2018 was the year we brought all of our brands under one umbrella. I have 4 main websites, and 20 secondary websites. I also have tertiary websites, of which there are many… We decided we'd bring in an external expert to help with us. This is our re-Branding love story.
Who Are We?
Most people would say that they know all about me, I'm a prolific blogger famous for my 30-day blogging challenge. I eat Jaffa Cakes, drink Diet Coke and read a lot of books. They'd say I'm always busy (usually said by people who want me to drop everything at their command rather than book time in my diary) and there may be a mention of the dog, or my daughters.
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Only, I've always done more than the blogging challenge. I've not touched a Jaffa Cake since 2015. I've had caffeine in any form for almost a year, but I do read a lot of books. 75% of what people thought they knew was wrong, out of date and didn't reflect our business ethics.
Our life is a very calm existence. Very Hygge. We do pretty much everything together, from work to cooking and that's where we hit our biggest stumbling block. The people we spoke to wanted to make me a personal brand. They wanted to cut out the heart of our business- Kevin. Despite reassurances that you can build a personal brand with two people, no one could give us an example beyond Ant and Dec. Did we want to be the Ant and Dec of the online training world? Hell no.
Back to the who are we question… Well, we both live our lives according to Eastern Philosophies and Buddhist principles. However, we don't define ourselves by this, but we did want to reflect some of this in our Brand. We're a family business with 3 out of 4 members of the family attending martial arts. And me, the 4th member will be taking it up soon. Because we do things together. Family is important to us. It's no good saying this and not doing it. We're beyond that. But what we spoke about didn't reflect our strong family values. We live and breathe something so passionately, held it so tightly that no one else saw. We thought we were being private but the truth is we didn't want to share the very things that made us who we are.
Finally, we're not a new business or even a young business. We've marketed our businesses online since 2006. Anything we do as a re-brand will take time. We have nearly 50 sites, and thousands of pieces of content to update to the new Brand. It wasn't going to be something we could do overnight, although in my heart that's how long I thought it would take…
Who we help
Once we'd sorted out our business values and the fact we were not a personal brand the next step was to determine who we help. And we went around in circles over and over and over until we distilled it down into a few things:
- Our clients are ethical – They do what they teach and they do it with grace, integrity and dignity. They don't steal or cheat. They don't diminish others.
- They believe. What they believe is down to them, but all of the people we work with have a strong faith and belief system. Pretty much all of them keep it to themselves for their own reasons and we totally respect that.
- They have an online-offline business. They don't solely operate online
- They believe in family – supporting their loved ones with all their heart
- They're in a happy relationship if they're in a relationship
- They're over 35 and they read books. Lots of them. Or they listen to books.
- They travel. They love the world. They love exploring.
- They're positive but don't sugar coat things
- They learn, try and apply
- Like us, they work hard and play harder. They're focused.
Our clients are great people. They do incredible things. They are amazing, wonderful human beings that are a pleasure to be around. Who you don't work with is just as important as who do you…
Who we don't work with
- Personal development coaches with no products and no services
- Those that like to steal content and programs
- Those who think content is a waste of time (life is too short to educate them)
- Those who think the world owes them a living
- Those who think they're entitled.
- Those that want to be a famous Brand, more famous than Persil or a celebrity anyone/thing rather than doing what they actually do.
- Those that want to use us as a status symbol – when we work together we're a partnership, not a trophy.
- Those that can't make a decision unless they've run it by 17 other coaches, the runes and their cat. If you're reading this and laughing then we'd probably get on fine. But if you're frowning then we're not your people. Move on.
- Spiritual people who feel compelled to convert me.
- Those that are not honest with us or themselves.
- Those that are unhappy in their relationships – it spills over into their work and I just don't want to listen to the stories of their affairs etc. Get a friend. Or a therapist. Or both.
- Those that just don't want to do the work. Everything is work. Everything can be made fun. Some of it's boring. It still has to be done. Like washing up or emptying the bins. If you want to whine about the work I'm not your person.
- Needy people who micro-manage. I've tried. I just won't. Working with micromanagers is exhausting. If someone has to message me every single day then they need therapy for their attachment issues. I can recommend someone.
How do we help them?
We help them with their systems, their strategy and understanding their customers and how this will help them generate more sales. We train them in digital marketing skills, as well as marketing skills in general. We work together as a community and solo. We map a strategic plan with our clients for their business goals and then help them get to the outcome. We believe that science and data will show us the way. We believe in planning / doing /being in this order.
What do they need to work with us?
Focus. If someone is chasing so much shiny and they don't understand their audience then they won't get the results. For example, if a client drops their long-term content strategy to go newsjacking without understanding the risks and implications. It can be as simple as mixing the advice of two people or as complex as the client being pressured into action because they crave immediate results (don't we all?) and undermining their own success. Focus is essential. The rest is learned behaviour.
We also consulted with an alignment specialist. Kevin worked with him to get the brand feel elements so they could be conveyed to the consultant.
As you can see we did a lot of Brand-Storming then we handed it all over to our consultant with the instructions it must include skylines and cityscapes of London whilst being fluid like clouds or water. It must be clean and simple yet vibrant like the city. It must have shades of red and blue.
All of this took 4 weeks.
Back came the logo for this site. It was love at first sight. The 3 colours are the core colours for all of our sites. To the right of the text are the Ls stacked, but if you look at them again you will see that they're also an arrow pointing down and to the left.
This led to the Online Visibility Academy:
Same colours, same fonts. Directional arrows looking left and right to form hexagons that look like Os. Both designs capture the fluidity we are looking for. This too was love at first sight.
Next up – The Business Success Dojo:
Again the Brand colours and fonts, but this time the sword swishes were adding rather than letters made of arrows. We both loved that the swishes added the feel of water. More love at first sight. I start to think I love too easily…
The next step was for us to sleep on things, and add the branding out on our sites and materials.
What didn't work (or what re-Branding highlighted)
This branding couldn't align with my Sark site. It wasn't for the lack of trying. My heart hasn't been in that site since 2014 and I've been letting it go slowly ever since. When the designs come back with the brand elements it just confirmed what I'd always known – Sark had to go. It doesn't reflect us fully. Which isn't a surprise because it was my site built on my whims even though it was meant to be the both of us. It was always my playground and by the sheer amount of playing that I did, it quickly became an authority for something it wasn't intended to.
The fonts work perfectly for the logo and headers, but not so much for the text on the screen or PDFs. The Questrial font on an A4 PDF looks like an unreadable wall of text. PDFs now have a different font – Open Sans – for the reading part and so does the website. The main headers are still Playfair.
The headers and footers for the slides and PDFs didn't last very long either.
Whilst I loved the elegant simplicity of the first one, clients wanted the arrows in the design. In fact, 100% of the people when asked what was missing replied “arrows”.
In the interim, I used this with the chevrons making arrows. But it made my eyes hurt.
Through experimenting and feedback, we reached
This had an additional pink added to the arrows, which I'm not fond of, but our audience preferred it.
We started this journey in January 2018, and the logos were finished and in place by March 2018. We built this site in the new brand design, and the Business Success Dojo, and finally we did the Online Visibility Academy. It was branding the Academy that gave us the most headaches. We loved Zippy Courses but it no longer was meeting our needs and wasn't compatible with ThriveCart our shopping cart. So we moved into AccessAlly Pro. This gave us more of the tools for the experience we need to create for our clients. Sadly we couldn't move the content across as we wanted, so we tore down the site on Good Friday and started work on the new look site.
By Easter Monday the site was back open, built on Divi and Kevin and his army of VAs started reloading the courses.
It was at this point we released that we needed to re-do a lot of our programs to align them with our program standards. We needed to ensure a consistent experience across them all. For example, all of our programs should have
- A welcome video from the main trainer,
- An introduction to the topic,
- Learning objectives, resources, tools and a bonus area.
- There should be one quiz per module to test understanding.
- Every course should have an action plan, a course book and the appropriate number of exercise sheets.
Whilst the training is excellent, not everything met our course standards outlined above. We needed the style guide to assist this recreation, but that wasn't quite ready…
It took until August 2018 to finalise the style guide with the addition of a new font.
Yup. A new font was added to the style guide. This was for the printables and planners that are physically printed. It's called Santorini and it's a handwriting font which I hate with a passion.
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Almost as much as I hate the pale pink arrows above. It's used sparingly and only on the products that require printing and their product shots.
Hate With a Passion?
You may have noticed I've said this a few times. Why keep things that I don't care for? Again, this is about having a brand that the audience connects with. They can see and instinctively get who we are. They feel the vibrancy of the city through the image and associate it with us. I am a vibrant human being. They can see and feel the fluidity and the whole feel of the content is strong and dynamic like Kevin and myself.
There's enough of us in the Branding that one or two things that aren't 100% loved won't dilute the impact. In fact, they enhance the overall feel. It's the audience – our ideal clients – that's important here. It's why elegant was ditched and more arrows added!
As it took us 8 months to get to this stage, the next step was formalising the style guide. Once this document was created, it meant that branding items could be handed over to an assistant. She could then create a list of course and programs, tell me what was missing and I'd create the missing parts. Then she'd brand them and upload them.
The final piece of the puzzle came into play in October. We brought in a management consultant to go through our customer experience and highlight the flaws. One 30-page report later I felt like crying and giving up. Our onboarding experience had collapsed with all the works, and customers weren't being onboarded correctly. Their welcome packets weren't being sent out and they were not experiencing a smooth and seamless experience. They were muddling through and working it out. Ouch.
Are Customer Service tools worth the investment?
We installed Live Agent on sites with products. We streamlined all the communication channels into this and stopped conversations in our personal Facebook messengers. Everything now goes through Live Agent, and communications is managed far more effectively.
Beamer was installed on the Academy so those that unsubbed from the onboarding could still be updated with site news and updates. This proved to be a wise decision and lots of trainees started to ask about why we were working so hard to engage them. They loved the improved customer service.
The onboarding emails were redone, rebranded and assigned correctly. Links were checked and checked again. And I finally started to feel like I could stop holding my breath and breathe out again…
Of course, now we needed to test our systems and put them under pressure to see if they'd hold up. In November we enrolled 135 additional students into the Online Visibility Academy.
They put Thrive Cart through its paces, and stampeded through the onboarding and used Live Agent whenever they had an issue. It was sublime. The customer service was faultless and the experience better than we'd hoped.
It works better than ever.
How much did we invest in the entire project? £15,000. Of which £10,000 was labour costs. We went through some VAs. Some didn't have the skills we needed, some needed more hand-holding than I was prepared to give, but most of them were simply fantastic. We are now down to two full-time assistants who work predominantly on branding and editing product materials so that I can focus on client work and our new programs.
During this re-branding time, we enrolled 1060 additional new students into the Online Visibility Academy. 99% of them are happy. The 1% of them that weren't satisfied was curious about this project – why did it take so long? Why fix something that wasn't broken?
- It is broken if people couldn't see what an integral part of the business Kevin is.
- If people couldn't tell what we did beyond blogging it is broken.
- If we couldn't give an incredible digital training experience – it is broken.
Our Online Visibility Academy has been rebuilt from the ground up to make learning easier and action easier to take. We highlight the advantages people gain when they train with us, and focus the trainee on a distraction-free learning experience.
Re-Branding & a new pricing structure.
It was in November when we realised that we had no specific pricing structure. We have programs from £17 to £1497 but no clear way to show the value in each so a comparison could be made.
We created a sales page template (you can see it here https://www.thebusinesssuccessdojo.com/keyword-kaizen). We included all the sales page essentials, and added a set of FAQs. Here we address the pricing and why the programs are so affordable.
We also discovered we didn't have a signature program. Sure, I have great programs like 30-in-30 (one participant hasn't stopped taking bookings since she started implementing this strategy) and the Leads program (the course that's launched 112 traffic generating podcasts), but nothing that when someone says our names that the signature program's name immediately follows.
What happens next?
In streamlining the brand, we've refocused our energies and they're directed 100% on attracting the right people to us, our programs and services. We're developing a signature program, and continuing to update our content.
What I have noticed in sharing this epic re-branding love story with you is that many people would've quit before completion.
- I felt like quitting when I realised that Sark wouldn't fit as there's a tiny part of me that wanted to squash it and make it integrate.
- I felt like quitting when I realised the extent of the work to be done on the Online Visibility Academy
- I was ready to throw it all in the bin when I became aware of the onboarding collapse.
- Paying the invoices for huge sums of money made me question my judgment a million times
But we saw it through. Sure it could've been done quicker, but it wouldn't have been done better!
The end result is we have the strongest re-brand that reflects our company values, is attractive to our ideal clients and gives over a warm and welcoming vibrancy.
Want to share your rebranding stories in the comments?