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Rebranding a Branding Company

By Ryan Rieches

After 20 years as RiechesBaird, we are now BrandingBusiness.  This is a big change that reflects our company’s growth and our aspirations for the future. We believe B2B executives and business leaders are looking for a new standard in branding and we want to deliver on that.

But big changes at any company aren’t easy. As I’ve shared our news with clients, partners, and friends, they all want to know: What is it like for a branding company to rebrand itself? To take its own medicine?

I tell them—and I can confess here —it was a good and necessary exercise but the “medicine” wasn’t always easy to swallow. Parting the curtain a bit on our process, I can share some reminders about rebranding:

  • Change is hard for everyone. We have seen many executives wring their hands as they debate a rebranding strategy and a new name. Getting everyone on the same page takes time.  As an executive team, our strategic planning sessions were intense and filled with lively debates. The decision to change a company name is not made easily—especially when there are founders’ names on the door.

    It took some time for our staff to adjust as well. When we shared our vision and rebranding plans with our team, we were surprised by the initial reaction by some longtime employees who felt especially attached to the RiechesBaird brand. My kids, meanwhile fretted that a name change might mean they can’t someday join the family business. It took some time to convince everyone that our “family” just got bigger as our new name is more inclusive and sets everyone up to win.

    It is now easier for me to relate to clients in service industries such as law and accounting where we have recommended dropping partner’s names in order to form a stronger brand name. I applaud their willingness to see the bigger picture and have witnessed the benefits of internal alignment and business growth as a result.

  • Branding is the art of sacrifice. If a company wants to be well known for one thing, it must let other things go. We’ve had a long-standing focus on B2B but if there was ever a time to expand into a broader offering it was now. We debated it. We’ve had many industry veterans remind us that we are missing significant consumer branding opportunities due to our stated focus on B2B. But our B2B focus allows us to be extremely relevant to equally significant business brands. We have a saying: The narrower the focus, the stronger the brand. We ask our clients to trust this concept and we believe it wholeheartedly. We are staying true to that mission.
  • What’s in a name? A lot.  RiechesBaird sprang to life in 1994 as an ad agency. After a few years we evolved our focus to brand strategy and I, personally, began to see the limitations of a last name like Rieches.  It is a name that is often misspelled and mispronounced, hardly representative of best practices in corporate naming. Sure, we could have kept that name but it was time for Ray Baird and me to let go of our egos and think about a bigger idea—an idea that becomes a platform for accelerated growth, recognizes new partners, and allows the company to flourish in new markets. As we take our names off the door, it’s the end of a chapter but the exciting beginning of a new story.
  • Re-branding brings people together. Once we agreed on the new name and brand strategy, the executive team was energized and our enthusiasm spread through the company. We included everyone in the rebranding process, building upon individual strengths and challenging one another to stretch beyond our typical day jobs to write content for our new web site, ramp up our social media efforts, and create a new corporate look. We built BrandingBusiness together and, in the process, that teamwork helped rally employees,  create strong brand, and build a better business.

Now we’re all relieved we didn’t get “RB” tattoos  a couple of years ago—an idea that seemed like a good group activity after a cocktail or two. Time now, team, for “BB” tats?