The Road to Rebranding

Shelby Barnes by Shelby Barnes | January 4, 2016

As a strategic communications and marketing expert, when a client asks for my help on a corporate branding project, I’m honored to be part of such an intimate journey. When that client is also an expert in strategic communications and storytelling — like the team at Curley Company — I’m both honored and impressed.

I’m impressed because as professionals who guide others through the process of defining and telling their own stories and identifying the core essence of their brands, it’s natural to believe we can perform this delicate act on ourselves. “We do it all the time for other people! How hard can it be?”

The reality is, it’s not only hard — it’s nearly impossible to lead our own branding process.

Why? First, no matter how much we try to remove ourselves from the equation, we can’t see or experience ourselves the way others do. Our perceptions are clouded by our personal knowledge or excuses of why we are the way we are.

Second, in order to get the full picture of how we show up and work with others, we need to be vulnerable and ask our clients and other stakeholders for direct feedback.

Finally, we need to be prepared to respond to that feedback and adjust our business actions and brand promises accordingly.

When Curley Company embarked on the brave journey to revisit their brand promise and update their current marketing materials, they agreed to be patient with the process, open to the feedback and willing to learn about themselves through the lens of their customers and their competitors. If necessary, they also agreed to adjust their business actions in order to be the type agency partner their clients needed them to be.

Ironically, when it came to areas of improvement, the feedback was unanimous: Curley Company clients wanted to learn more about the variety of services the agency provides and were often surprised to learn the depth of the agency’s offerings. This is ironic, of course, because the team spends its days helping others market their stories to the people who need to hear them most and learned it has some work to do when it comes to marketing its own story.

With regard to praise, the feedback was also unanimous and helped the team narrow in on the true essence of their brand:

“If you need to understand policy makers, influencers and the culture of D.C., Curley Company brings a very thoughtful approach.”

“They are strategic thinkers who understand the big picture.”

“The Curley team is a pleasure to work with a very responsive, can-do attitude.”

“No one competes with them on events.”

“They do what they say they’re going to do.”

Congratulations to the Curley Company team as they launch their new site and start the next chapter. Thank you to the clients and stakeholders whose honest feedback served as motivation and fuel to exceed expectations!

Shelby Barnes, founder of Mile 23 Strategies, is a communications strategist with more than 20 years of experience helping business leaders create and tell stories with impact.