Rebranding an Unknown Brand

Penned by Samantha Chizanga

Whoa, whoa, whoa. What is this? Some of you (no one) may have noticed our name on social media changed, our logo grew up a bit.

Naming and Rebranding

Changing the name of the company was a huge debate. Maybe a bigger debate than deciding I no longer wanted to do what I first sought out to do. If you’re just joining us for the rollercoaster that is small business, my apologies in advance… a lot is happening.

TL; DR - In December of last year I came to the conclusion that I did not want to do what I was doing as a business, in January the reality truly settled in. March waltzed in, and I told the world (and myself) that we were over it. April, I rebranded.

What do you do when you want to rebrand? If you're anything like me you'll do the following.

  1. Doubt yourself.
  2. Ask everyone if you’re crazy?
  3. Doubt yourself some more.
  4. Introspect.
  5. Stop doubting yourself.
  6. Do it.

The dilemma;

Over the years the projects I have created have adorned many names. The Average Chef, The Blackest Chef, Brazen Culinarian, and then Black Culinarian just to name a few. I know I seem indecisive and that’s because I am (sorry Gary V.). Each name did three things that could have positive or negative consequences;

  1. They all centered me. I was always the focus and “the star”. That works great if you’re Oprah, but I’m not Oprah. Yet. It left no room to bring in other creative energy. I didn’t want to be the brand.
  2. It told the customer who I was before they could even interact with me – this isn’t a bad thing (other than “average” … self- deprecation much?) but this didn’t allow me to be anything other than the name. An average chef with exceptional capabilities? A brazen chef who sometimes is meek and timid?
  3. Perception vs. Intention- It told my audiences that I only wanted to be in one space and one space at a time. Whoa. I know what you’re thinking. I love being black. I also love existing in a world that includes a lot of other very talented cultures, ethnicities, and races. This may work for other spaces and I support those spaces wholeheartedly because we do need them. Representation matters and it starts with us creating what we want to create. I know what I want to create will rely on us and be more than just us.

The debate;

What’s the saying? A chicken nugget by any other name is just as delicious? You have an audience that knows you and your brand very well. You are more than a name. We place tonnes of weight into the name of our company; we can call our community fun names, we put it on everything – business cards, emails, your body. You want to be recognizable and it powerful, one of a kind. We create vision boards and invest a lot of effort into the name.  Will people still know me? Will they still care? Give them the benefit of the doubt.

The solution;

If it feels right and you want to rebrand, do it. Be clear about your change, let your audience know that this change is happening and stick by it. Those people who support what YOU do, will follow YOU to the ends of the earth and not because you have a cool, hip name. You provide your services, values, and reputation. A rebrand does not mean that you are abandoning everything you built your company on, it means you’re writing a new novel in the series of books that will become your Tolkien trilogy.

The result;

You've changed. Change is inevitable and is the force that keeps your business moving. I mean, Google used to be called BackRub and Yahoo used to be called Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web so if they can do it… so can you.

Here is what I have learned from my mistakes if you read nothing else;

Make and keep it simple. One word companies usually win.
Apple. Microsoft. McDonalds. Walmart. Nabisco. Shopify. Netflix. Disney. Culinarian.

I rest my case.

Much love.

Samantha

Founder

Culinarian & Co.



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