• Sam Chizanga

Rebranding a brand no one knows.

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 a small and seemingly irrelevant brand? If you’re anything like me you’ll do the following.

Doubt yourself. Ask everyone if you’re crazy? Doubt yourself some more. Introspect. Stop doubting yourself. 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 Vee.). Each name did three things that could have positive or negative consequences;

They all centred me. I was always the focus and “the star”. That works great if you’re Oprah, but I’m not Oprah. I didn’t want to be the company brand. 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?) 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?

Perception vs. Intention - It told audiences that I only wanted to be in one space. Be cool. I love being black. I love existing in a world that includes a lot of other 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 internal debate;

What’s the saying? A chicken nugget by any other name is just as delicious? You have an audience that knows your brand very well. You are more than a name. We place tonnes of weight into the name of our company; we call our community fun names, we put it on everything — business cards, emails, your body. You want to be recognizable and powerful, one of a kind.

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.

The result;

You change.

Change is inevitable and is the force that keeps your business moving. 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.

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