In comic books, there’s this trend to “take things back to the beginning.” I’ve been reading comics for over 36 years, and ever since I’ve read interviews with comic writers and artists, that’s one of those cliche lines that come up over and over again. And yet, it’s necessary. Storylines get cluttered. New fans can’t identify with the characters. Things get all junked up. Relaunches lead to improved sales, more new readers, and many other beneficial boosts to the companies who try them. The old faithful readers of such comics rarely get too upset, and for that small percentage that a publisher loses, the newcomers more than make up for it in attrition.
Brands refresh all the time. Sometimes, it works well. Other times, we push back and decry the change. Beyond a new site design, which doesn’t hurt matters (and if you’re thinking a site design, might I refer you to these great premium WordPress themes – affiliate link?), what might also help is starting fresh with your audience, and retelling your story from the basics.
What’s the stripped down, back-to-basics story of what you do, what you stand for, who you are? How would you tell that story to your audience? How do you tell it on your blog? And what does it look like in under 140 characters?
Starting fresh is somewhat harder than it seems sometimes, but the effort is really important. If you ran, for instance, the Colonnade Hotel in Boston, my favorite hotel in Boston, what story would you tell anew for people who have forgotten who you are and what you mean for travelers? If you’re a solo business selling some service, how do you tell your story in such a way that it resonates with your prospective audience?
Do people even really understand what you do these days? This was a question that Joe Sorge came up with for Kitchen Table Talks yesterday, and I found myself smiling, realizing that what I do has shifted over the last few months, and that when I do my own company’s retelling, people will scratch their head and think, “Huh, I didn’t know that’s where he’d gone with all that stuff.” (That’s simultaneously an opportunity plus a problem: you don’t want your colleagues and/or prospect base to think one thing and you are doing another.)
A Refresh Isn’t Amnesia
To refresh and start with your “back to basics” doesn’t mean to turn a sharp left and leave behind everything you had been doing up to that point. If certain elements in your story have evolved and become a very common part of what people know about you and your business, those parts can’t just vanish without some kind of “reimagining” of the landscape. For instance, if you started out as a burger joint, but then added Mexican food and Viking food and Thai food to the menu, if you’ve decided that you’re going back to being a burger joint, maybe you’ll keep a taco burger, a fish burger and a pad thai burger, to at least nod your head in the direction of the change.
Tell The Story Often
Your opportunity is to tell your story in such a way that your community gathers around that story and feels it to be their own. This is the best of all worlds. Anyone from the biggest and most complex brand down to the freelance marketing associate looking for extra work has an obligation to tell the story of what you offer and how you can help in such a way that others feel like they’re part of the experience. If [chrisbrogan.com] is anything, it’s a place where we talk with each other about what lies beyond social media and marketing, and what matters most in being human and deriving value from our relationships. That’s something you get to take with you after you read these posts. It’s always written such that you can make the story yours. Do that for your audience, too.
Start Fresh And Grow
Rethink yourself quite thoroughly before you choose to refresh. This kind of cutting and retelling works best when you’ve asked yourself a lot of questions and when you’ve sat with the potential new story for a while. Once you’ve got it boiled down, sit with it a while longer, because you’ll find that it can be refined even more. Somewhere, along the way, you’ll find yourself nestled back into a fresh, clean, simple story that everyone will understand.
What would YOUR refresh look like? Have you thought about it?