in the name. My tagline was “Your Brand, Refined” and refining is another way of saying polishing and I had many clients coming to me asking me to help them “polish” their brand. However, BRANDPOLISH didn’t feel as personal, and my clients want to know me and have a relationship with me. (love that!)
Good news, BRANDPOLISH won’t be officially retired, as you’ll see it pop up in one of my brand new services, the HALF-DAY BRANDPOLISH INTENSIVE!
02. BRANDPOLISH CO. took ME out of the brand
Your brand is meant to connect with your audience and with my rebrand to BRANDPOLISH, I found my clients were missing me! I had even put a brand photo of my home living-work-space up as the hero shot on my website homepage…without ME in it! Duh.
In the middle of this experiment, I actually did start inserting me and my name back into my BRANDPOLISH brand by switching my homepage hero photo to one of the same workspace, but with ME in it! And, I also started using my Secondary Logo as my main logo, which was “BRANDPOLISH CO. w/ Hilary Hartling” so that people felt a stronger connection to me right away.
You’ll notice with my switch back to HILARY HARTLING as my brand name, I also did a full new brand photo shoot since I live in a new location and it’s not just about branding your business anymore, it’s about my clients loving the brand their building AND the life they’re living.
My new location reflects how I manifested my new living situation, overlooking the pacific ocean and being close to the beach again and infusing that feeling into my re-brand was important because my audience likes to know what I’m up to and to get a glimpse behind the scenes of my business and life!
03. This experiment clarified the magic of my brand
People are attracted to my business because of the experience, skills and expertise I bring that stretches from the work I’ve done with global entertainment brands like Disney to how I’ve helped entrepreneurs build and grow their brands with clear messaging and a strong foundation.
I quickly found out I was the reason that people want to hire me and removing myself, even taking me out of the name, removes a layer of trust and connection that is the magic of my brand. My audience doesn’t want a generic branding agency to help them, they want me.
Take a look at your business, because if you’re a Consultant, Coach, Author, or Expert Thought Leader of some kind, you’ll find the same thing: YOU are the magic of your brand. Embrace it!
THE SWITCH BACK
This marks the relaunch of HILARY HARTLING as my brand, and you might be wondering if I just switched back to the initial look, feel, tone, message and style of my original brand that I previously had. The answer is no.
In fact, I had a whole discussion with my brand designer about it, because his inclination was to create a blend of the original NAME brand and my BRANDPOLISH brand and create a hybrid.
I quickly vetoed and we got on the same page, and here’s why I wanted a refreshed brand. It needed to be MODERN, like my audience and reflect the EVOLUTION both me and my audience have gone through.
I’m not the same business owner, brand strategist, leader or entrepreneur that I was 3 years ago. I’ve evolved. My clients have evolved, too, and every single thing about your brand essence, message and style needs to reflect where your audience is on their journey and how you can help serve them best.
My evolved Key Brand Words that help me create everything in my business to shape my audience’s perception of my brand are:
CLEAR | HIGH-VALUE | COHESIVE | STORY-DRIVEN | INSPIRATIONAL
And my new brand tagline is literally the exact words soooooo many of my ideal clients have told me what they’re wanting for their brand….
CREATE A CLEAR, COHESIVE AND COMPELLING BRAND.
Why am I telling you this? So you can do the same for your brand. Listen to your audience. Write down what your ideal clients say…word for word. Craft messaging that resonates. Listen to what they need most. Build a brand you love that your clients want more of.
Take a look at your brand and discover where you can improve it to connect on a deeper level with your audience. It matters.
To sum up, I’m super excited about getting back to my own name as my brand because it opens up a world of opportunity to evolve my offerings, my focus and creating sub-brands underneath the umbrella brand which is my name.
Just like I have a sub-brand called ENTREPRENEURS BY THE SEA for inspirational meet-ups and how-to workshops, you’ll be seeing a couple of new sub-brands roll out in the coming months that will serve my audience well.
There are pros and cons to having a Personal Brand vs a Brand Name, and that’s a whole separate blog post that will be coming soon.
In the meantime, enjoy exploring my refreshed website, services packages, events and resources and let me know what you like best about my rebrand and how it may have inspired you to look at your own business more closely.