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3 steps to rebranding your travel agency

Well, I’ve finally done it!  After much reflection, creativity, self-examination and plain old “blood sweat and tears,” I have finished the rebranding process for my company. When I started five years ago, it was as brandUcoaching, and over the years my business has grown and evolved to become CoryAndrichuk.com.  The purpose for writing this article is to tell my story of evolution by unraveling some of the external and internal reasons why I have recently rebranded my company.  I would also like to help and inspire others to manage change, adapt and then thrive with a more accurate picture of who they are as they move forward in their own rebranding process.

For me, the external reason for rebranding was the fast moving pace of our world. Business-as-usual does not exist any longer because Netflix, Google, Facebook, and Alibaba.com continue to force their influence on us and turn what we know and don’t know, like and dislike upside down.  The global village, aided in part by the digital and consumer revolution, has imposed a more personal and more informal way of conducting business as well.  Like it or not, we have all become personal brand managers trying to balance our online and offline worlds with our personal and professional experiences.  So, rebranding to reflect this new way of doing business was logical and essential for me.

My internal reason for rebranding was much more a result of my own personal growth.  I grew up with an entrepreneurial spirit and a mindset that guides me, my business, and my valued clients.  I have always believed that if you are not always adjusting, tweaking and adapting, you are moving backwards.  It was my vision five years ago to revolutionize professional development and assist entrepreneurs, small businesses and large organizations to define, better understand and then engage their unique brand with a strategic plan.  As a result, I established brandUcoaching, Inc.  It grew into a prominent company that educated, coached and motivated thousands of professionals.  As brandUcoaching, Inc. grew, I, along with my wife Cheri, developed The Travel Agent Revolution.  It was an amazing experience for us and our strategic partners, suppliers and much valued members.  I sincerely believe we helped re-spark the perceived value of travel agents by spoon-feeding many consortia marketing, public-relations social-media marketing awareness movements.

Yet…when I examined all the positive aspects of my business, I still felt the need to better align and connect it all.  It was my wife who put it all into perspective for me. She said coaching and motivating were what I did, but the key element in all of this was me.  I was the one my customers chose…my personality, my passion, my dedication and my caring…the whole package of Cory Andrichuk.  So it seemed only logical that I should rebrand my business to more accurately reflect not only what I do; but who I am.

CoryAndrichuk.com outlines and describes what I offer as a specific solution to many business challenges.  My brand promise has not changed; I’ve rebranded to create more clarity for today and tomorrow.  My reputation has not changed; I’ve rebranded to explore a wider, more diverse audience.  My vision has not changed, just broadened!  Rebranding allows me to grow, adapt, and thrive in the future in which I want to do business.

Making the decision to rebrand was relatively easy as it seemed logical and straight forward.  The actual time and effort to thoroughly and accurately rebrand has been a little overwhelming, timely and caused a state of paralysis at times due to much indecision on my part.  My feelings stem from my philosophy that “business is personal.”  I believe that success in business today is no longer determined just by a revenue driven bottom line.  It’s about being transparent and having a better understanding of who you are and then developing a plan to share “you” with others on a persuasive and innovative platform.

Branding and rebranding is about differentiating yourself from the crowd.  At its core, we brand to create a customer appeal/experience, stay competitive and remain relevant to the changing customer.  Travel agents of all shapes and sizes should know their brand appeal, what makes them different, unique, better, special…what makes them stand out from the pack!  Rebranding is updating, upgrading and evolving your company’s goals, vision and culture to better appeal to your ideal customer.

Here are some ideas to help you consider when rebranding your business:

1.  Preparation:

  • Collect a support group of people you trust to help you examine your brand and put a plan together.
  • Speak to and learn from others who have rebranded and grown successfully through the process.  When Steve Jobs landed back at Apple, they rebranded it from Apple Computer to Apple to create customer permission, appeal to market and sell other products like the iPod and iPhone.  Also check out Cityslips.com as a great example of a recent small business that is constantly reinventing itself to appeal to a changing demographic with a core message that makes sense.
  • Assign a nominal budget for rebranding.  It will help keep you on time and more accountable to your goals.
  • Talk to your clients about your messaging and give your reasons for rebranding.

2.  Planning:

  • Determine your professional priorities for today and tomorrow.
  • Create a timeline for your project.
  • Secure all .com versions of your new brand with accurate Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Pinterest, Google and You Tube handles.
  • Check out professional, affordable industry resources for support.

3.  Rebrand Implementation:

  • Communicate a clear and congruent and consistent message so that your online communication reflects your offline voice.
  • Start now.  A small re-start is bigger than not moving at all.

Rebranding takes time to reflect on who you are and what you stand for, where you are today and where you want to be in the future.  Time, client comments, referrals and new business will tell if your rebranding message hits the mark.  Remember, adapting, changing and tweaking along the way is part of business.  Accept it and you will thrive!  General Motors recently got it right by stating in their commercials, “Rebranding it isn’t about going out of business, it’s about getting down to business.”

Cory is a passionate travel entrepreneur and highly specialized business coach to independent agents, HOST agencies, Travel Associations, respected travel suppliers, and the TRO community. Learn more here.

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