How I Developed a New Business Name and Rebranded in Less than 7 Days
I want to be clear from the get-go: My brand was not built in seven days.
I quit my day job doing data entry 5 years ago to hang out my shingle as a freelance writer. At the time, I didn't even have a professional website or official portfolio; just a personal finance blog and a handful of links to share with people interested in hiring me.
Thankfully, my work spoke for itself. Despite lack of a serious and polished online presence, I quickly grew from freelance writer to content marketing contractor, and eventually wound up in a position where I headed up marketing efforts for a financial services firm.
Somewhere in between, I did manage to set up a website to attract more leads, operating under my own name at KaliHawlk.com. Although I batted around a few ideas for a business name—and it always kind of bugged me that my business didn't have it's own identity—I never committed to any of them.
But as soon as I decided to pull the trigger, there was no stopping me, and in just a week I had an entirely new business identity.
Making the Decision to Rebrand My Business
What finally convinced me was the decision to, once again, leave my full-time job—this time to pursue real entrepreneurship. I was determined to go beyond freelancing and build a legitimate business that could scale.
And that meant giving the business a name other than my own. It was important for me to start sending people to a URL that reflected the professionalism of my business and really showed off what I could do: help financial advisors communicate their value to prospective clients through compelling content and other inbound marketing strategies.
Rebranding made sense for a number of other reasons, too:
- I was on the verge of growing. Using my own name implied I was a one-person shop, but I wanted to scale the business to include an entire team of people.
- Using my name made it feel difficult to communicate about the business. It made conversations clunky and awkward—because my name itself can be clunky or awkward since it's both hard to spell and pronounce. (For the record, it's pronounced "Kay-LEE" and "Hawk," just like the bird.)
- I knew I wanted to change my name when I got married, and didn't want that switch to affect my business.
Developing a New Name
I had been halfheartedly mulling on new business names for years and nothing felt right, but now I finally decided to follow my own copywriting advice: clear is always better than clever.
Here's the steps I took to develop the new business name:
- I did a lot of brain-dumping to generate some ideas for names. I wrote out individual words that reflected my business or what I did, and then wrote out words related to those words. Then I looked up synonyms for the words I liked best. All the terms, phrases, and ideas clustered together on a page, which made it much easier to play with different combinations and options.
- Because I operate within a niche, I really ran with the conviction it was better to be clear and obvious about that. There are so few folks focusing on providing inbound marketing services specifically for financial advisors, so I bet on the fact that I could easily work to eventually rank high in search results if I put a relevant search term into my business name.
- I wrote out a list of 10 ideas I could live with (writing by hand helps when brainstorming!), sent them to my fiancé, and asked his opinion. He said, "I like this one." I said, "me too," and that was that.
That's how CreativeAdvisorMarketing.com was born. I ended up with a name that made sense to my target market and makes what I do more clear—and, even better, I could use my URL as a niche marketing tool, which allowed me to stand out in a sea of marketing professionals.
Going from Idea to Reality
Choosing the business name was step one on day one. Here's how I spent the next six to make this happen in just a week:
- [Day 1] I bought my domain name, CreativeAdvisorMarketing.com.
- [Day 1] I emailed my web developer to set up redirects and transfer my WordPress setup to a new domain.
- [Day 1] I asked my graphic designer to start working up new files so I could change my business cards.
- [Day 2-4] As I waited on replies and changes to be made, I updated my social media accounts and tried to hunt down every link to "KaliHawlk.com" that I could change immediately to CreativeAdvisorMarketing.com, like those in my social profiles or in bios for contributed articles I had written.
- [Day 2-4] I went through every piece and page of my website to change links, email addresses, and the copy itself to better align with the new brand I wanted to show off to the world.
- [Day 5] I set up an email address under the new domain and made sure all my old emails would funnel to the new inbox. Then I sent an email to clients and important connections in my network to announce the rebrand.
- [Day 6] I started marketing the rebrand to a wider audience. I scheduled social media posts and drafted an email to my community to share the changes.
- [Day 7] I published a long blog post about the whole thing, using my story to help show off my abilities and inspire my target clients.
What Happened—and What I Learned
So far, the rebrand has been a complete success. The last few months of the year were the best yet for the business, in terms of both revenue and milestones passed (like hiring our first employee!).
The best thing I got from the process was proof that done really is better than perfect. Planning is, ultimately, only guessing. Putting something out into the world and then iterating once it's real is so much better than just chewing on ideas forever but never making anything.
But if I had to do it over again, yes, I probably would try to slow down and have been a little more tactical in what I did. I could have done a better job marketing the rebrand and leveraging the change as a lead generator. I probably could have come up with stronger ideas had I taken the time to review them with a critical eye and gather more feedback before moving full steam ahead.
I might also consider all the ways I could have been just a little more clever with my rebrand, including incorporating unique top level domains into my name. There might still be time to grab something like AdvisorMarketing.PRO—unless, of course, you beat me to it!