Becoming Who You Are

The new year is a time when a lot of people make new year’s resolutions. Why do you think that is? I think it’s because people realize they could be better or do better — they need to be a better version of themselves. It’s the same with rebranding or renaming. Most companies realize their identity needs to be refreshed, made better, or realigned with who they have become — the best version of themselves.

Has your company or industry changed over the years that you need a new identity to convey where you’re going as a company or who you’ve become?

I help companies rebrand, and there are always two hesitations that arise. One is a fear of change, and the second is how it will affect their existing client base. Every time a company has changed its name and surveyed the new name with existing clients, we get the same results. They are excited. They understand the vision and who the company is much more clearly. Customers see the name change as growth and progress. It demonstrates that the company is not sitting back on its past successes. They understand that the service and products they receive are not going to change. Usually, the most resistant people are in the company and have gotten comfortable. They see it as more work and just a nuisance that will disrupt their equilibrium. Don’t let fear of change, upsetting the status quo, worry about what others will think or the work it will take to implement affect your decision.

Keep in mind these three principles when considering a name change: One, is the name of the company aligned with our purpose? Two, does our identity reflect where we want to take the company? And third, does it hinder the sales process? If the answer is yes to any of those three questions, then a new name and identity should be considered.

What I’ve found is most people are timid at first. Then somewhere in the middle, they see a few directions that get them excited about the possibility of what a new rename and rebrand will mean for the company. When the right name comes along, there is a light that comes on, and they can see it. I always have them take another week before making any final decisions, but once they see it, they want it immediately. They can’t have it fast enough.

In order to rebrand and/or rename successfully, you first must clearly articulate the company’s purpose. The important job of helping companies discover or rediscover their purpose and rebuild their brand energizes me. Working alongside a business owner to provide the spark that gets those business ideas flowing is amazing. Helping them rediscover everything fun about why they started the business in the first place is exhilarating. I consider it an honor to be a part of the process — to be a part of their dream. Dream with them and help them make it real. CEOs need someone that believes in them and believes in their vision.

One client particularly comes to mind when I think of making an impact on their business. A homeless service called The Other Place. Their vision is to “end homelessness.” Their vision statement was two words—short and sweet. Maybe it was more audacious than sweet. During our initial meeting, the Executive Director, Tina Patterson, told me it would take her 20 to 30 minutes to explain what The Other Place was and why they needed support. After renaming and rebranding The Other Place to Homefull,

Tina went on her first corporate sponsorship meeting with a single sheet of paper from her color copier and her new business cards. She laid down that piece of paper on the man’s desk while she found a business card from her purse. Immediately he said, “I’ll do this one for all 250 families.” She reached 20% of her goal for the campaign in her first 2-minute meeting. What used to take 30 minutes took 30 seconds. Tina didn’t even have time to hand the regional director her new business card.

That single sheet of paper had their new name, vision, and the year-end financial goal on it—put 250 families in homes by year’s end. The goal was broken down based on one family’s needs. It was clear, simple and easy for the corporation to understand their purpose. No need to sell. If done right, the recipients ask themselves, “Are we the right fit?” “Do we align with their purpose?” “Can I jump on board?” The strongest brands are those that do the best job at knowing and communicating their purpose with clarity at every opportunity starting with their identity.