Transforming Businesses Into Brands: Why You Get What You Pay For.

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BrandMakerNews caught up with entrepreneur, Lisa Jennings, to talk about her experience branding Wildly Different. Her company that creates team building and networking activities for corporate groups. Since launching in 2003, she rebranded her company three times before finally getting the brand she envisioned. Now she’s sharing her experience and lessons learned, to help you build a successful brand…the first time around. Read on, and take notes!

Tell us about your branding journey, and why it took three times to get it right?

As a start up in 2003 – the first time we got our logo created – we were more concerned with price than results! We used an online company to create our logo and stationary for $500. You get what you pay for!

The second time we rebranded, in 2005, we paid a professional designer to create our logo. We were much happier with the look, but although the designer made us look good, no real thought went into the branding. For instance, no thought went into changing our tagline, which was “creating unique event experiences.” Potential clients were confused. They weren’t sure if we were an event / party planner (which we’re not), or what kind of “experiences” we were offering. Â And, with a company name like Wildly Different, we get a lot of people fantasizing about what kind of experiences we can offer (think “Girls Gone Wild”)!

We just completed a rebranding and launched a new website that communicates our message more clearly.

What motivated you to finally opt for professional branding?

We really needed an objective and professional opinion on how to communicate our message. We were too close to our company. For instance, the reason we used the tagline “creating unique event experiences” is in our industry, planners who use our services refer to our activities as team building events. However, people who aren’t in the know got confused by the term “event.” Our professional marketing company and designer made us realize that we should refer to them as activities / games and we shouldn’t be calling them events.

Also, when we created our previous website, we weren’t sure what our strongest market would be, so we threw everything on the site – need an activity for a bar mitvah? We can do that. Need an activity for a birthday party? We can do that. The problem is, most guests looking for bar mitvah, birthday party and other leisure activities do not want to pay our rates, which start at $2,000 and climb significantly from there. The team building / corporate message got lost on the site. 99.9% of our business comes from corporate clients seeking out team building or networking activities, so our marketing company helped us hone in on that message. For instance, our new tagline is “playing outside the cubicle,” a play on the term “think outside the box” that also incorporates a corporate reference to cubicles. Also, because we are colorful, they researched what colors would most appeal to our target market, and created many different colorful looks for our logo.

What advice would you offer other entrepreneurs who are thinking about branding their company’s look?

You may save money in the short term if you don’t use a professional. However, think about how much money you’ll lose if potential clients aren’t attracted to your brand, or worse yet don’t “get” what it is you do. Spend the money!

What stands out the most about your new brand?

There are a lot of different types of team building companies out there. Â Our consultant was able to unearth what made us different and build on that in our brand. We do not offer serious facilitation; rather most of our activities are play-based. Therefore, they developed a fun, quirky look for us. For instance, they created a mascot for us, a rabbit called Wild Harry (to build off of our name and the term Wild Hare) that communicates a playful, light-hearted message on our website. We’ll also be using him in other marketing efforts, such as on T-shirts we giveaway to clients after our events. Finding someone who understands what you do and what you’re all about is critical.

Special thanks to Lisa Jennings, Chief Experience Officer, Wildly Different, www.wildlydifferent.com

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