Nothing gives me more confidence in someone than seeing them apply what they teach in their own practice ...
He calls it "more than just another bl***y networking group". The key to this successful exercise was his collaboration with members of his community. I’ll let him tell it in his own words.
Being a firm believer in collaboration, I have been really blessed recently whilst going through a rebranding exercise for my business with the support I have received. For me, for successful collaborations to work, I think there are several elements that need to be in place:
- work with people that you know, like and trust
- who are credible and skilled at what they do
- who have the same values and commitment as you
- be confident in their feedback and guidance
- be open to constructive criticism
What was the start of the journey? Well, I decided that I needed to up my game in terms of getting my message out there that my business was not just “another bl***y networking group”, and to improve my social media presence; as well as distinguishing myself from the competition. I turned to my first collaborator in this project: Kevin Robinson of 13 Media.
He also pointed out that I was missing out on opportunities in my marketing activity and my 'story' was not getting across to potential clients. So, the journey was started to hone my message. Initially, rebranding was not in the conversation, but as the plot unfolded, it seemed to make sense to get away from my existing name and go for something fresh.
Additional reasons for this decision were that the existing name, based around the word 'connect', had become overused in the networking fraternity, with other organisations incorporating that term in their branding. Also, in discussions that were had, it was clear that my business was not just about networking so having that in the name of the business was not doing me any favours. When looking to launch in new geographic areas, I was limited by whatever the common denominator was in terms of people’s perception of networking groups.
Once rebranding was on the cards, it was useful to go out to existing clients to get their feedback about their experience of being involved in my business and also why they were customers; to discover what kept them engaged which would help me to evolve into the new brand and not throw the baby out with the bathwater! (More collaborators!).
Doing this, and getting some common words used by them led to the new name being: The Business Community, because basically that is what it is!
Without Kevin’s insight and advice on what to do to have a successful rebrand, I would have missed out on the massive contribution that he made. Without his ideas and guidance (and sometimes direct feedback about how poor things were!), the brand as is would not have been created.
Once the name had been decided, then the second (main) collaborator could be invited into the fold. This was Mark Coster from Pixooma. Having worked with Mark on other projects that needed his graphic design expertise, he was the only real choice as I had the confidence in him delivering.
Initially, he was involved in joint meetings with Kevin and me to understand the brand message that we wanted to portray and to have an appropriate logo and brand guidelines: things like fonts, colours and styles that reflected the positioning of the new company.
He then collaborated with me on exploring how the logo should look and presented a number of ideas until we eventually got something that we both thought would work. As a final check, it was shared with fellow collaborator Kevin, who agreed that it perfectly fitted the bill! (As is pretty much the case with every bit of design work that Mark has done for me!).
The third conspirator, sorry collaborator, to join in was John Scotcher of Pearson Treehouse. Without his numerous decades of experience, I wouldn’t have got a newly branded website up and running.
Historically, being a bit of a geek, I had always done my own websites using Wordpress. So, I guess this was the hardest piece of the jigsaw to give up;, but a necessary one given the commitment to the whole project. Handing over to an expert meant that a much more professional looking website could be built that was in keeping with the brand.
I could also connect John and Mark together to collaborate between themselves on making sure there was brand consistency which was a weight off my mind and another benefit of collaborating.
The final collaborator in this rebrand project was Ashish Kumar of Web Alliance. Without his expertise in designing software that matched the way a business runs, it would not have been possible to grow my business to the level that it has, nor grow it to the next level under the new brand.
His contribution is essentially the foundation on which the current business is built on. He and his team also supported the switchover from old brand to new, again working with John and Mark to ensure consistency of brand look and feel.
As I am lucky enough to have a supportive community around me, there were other people invited in occasionally as sounding boards for the ideas that were coming out of this project. This was useful to sanity check what we were doing and to make sure it would be relevant and engage existing and new potential members of The Business Community.
Without collaboration, it is highly likely that the following would not have occurred and met the rebrand launch deadline:
- a new, powerful brand
- a clearer, consistent message to share with the world
- a feeling of confidence and success
In his desire to give credit to his collaborators, Paul has failed to mention two additional benefits. At his re-launch party last week, he handed over the platform to Kevin and Mark to explain the re-brand. The result was first a powerful endorsement of their skills and reasoning, which was a strong giving message typical of Paul.
It was an even more powerful testimonial for Paul as they consistently endorsed his services in explaining how they helped craft his message!
My question to you this week is this: If you had a big project and needed more resources or specialised skills, do you already have people in your network who can help you? Or will you have to go out and recruit them afresh?
My tip is to build your own virtual team now ... don’t wait until you need them.
If you'd like to learn more about referral marketing then do give me a call on 07970 638857 and let's have a chat and see how I can help you.