If you are not a brand, you are a commodity. And the only thing that makes a commodity different is price. A brand, on the other hand, is unique. You buy brands because they’re different. I started Company Nurse more than 20 years ago as a pioneering brand. After years and the maturing of the industry, both new and existing companies began to claim they could provide similar services. We were becoming a commodity in the eyes of potential clients. So, I reached out to Kathy Heasley, a former EO member and founder of Heasley & Partners, to help Company Nurse bring back that pioneering energy. Not only did she completely change the game for us in the marketplace, but she taught me some important branding practices. Here are a few: EVALUATE YOUR NEED Ask yourself these questions and you’ll quickly find out if you could benefit from a rebrand. Is your promise measuring up to your experience and vice versa? Kathy taught me a brand is two words: the promise and the experience and that they should be the same. At Company Nurse, our promise wasn’t communicating the experience people loved. Is your brand a mirror of who you are? As we learned from Kathy, the best brands are “genuine, meaningful and different.” Though that is true of Company Nurse, it wasn’t true of our brand. That’s why we blended in with the rest. Does your team speak the brand language? We learned a brand isn’t a logo. Messaging is key because word-of-mouth is so important. Our brand message wasn’t aligned internally which meant it wasn’t aligned externally. HIRE THE RIGHT PROFESSIONALS I’ve learned the benefits of “knowing your strengths and hire for the rest.” This rebrand had to be done right. Since I’m not a branding expert, I hired someone who was—Kathy. And our choice wasn’t based simply on her expertise. We made sure she was someone who wanted to truly get to know Company Nurse and show the world how we’re different. You want your brand to relate to your clients, to be personal. To get that, you need a branding partner who gets you (and your company). In Kathy’s words, that starts with heart. BE READY TO SHARE YOUR STORY The brand always starts with your team and grows as culture. I involved our team right from the beginning to find what was genuine to us. Once we found our brand, I launched it at our annual company party. The décor, music and presentation delivered a full-blown brand experience that created excitement and buzz. Kathy then held brand immersion workshops to help team members feel the new brand and learn how to talk about it. The more consistently we talk about it, the more others will too. After our team announcement, we shared the new brand with our clients, then vendors, and finally the general public. Share your story and get the buzz buzzing. IDENTIFY YOUR PRIORITIES Rebranding everything in your organization takes time. Prioritize and set a deadline for completion. The shorter your brand is in transition, the better. We started with our website, then social media. Our trade show display and sales presentations were next, then we moved to things like on-hold messages and brand music, newsletters, brochures, reports, etc. A great brand is consistent, Kathy says. This process took several months. Kathy’s branding method is not an abstract exercise devoid of measurable results. It is a business discipline that held a mirror up to us and reflected back who we are. Strategies and next steps became apparent and already we are seeing results: more attention, more buzz, more selling opportunities, greater internal efficiencies, and a bigger bottom line.