Brand Study 101: Modern Separations
Introducing a new blog series, Brand Studies 101 - a look into branding, how it varies, and what it could look like for you.
Each guest will walk you through their story, their brand, the tweaks they've made or hired out, and the outcome of their efforts.
It is our hope that this series empowers you to take you branding to new heights and helps you make your vision for your business crystal clear.
Let me introduce you to our guest today and our new series:
Approximately 7 months into my business, it occurred to me that the name and colours I had chosen were not accurately conveying the uniqueness of my services or invoking the feelings that I wanted potential clients to experience when they came across my brand.
When I wrapped my head around this rather inconvenient realization, I set about a two-month process of distilling the core values and benefits of my business to come up with a brand that would truly resonate with people.
In May 2016, I left my job as a divorce attorney in the traditional adversarial system to create a system that would allow healthier transitions for separating couples. My thinking at the time was that I should include my name to capitalize on my reputation and include a description of my service – and so, I named my business Vinters Family Mediation. Pretty catchy, right? Not so much. Also, it turned out to be a hindrance that people have trouble with spelling and pronouncing my last name. This means that I was making it harder for recommendations to roll off the tongue.
Over time, I realized that I wanted my business name to convey to people that what I’m offering is different from the average divorce attorney. I also noticed through talking to clients in the first several months that they were not specifically seeking “mediation” but rather they were looking for a quick, comfortable and cost-effective alternative to the slow, stressful and expensive court system. They were seeking a good solution for how to handle their separation. They were looking for the outcome, not the process.
I also wanted to people to have an immediate positive association with the name and for the name to be memorable.
Lastly, I found that other divorce professionals kept approaching me with questions about how I built a successful mediation practice so quickly. It became clear that there was a need for teaching and consulting in this area that I’d like to fill. Because of this, my business name was both too broad (“family” was not as specific as “separation” or “divorce”) and too specific (“mediation” did not encompass teaching and consulting.
I went through an intensive analysis and brainstorming using feedback from clients, my own goals and values, and responses from friends and colleagues.
What makes my service beneficial and unique? Here’s what I came up with:
Decades of research shows that extended exposure to conflict is harmful in both the short-term and the long-term for adults and their children. In alignment with modern insight, mediation provides a structure for quick, comfortable and healthy resolution of conflict.
In this era when we can do things like 24/7 online shopping and video chats with friends on the other side of the world, we are used to ultra-efficiency. I apply the modern conveniences of flexible scheduling and use of technology to achieve a highly-focused separation process. As a result of my unique approach, the vast majority of my clients sign a comprehensive Separation Agreement within one month.
The traditional billable hour in the legal industry causes a huge amount of uncertainty for clients. I have removed this layer of stress for my clients by providing a new flat fee pricing structure.
The common thread through the above analysis was that my process is different from the traditional system. It’s a new take on a number of different levels. It’s modern!
I also asked what feeling do I want potential clients to have when they see my brand? I decided that I want them to feel trust, calmness, kindness, warmth, comfort, reliability, and professionalism.
The new name I chose is [insert drumroll…] Modern Separations.
The colours that I chose for my original logo were black, gray and turquoise. I have to admit that I chose based on personal preference rather than strategically. The black and shades of gray turned out to be appropriate and I included them in my new logo: some of the ideas they convey are professionalism, reliability, and complexity.
However, the turquoise I chose (only because it’s one of my favourite colours) was too bright and didn’t have the emotional tone I was seeking. I decided to add a warm tan-coloured circle to create more warmth, comfort and approachability.
Here are the before and after logos:
For me, undertaking the re-branding involved making changes to the following:
Professional liability insurance
Name on corporate bank account
Social media profiles
Business cards & brochures
I was initially overwhelmed by the thought of changing everything but really most of the changes were digital and not that big of a deal.
The new branding has been extremely well-received! I have received countless compliments and actual gushing about the name (which is a thrill – people don’t normally get excited about the divorce business!) People who I thought understood my business model before have now approached me since the launch of the re-brand with accolades about the service I’m providing.
They obviously now have a deeper understanding of my business. The concept is truly resonating with people. They get it. Whereas my previous business name was bland and descriptive, the new name evokes an emotional response.
I only launched the re-brand about a week ago so the ROI is yet to be determined but I am confident from the initial response that the effort and cost will have been well worth it. I have already received more inquiries about my services than in previous months and I’ve made many new connections with people as a result of the promotion around the re-brand. The re-brand was a great opportunity to have a concentrated spotlight on the business during launch week.
If you’re finding that your name, logo or general branding is not quite right, I highly recommend doing the deep work of uncovering the core of your brand and then making sure your visual representation matches up with the uniqueness and benefits of your offerings! A polished look that evokes the desired emotional response will be a huge benefit to your business.
Here's Christina's before and after:
If you'd like to work with us on making your branding crystal clear, schedule a call with us today! www.thehigginscreative.com/call
Christina Vinters is a Chartered Mediator, “ex” Divorce Lawyer, Author, and ADR Business Consultant. She provides online services to clients across much of Canada and the United States. Connect at www.facebook.com/modernseparations and download a complimentary copy of her critically-acclaimed book Pathways to Amicable Divorce at www.modernseparations.com/book