Often there are signs it's time to rebrand: sales are sick, or your industry is in turmoil. But if business is good, should you get a check-up anyway?
Gaye carleton, 49, founded her New York City public relations company, Carleton & Co., in 1987, and business steadily grew to four employees and sales of $1 million. The firm projected a retro, tongue-in-cheek style: Its mascot was a stylized drawing of a 1950s woman, business cards featured a caricature of each employee, and chattering teeth on the Web site highlighted the firm's role as a mouthpiece. Yet Carleton had a sneaking suspicion that the company's image no longer represented her view of PR.
Initial reaction to the rebranding plans and name change was shock. After all, many entrepreneurs are so impressed with their own moniker, they can't wait to flaunt it. Carleton's years in the business had altered her perception. In fact, she felt that effective public relations was just that-a change in perception. It was time to unleash a new spirit: Mantra Public Relations. The tagline, "Empowered public relations," was a wise, calm approach better suited to today's climate than the former icon. Mantra's new logo materialized: a crimson and gold mandala, typically used as a Buddhist tool for meditation. The office was overhauled to reflect a Feng Shui approach that projected a positive force, and the redesigned Web site paid homage to traditional Zen beliefs.
The results? Long-time clients see a firm that is re-energized; prospects are dazzled by a unique perception. Sometimes the old adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is just plain wrong. Often, tuning up your brand is just what the doctor ordered.
Elizabeth J. Goodgold is CEO/chief nuancer of The Nuancing Group, a brand consulting firm in San Diego, and author of the monthly newsletter Duh! Marketing.
(212) 645-1600, www.mantrapublicrelations.com
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