Be The Guinea Pig: A Rebranding Experiment
Our kids have always thought it perfectly normal to come home from school and find the furniture arranged differently than it had been when they left the house in the morning. I like change. And wall color? That changes regularly, too. Paint is our friend. And if a sofa, painting, photograph, knick-knack, or throw-pillow stays in the same spot for very long, I feel compelled to move it to another space so I will notice it again, see it in a different light, remember why we have it, or who gave it to us. Or just be reminded to use it for it's intended purpose.
So, when my partner Brian and I realized we were bored stiff with our own web site, we decided to do for ourselves that which we love to do for our clients … Rebrand! During the 17 years we've shared our web design & development business, my partner and I changed our company's identity every now and then. We used various iterations of our name as a company name: McAlpin Group, McAlpin Group Media Arts, MCS (McAlpin Communications Studio) *Note: we changed that name when Yahoo, then a very small company, sent a sales rep to our door to sign us up for advertising, thinking we were a start-up ISP of the same name, MCS. But, I don't think that other MCS is around anymore.
We have occasionally switched colors around in our logo. We've used different fonts, too. But mostly, we changed our business landscape by adapting our skills to changes in technology and our industry. We were early adopters of Flash and all the applications that grew to be the Adobe Creative Suite. We learned how to code for mobile devices. We even had a web app for the iPhone ready to launch soon after the Apple smart phone became available. It was listed as the top productivity app for 3 months on the Apple website.
But 17 years with more or less the same look? Snooze. We wouldn't ever recommend that to our clients! We needed a shiny, new web site. And while we were at it, we decided to give ourselves a new name as well. We decided to become a rebranding experiment ourselves... Be The Guinea Pig!
We based our new brand on concepts of growth, creativity, and the immense role of networking in both social and business relationships. And our house is painted green. Paint is our friend.
For a small business, the leap into a new brand poses some challenges such as finding the time and money to develop new marketing materials. It also means bringing current customers up to date with the new landscape while assuring them their brands, products, and services will not be undermined in anyway during this process. And the new brand should be inspiring to new customers … and blow the competition out of the water.
For Brian and me though, these challenges gave us the opportunity to re-examine how & why we are running our own agency. We took a look at our processes, habits, workflow, and even pricing in a different light. We took the time to remember why we have this set of skills and knowledge, reminded ourselves of those we learned from, and those who helped us along the way. Important mentions: Joe Fife and Denny Grim for quality introductions, Margaret Plett for years of referrals, Jim Goulding for business coaching, Attorney David von Ebers for his expertise with all things legal, to name just a few.
When we started moving ideas and colors around to design a new look for our company, we re-ignited our own passion for beautiful web design, elegantly written code, clear messaging, and for helping our clients grow their own businesses. Rebranding reminded us of our own intended purpose… to work together as a family, to be creative, to learn something new each day, to work hard, make stuff, and have fun doing it. I think our new brand represents. And looking now at our new website, I'm proud of my partner and happy to get to work each day. No snooze. Just spark!
No Guinea Pigs were harmed in the Photoshopping of this image.