A successful brand strategy can take time to develop, allowing for adjustments in reaction to feedback and performance. Julian Baladurage of MBJ London – a website-as-a-service (WaaS) provider that also offers digital marketing services – explained how listening to MBJ's customers resulted in him and his team completely rebranding their business.

We run a successful website-as-a-service (WaaS) agency that offers digital marketing services, search engine optimisation and social media marketing. However, it was not all rosy when we first ventured into this line of business. We encountered a few obstacles along the way, which ultimately led to us rebranding our company.

About 18 months ago, we underwent a brand transformation to change our focus and increase our appeal to our target audience. We realised that the way we had been doing things was actually scaring potential clients off. After making some big changes, clients now have a better understanding of what we can do and how we can help them. Here's what we changed and why.

Our initial approach

When we first launched MBJ, our branding strategies were primarily focused on us and on what we do. We explained what services we offered, but didn't necessarily think enough about how we would appear to our target audience. We forgot to include the expectations our customers had about our company. We didn’t consider how this would be viewed and, as it turned out, this was a bad idea.

A lot of people were looking at our website and thinking that we weren't the right choice for them. Although we cater to businesses of all sizes, from individuals to companies worth millions, our branding seemed to be putting off many small and medium-sized businesses. We knew that something had to change.

It turns out that we were not being clear enough with our potential customers, many of whom felt that our business might be too expensive for them. It seemed too corporate, which discouraged a lot of people from doing business with us. When we were branding ourselves the first time around, we were concerned about looking too much like a small and inexperienced company, which eventually led to us overcompensating.

Although we received feedback from clients about the positives they took from working with us, these were the very things that were missing from our branding. We were told that we were a small but ambitious team, who were responsive to communication and had the young and dynamic feel of a startup. Instead of highlighting the aspects that our clients valued most, we ended up ignoring them to try and make ourselves seem more trustworthy and corporate.

The realisation

After realising what we were doing wrong, it took some time to understand how we should change things. We spent a lot of time brainstorming, analysing and just talking about how things were going. We asked our stakeholders for feedback on their perception of MBJ and how they felt we were being perceived by others. Another essential step was to draw up some buyer personas so that we could align them with our brand strategy. We worked as a team to develop a new approach to our branding.

Julian Baladurage and Toni Horn, co-founder MBJ London

Making MBJ more approachable

We decided that we needed to make MBJ LONDON more approachable to our clients. A full rebrand that included a new logo and brand colours was only the first step. We made an effort to start highlighting not just what we would do for our clients, but also what we were already doing for them. Our aim was to start appealing to SMEs and, in particular, to demonstrate that we can help businesses of all sizes grow through digital marketing.

We have maintained our professional look and have also given ourselves a fresher and younger image that will hopefully appeal to all. This new approach uses storytelling techniques to draw people in, instead of going for a hard sell to try and push our products and services. These techniques allow customers to tell stories in their own way, without fear of their message being overruled.

This time, our clients are now front and centre of our branding. Potential customers can clearly understand how we are going to help them. Using client stories, we can now show them how our services work, instead of telling them what our services are. These client stories give the website and company as a whole a personal feel that anyone can relate to.

The benefits of rebranding

With this new approach, we showed that MBJ is capable of not only handling larger clients, but smaller ones too. We finally understood that a small team was not something we needed to hide. We could present a professional image without being too corporate and detached. We knew our key selling points were that we are small, dedicated and ready to take on clients from a range of backgrounds.

After making these improvements, we have had a significant amount of positive feedback about the rebrand. Our clients have told us that they feel the brand better reflects what we do and the unique benefits that we offer them. Giving clients a better understanding of what we do and how we can help them means we now spend less time in sales meetings. We don't have to spend so much time managing people's expectations and trying to convey what we can do.

Our team and stakeholders also identify more strongly with the new branding. Everyone is clearer about what MBJ stands for, who we represent and how we can help our clients. When our team has a better understanding and identification with the brand, it makes it easier for them to sell and deliver our services.

We are now confident that MBJ London is targeting the right people and our clients have a better understanding of what we can do for them.

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