To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.
We did it! After months of talking, meeting, redefining, trying, implementing, and, yes, ultimately changing, we’ve officially launched the first step of our company-wide refresh. Our new, under-construction home page, blog listing page, and the blogs themselves are just the first glimpse of the full project to come.
But, why? Well, you see, back in 2010 when Community Elf started we were all about social media management. What does that mean? We primarily managed brands’ social media presence, as that was where the greatest value could be created.
As the world of digital marketing evolved, the value that could previously be found in social media alone disappeared. The greatest need was no longer just in social media; it was in the combination of digital marketing tactics executed in a coordinated fashion to complete a full digital marketing strategy.
To meet this challenge, we’ve become so much more than just social media managers. We’ve become digital marketing implementers, and we’ve grown to love that role. However, the one thing that stayed stuck in 2010 was our website and messaging. So, we decided it was time to change it.
Now that we’ve had a weekend to sit back and enjoy the glow of first impressions on our new branding, we thought we’d take the time to reflect on the process that has surrounded this change. Yes, we know, another cliché blog explaining a company’s refresh. But we’d like to think that, from this, you’ll be able to learn from some of the mistakes we made along the way. And, if you’re an agency that primarily does strategy, you’ll likely get a chuckle at some of our missteps!
Stop, Collaborate, and Listen
Who would have ever thought that Vanilla Ice’s masterpiece (that’s right, we’re controversial) would have such wise words of advice in it? We certainly didn’t when we embarked on this massive project. That was our first mistake. Redefining what our company stands for and determining the look we want was not a one-person job, although it did seem like it started that way.
We divided this massive project up into smaller pieces, and each of us on our three-person team took a stab at them simultaneously in order to get the whole thing done as quickly as possible. When we all came together, however, the cracks between the disconnected efforts started to show. Our individual pieces didn’t create the glorious, completed puzzle that we had imagined. Divide and conquer wasn’t going to get us there, at least not completely.
So we took our mess of a puzzle, broke it down into its key components, and scrapped the rest. We then took the entire team, sat down in many meetings, and consolidated visions (with only a small amount of name calling) to create a “Brand Bible” that we all agreed upon. And there it was: Community Elf as a brand, defined.
Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
While these collaborative meetings weren’t always fun and games, we absolutely had a few laughs along the way. The one thing we took seriously throughout this process? Standing by the old tenet of creativity: there are no stupid ideas.
Not every idea pitched was a winner. There was the entirely too simple and somewhat confusing tag line “We do your digital.” The controversial company argument of “Beyonce vs. J-Lo - Who wins?” and others that we’ll leave off the list entirely so as not to harm our reputation too much. Taking the good with the bad, and with a few laughs along the way, we were able to articulate our newly crystallized brand identity. Gems like “We are a company that believes dress codes are for cruise ship dinners” wouldn’t have come to be if we had done it any other way.
Eat Your Own Dog Food
Content marketing: We know it works. We preach it from the rooftops to our clients and anyone else who will listen. However, no matter how much we believe deep down in our Elven souls that consistent, credible implementation of a strong digital marketing strategy is the key to success, we fell into many of the same pitfalls that many marketing organizations do: We were one of our own worst clients.
How could we expect someone to believe we're the experts in executing digital marketing strategies and leading their customers through the ideal buyer's journey if we’re not doing it ourselves? Ideally, our client should come to us talking about how our own digital marketing efforts drew them in, and that they want us to apply the same knowledge and skills to their marketing efforts.
In short, it was time to hold ourselves accountable to practice what we preach. We decided to ensure the proper amount of time was dedicated to our own content marketing efforts by creating an internal service order of sorts. What does that mean for us? We are now our own client and our own account manager. We’ll be sure to keep you apprised of any golden nuggets we identify along the way.
Now we’re on to the second phase of our rebrand and website development. We have our basic copy written and our design elements created. Now, to put them together, cohesively. With the lessons we’ve learned, we are confident in the future success of this effort. We’ll likely be back with another blog talking about our stumbles and how we got right back up to better describe our vision, philosophy, and results to the online community. And we plan to always continue to serve as a resource to those looking to translate strategy to execution.
Speaking of being a resource, click below to receive our latest resource and check to see if your strategy and implementation are aligned!