A Branding Agency That Didn’t Do Its Own Branding? Huh?
3 reasons (and a 4th) why we didn’t do our own branding, and why you shouldn’t either.
It’s one of the most daunting exercises any company can go through– creating a new website presence. And, as exciting as it was for us to shelve the old version of who we were and what we did because we had grown way past it, starting the process anew was a big, highly visible job added to an already busy list.
Now, keep in mind that, unlike most companies, we already had all of the resources at-hand to be able to do the deal, soup-to-nuts: Branding, writing, design, front end, and back end development.
A Hospitality Branding Agency True Story
It’s what we do for our clients on a daily basis, so why not do it, ourselves?
We could have. In fact, all of our staff have been involved in self-branding projects in addition to countless efforts for other companies. Which is exactly why we decided to follow our own advice (and gut) and source an outside firm. Here’s why:
1. Their objective perspective kept us from falling into our own “love language.”
Everybody loves their own stuff. It’s part of human nature. Challenge is, to connect with other clients and customers who speak their own language, using our own “love language” isn’t valuable in delving into what you honestly do best and worst, and you end up regurgitating your same pat-on-the-back mantras, instead of gleaning objective truths and insights, which we did.
2. Outsourcing kept us on task and timeline. It made it a real job, not a pet project.
When you’re close to something, the intense passion and perspective can lead to paralysis by analysis and not letting go. Because you live and breathe the internal, unspoken story, there’s a natural disconnect between what you feel and what the outside world will see. You can partially bridge that with branding and communication, but, in most cases, the efforts to unify those pieces become endless. The firm we sourced held us to specific objectives and timelines that kept our creative minds from wandering into the infinite oblivion of possibility. We keep our clients to a budget, we lived by the same rule, and finished (pretty close ;-)) to our expectations.
3. We were able to focus on our most important work: That for our clients.
Even though the messaging of our new capabilities, philosophies, and story in our website was key to broadening our client scope and future business, we were determined not to neglect the partners who had been instrumental in getting us to this point. Most of the time, agency leadership tasks the team to work on self-promotion projects such as this in off-hours as “passion projects.” Although the idea is an exciting one, the balance of the two eventually tips to favor one side or the other, with the lower see-saw missing out on time, energy and talent. This compromise can be costly. Because of our decision, we were able to conduct some of our largest client projects while simultaneously re-branding ourselves.
P.S. Bonus #4: We traded branding services, resulting in no out-of-pocket costs.
Through conversations with a neighboring agency (who shares our passion for honest branding but doesn’t conflict with our client list), we discovered that they were considering undertaking the same exercise. Switching client and agency “sides” not only was a great brain stretch, but it resulted in each of us refining our brand exploration techniques.
We truly want to thank Four Fin Creative –our mutual muses, story checkers, and no-B.S. brand believers– for engaging in this win-win. We learned a lot about each other, and ourselves.
What You Can Do Today: We’re going to help make sure this blog doesn’t sit there like a log for you. Action is one of the keys to an idea, and here’s something simple you can do, today, to define your brand. Start to work out your USP (Unique Selling Proposition). Write down what you do best. When you’re done, do the same for your competitors. Now compare lists. Cross off the common things you can’t beat them on. If it’s a tie, and you can describe your offering differently, leave it on. If it’s a tie and they’re talking about it on their site, blog and all their communications, maybe battle elsewhere, unless you’re ready for a fight. Stuck? We can help facilitate the process. And it’s a blast!