Anatomy of a rebrand from Reverie Coaching to my personal brand
Going from a generic business to launching a new personal brand is a massive undertaking and if not done strategically can really back-fire on you.
In this blog I’m not going to answer the question when should you create a personal brand but rather show the process I undertook for my rebrand and share with you some tips and resources.
Understanding my ‘Why’
In early 2014 my brand Reverie Coaching suddenly didn’t feel like me anymore. I had undergone enormous evolution in my business over two years and I realised that even the word ‘coaching’ did not describe what I did in my business.
I knew immediately that creating a personal brand was the best way to get myself out into the market in a big way and to do that I needed to niche my services even further and let go of my business Reverie Coaching for good.
I realised that to do a total rebrand properly it was going to be a sizeable investment so I wanted to ensure that any decisions I made were thought out and strategic. The first thing I did was to write a strategy document both for myself, to talk to my coach about and provide to my key partners in the rebrand.
This strategy document looked at:
- What is my point of difference and zone of genius
- a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats)
- a competitor analysis – to understand my wider market and how I wanted to position myself
- my marketing strategies under the new brand
- I then wrote a list of everything I would need for the rebrand, all the key actions and timeframes (a project plan) and
- I compiled a budget for my rebrand including all the expenses I could think of.
What was my new business?
A major element of my rebrand process was spending a lot of time thinking about what products and services I wanted to offer under my new brand.
This was not merely changing my visual brand but it was a process of completely redesigning my business.
I scrapped a heap of old eCourses and services that no longer ‘fit’ and only kept my flagship program the eCourse Launch Formula. I came up with at least 10 new potential services and eProducts. I also did Kate Byrne’s program Packaging You to really refine these into premium packages for my clients.
In the end I realised that what I wanted in my business was simplicity and that meant getting really ruthless about what I no longer offered.
Finding a designer
The next step was to find the major partner for this rebrand – a web designer and developer. I decided that I wanted to find someone who was a one stop shop who could both design and develop my brand identity and my website.
I was willing to invest a sizeable sum into this rebrand and so I started researching potential designers.
Once of the issues I came up against was that even though I was looking months in advance some of the great providers were booked out up to a year in advance.
I had discussions with a number of potential providers and in the end I selected Ellissa Jayne Creative.
I really liked that Ellissa Jayne’s Brand Lab Package had the full brand identity experience with plenty of strategy sessions and support as I knew this needed to be a well thought out rebrand. It was really clear to me what was included and what level of support I would get.
I felt like she understood me from our first call and I also decided that given I was about to have a baby that having someone in the same time zone was really important.
I have to admit that receiving these flowers the day after I signed up to work with Ellissa really made me feel important and like a relationship had been established.
My other ‘Dream Team’ members
A professional rebrand involves so much more than just a good designer and developer. Included in my ‘dream team’ were Jess Larsen of Hello Wordsmith my copywriter, Louise Glendon my photographer, my stylist Nas of Ask Amanda and Shae Baxter my SEO girl. We all worked together to create a really professional rebrand. As with Ellissa I purposely picked Australian providers who were in the same timezone as me.
Creating a brand mood board
I’m a really visual person and quite creative so I had lots of ideas about how I wanted my new brand to look and feel. I started a series of Pinterest Boards for the main brand, the website, business cards and photo shoot. Here are a selection of those elements but you can visit my main brand board here.
I really wanted my brand to feel relaxed yet professional, classic and sophisticated but also authentic and accessible. I wanted to bring in lifestyle elements of the beach and travel and for it to have the feel of a premium brand.
Coming up with a Logo
Once Ellissa had a feel for my mood board she created some early logo concepts and the final one stood out to me immediately as being ‘the one’. The font actually looks quite a bit like my own writing and I felt like it came across as professional yet still creative.
Full brand Identity
We then moved on to a full brand identity including textures and elements. I told Ellissa that I wanted a range of colours to work with, plenty of textures including chevrons and some graphic elements like arrows that I could use for other brand elements. Ellissa suggested using gold to really elevate the premium feel of the brand which I loved immediately.
This brand identity evolved with the project but you can clearly see it in my final website.
Designing the Website
Once we were ready to start designing the website I looked around to see which websites were inspiring me and that I loved.
I have to admit there were not too many that informed the design but these one’s stood out. Not surprisingly these are all personal brands but not people within my niche.
I really wanted my website to stand out as the most creative and sophisticated within my niche and in doing so really make an impact and impart a feeling of professionalism and being in good hands.
Nisha Moodley: Rich, luxe feel with lots of gold
Jess Lively: Classic, crisp, structured with some really creative elements
Melissa Ambrosini – for some of the more interactive elements of her design
Early on Ellissa showed me this graphic of the draft layout and I knew I loved it immediately. We were both quite focused on not creating a b-schoolesque website that was like all the others around and we wanted different navigation and some surprising elements.
The website came together really well with very minimal changes and throughout the process I told Ellissa that I trusted her skills and expertise and I gave her quite a bit of creative freedom. I acknowledged that I was far from an expert on websites and I didn’t want to stifle her creativity.
I made a decision early on that if I was going to invest a lot of money in a new brand and website that I needed to follow through with an exceptional brand photo shoot, hiring a stylist to go shopping with and getting professional hair and make-up done.
I went shopping with Nas from Ask Amanda and while exhausting I came home with a selection of items perfect for my new brand.
I then asked my best girlfriends to come over and help me with the photo shoot so that I could not only get great headshots and brand images but create stock like images that reflect the 1:1 and group work that I do. This ended up being a really good decision as half-way through my rebrand I decided to launch a completely new project – a premium mastermind.
Getting a little off track
Part way through my rebrand I told Ellissa that I had another program that we just HAD to do now! It was something that came to me as a ‘Divine Download’ and I just knew it had to be done immediately.
God love Ellissa as she put the rebrand on hold and flung herself into my mastermind project.
The fact that we were so far along with our brand identity actually made this process easier as we were able to use the master brand to inform my mastermind branding while still creating it’s own identity.
You’ll notice some of the same fonts, the gold texture and one of the brand colours below.
Ellissa nailed this brand identity in the first round of concepts and this made me realise the value of working intensively with someone over a long period of time as you develop an amazing working relationship and magic happens!
Brand Audit and Full Brand Identity
What I loved about Ellissa’s package was that it included so much more than just the website. It included business card design, a range of social media branding, branding for my newsletter and a range of elements that I can use in future.
It was important to ensure that when I was ready to launch that all of my social media channels were consistently branded and this meant setting up new accounts or renaming old ones in some cases.
I also had my virtual assistant do a google brand audit for me and I now have a list of directorys, guest blogs and other online references that I need to work through and changeover.
The all important copy
Jess Larsen, Ellissa and I truly became a dream team. We had a number of skype hook-ups where we spent most of our time hilariously laughing and a little time getting strategic.
I ended up being really lucky that Jess and Ellissa both live in Brisbane and could catch up and work on my rebrand in-person.
Yes my website has been written by a copywriter BUT Jess has this incredible ability and absolute dedication to make your copy sound like you. I’d read her work and pretty much tell her that she’d nailed it every time and it felt like I’d written it (if I was an amazing writer) but just in case you are wondering I wrote this blog myself !
The three of us love working together so much that we are even teaming up for one of my mastermind workshops in Palm Cove (sounds horrible but someone has to do it!).
SEO and leaving it to the expert
I was very lucky to talk Shae Baxter into putting together a special package for me where by she would set up my website and optimise it for SEO.
Technically I could have done this myself but when I was investing in everything else it just made sense to get Shae on the job.
We are still working on it but I have been really impressed with her insights, strategy and super personalised advice regarding top blogs to write for the search traffic I want.
Launching my brand
As someone who is a bit of an introvert having a big brand launch was not my style however throughout this rebrand process I was leaking out little teasers of the new branding on my Facebook page and to my eCourse groups.
This had the effect of my participants feeling like they had special access to my progress before the rest of the world did and it really built anticipation.
When it came to the ‘official launch’ I really just sent out an email to my list, posted on my social media channels and in the groups I was a part of.
Luckilly the night of the launch I was hosting a group of entrepreneur friends so I used it as an excuse to celebrate my hard work!
Having a really good opt-in to offer people when I launched was critical to gaining a heap of sign-ups to my list in the first few days and a steady stream of continuous traffic ever since.
All the little details
Then of course there are all the little details that you need to think about when you rebrand or launch a new brand such as changing over your email accounts, bank accounts, sign-in details for a tonne of online services, ensuring that your old site redirects to the new site and many more administrative details.
Do not underestimate the work involved here.
In the end I decided to start a fresh with a new email system (gmail) and have kept my old outlook account as an archive of emails to refer to when I need to. I also recently set up a new dropbox account and am saving everything to the cloud rather than on my computer. The rebrand has provided the impetus to move everything over to online programs that I can access from anywhere.
My top rebrand resources
So there you have it my process from March 2014 to November 2014 to launch my new personal brand. It was no mean feat as I had a baby at the end of April but doing it over a long period actually helped me get really clear on my strategy and enabled me to ‘marinate’ on decisions without the intense time pressure.
And because I’m always happy to share my numbers with you my total costs for this rebrand added up to approximately $12k.
So I would love to share with you some great resources and details of my ‘Dream Team’ and this is against my better judgement as it means they’ll probably become ridiculously busy!
Ellissa Jayne Creative – for full brand identity and website
Hello Wordsmith – for amazing copywriting
Louise Glendon – for gorgeous images
Ask Amanda – for styling and personal shopping
Shae Baxter – for SEO services
Design Seeds – for picking colour schemes
Packaging You – to refine my offering
Alana Wimmer – design of the media kit here.