Never be afraid to Rebrand your business! Rebranding means you have listened to you audience. A paramount part of your business model needs to be how you manage change and facilitate direction in your future planning.
I have only recently changed my logo (January 2015) and asserted a new direction in where my business should be going. This wasn't something I decided over night, it's been a few months in the making. My business has been recognised more and more over the last few years for social media training and ultimately its where I have gained the most clients. To this end I have removed the "Marketing and PR" aspect of my business name. Initially I did entertain another name, laughably though that name was actually really disliked by the people I polled! I had removed STOMP and was told that it was an integral part to my branding. I have listened to my audience and then just added what I did to it instead (besides I paid a small fortune not that long ago to get STOMP trademarked).
I have to say it has been well received so far and I am hoping that with the new wording it will eventually bring me up the ranks in SEO - although I am already pretty successfully found after having some fab training from web designers over the years. (Ahem....Dorcas Reamonn - Zonua, Denise Inspired - Inspired Design and Carol Faughnan DigiMarketing Studio).
Making my branding message as part of my message I believe will bring a pronounced change to my business and marketing strategy and look forward to moving my company forward in 2016.
Like all businesses, when I first set up I had a vision for my business. I knew what I wanted to do and who I wanted to target. I wrote down a business plan, purchased cards and set up my website and Facebook page and hoped for the best! Over time I realised that just wasn't enough, I was new to this gig called Self Employment and had to learn as I went along. When I actually went out to do my business I noticed within the first 6-9 months that I had targeted slightly the wrong people and the demand on my skillset was different from what I had first imagined.
I had created a brand with a black and white base - I loved the concept of no muss, no fuss and STOMP was easy to remember. One of my taglines has been "don't get stumped, get STOMP'ed" and clients seemed to engage with it too.
When I first started my business I was based in Co Wicklow (I am now in Co Westmeath) and at the beginning I didn't feel capable/brave enough to stand up in public or frankly even in front of more than one person and discuss my business for the first year. To this end I only promoted myself as a "local business" and deliberately targeted small business and sole traders. My fees were lower as well then, in hindsight, I had undervalued myself and what I could offer a client. Also - let's face it, sole traders normally have smaller budgets!
Initially I had hoped to offer an event management service to clients. On two occasions I did just that, with a theatrical production of Mrs Doubtfire (performed at the RDS) and a Data Protection Conference at the Marker Hotel, Dublin. However, this did not generate the interest I first hoped for so again I had to review my business and marketing plans.
I actively sought feedback from past and present clients. This confirmed to me that most of my customers enjoyed the 1-2-1 aspect of my training approach and the fact that I helped to fill the gaps in their social media knowledge. This was more what they enjoyed rather than providing a complete training course. The clients also warmed to the fact that I first met most of them first via a networking group. This meant that they had at least two meetings with me prior to making an enquiry and enabled them to follow me on Social Media afterwards.
So after another review of business it meant that I needed to go to as many relevant networking events as possible in order to engage with my audience as well as engaging them on social media. I quickly established there was a few of "me" out there and needed to find something marketable about myself that was fresh and different. I thought at that time what made me different, was targeting small business and charging smaller amounts and to this end it helped for a while.
Over the months I got some great feedback and my confidence grew as I saw clients- social media working for them and got bigger and bigger enquiries. I also attended an awful lot of training events and seminars and begun to realise I had pretty much the same knowledge they had in my related fields.
The big break for me was finally standing up in front of the local START Network and discussing what I do in my business in December 2014. I had prepared a few slides and did my 10 minute speech and at the end was approached by several people and got some excellent business out of it. I guess once I took the plunge and realised where my business should actually be targeted at and who it should be targeted too the rest fell into place. Since January this year (2016) I have really started to find my place on the market. The demand for my service has grown and I have had some amazing support from influencers in my field. I have also now completed numerous group training events and the largest one was at DCU with a bunch of priests!
The biggest coup for my business to date was in May 2015 when Bord Iascaigh Mhara started using STOMP for their training and in November they made me their preferred supplier. In January 2016 they also added me to their Panel of Experts, which was wonderful too. Overall it was a wonderful feeling to know that I have provided them with solid and reliable work and they chose me to support them. Since then I have had the courage to say "yes" to more and more opportunities and next year looks like it's going to be a busy year for me! To this end I decided to rebrand my business and be recognised for what I do best. It might even make it easier to find me in Google! So from January 2016 my new business name will be STOMP Social Media Training.