This past week marks two years since I started Renga. Although it was two years ago that I had my first day of full-time self employed, it feels like we just started. The business that I started a couple years ago has the same heart and mission that it does today but there is a much stronger sense of clarity behind what we have today.
When I started I knew that I could help nearly any small business with something. Whether that was marketing, a new website, understanding ecommerce, digital marketing, anything that involved a business interacting with the digital world was a “yes we can”. The reason for this wide spread service offering wasn’t necessarily a lack of focus, but rather a £lack of confidence. I knew that the point of difference I had was from a strategic standpoint, but I found it really difficult to charge small businesses for strategy. The thought was we would do the tangible work for clients and they would fall in love with us for the intangible and later pay us for our strategy work. This didn’t work.
The reason this didn’t work was because we focused on small businesses. Small businesses don’t have the money to pay someone to help them with strategy, they are in the trenches, all wearing many hats and the nuances that cohesive strategy can bring is incredibly importance yes, but seen as a luxury for many. They would look at our model of “reasonably priced execution and free strategy” and exploit it, not all clients that’s for sure, but there were some who would hire me to do a small task and book a meeting to talk about the business as a whole that wasn’t billable.
We now label ourselves as a branding studio. We are focused on brand and how that brand is manifested. A brand is much more than a logo, it’s how you build your team, answer the phone, how you present yourself to any stakeholder. We have the capabilities to handle all forms of execution, but we know that we must start with brand strategy work, because if there isn’t a clearly defined brand identity any piece of execution we may perform is built on a shaky foundation. When all stakeholders are unified at a macro level it makes the micro decisions much easier. The projects that we are proud about started with clear brand strategy that we helped form.
Next week I am going to be writing about our experience and process in one of these jobs. We were approached by a startup and asked to name their business, develop their brand identity, website, app, etc. Of course you cannot always start from scratch, but you can always start at the top. Good brand trickles down, all pieces of the creative must flow from the brand identity. A solid brand identity acts as your compass allowing your brand to be sustainable and consistent through personnel changes and growth.
The main source of confidence found in these decisions is from the amazing team that we have been building. I have been blessed with strategic thinkers that hold complimentary skillsets to me. This allows us to walk into any industry and size of business with a confidence that we provide significant value. Our niche is working with startups looking to build brand and go to market strategies. We’ve found that whether consumer, business or enterprise focused — building brand is a universal need. The practice of building brand has to be specific and tailored to the business’s story and ambitions, it’s not scalable.
Building a business that is intentionally unscalable might not be a great strategy if we’re looking for an exit, but we’re not. We’re young, hungry and playing the long game, the fact that our practices are unscalable is exactly why they are valuable. Above all we love to hear the stories that brands are trying to tell and put some structure around it. When we are all unified on who we are we can move with purpose and confidence, I’ve found that in my business and we want to you help you find it too.