As an entrepreneur, have you ever thought of changing your brand? Did you start your company based on a particular idea or product only to discover you may be limiting your growth? We checked in with three Innovation Guelph clients who decided to take the plunge and rebrand their companies.
Christine Gayfer of Rockwood, ON created a company to bring women joy with planet-friendly menstruation pads in fun fabric patterns. Originally known as Wishy Washy Cloths, Amie Reusable Pads has undergone a rebrand due to their participation in IG’s Rhyze Ventures and Startup Program curriculum. “Experts at IG, and a third party, thought I’d benefit from a new name with no negative connotations,” Christine said. “Wishy washy may infer not being decisive and may not have inferred the quality and trust my products provide.”
Christine said she chose Amie because it is French for friend and her customers are like friends with a sense of community around bringing happiness and protecting the planet. The rebrand was more than a name change, she said. “We underwent a process of identifying what we stand for and who we are serving. The process included developing a new logo, colours, fonts and testing them with a focus group.”
In addition to rebranding, IG mentor Kevin Boon has helped Christine address production efficiency through batch processing and preparing for a time when she may consider outsourcing. She says the encouragement she receives from IG has been valuable. “As a solopreneur, it can be lonely,” she said. “The mentorship helps me know I’m doing a good job and the accountability keeps me moving forward.”
Christine said the growth of her company has been steady and sustainable. She prioritizes quality and excellent customer service. She said her clients say they can see she puts her heart into her business. Grace is a quality she highly values. In holding herself to a high standard she has also learned to give herself and others acceptance and extend grace. She is humbled that people can be so excited about buying her products and credits people spending more time online and supporting local during the pandemic for some of her growth. As an entrepreneur, Christine is surprised how much she has enjoyed learning within her business and growing her skills with fabric selection, photography, social media and developing competency in so many areas!
Another IG client recently decided to rebrand her company. Founder Cayleah Matthews started Everreal, originally named Real Peel Inc, to help people drink in the essentials – which to her means focusing on the important parts – maximizing the fresh, natural ingredients and vitamins, while stripping out the unnecessary elements – such as excess water, packaging, and sugar. Her science background helped her figure out how to do this while keeping the frozen treats called Real Pops, shelf stable – primarily through flash freezing. She also worked with the formulas to ensure food safety while allowing for minimal processing.
Because Real Sips, the company’s newest product, is an innovation in the frozen category, the design needed to achieve a few goals. “It had to work together with Real Pops as a brand, but also it needed to show customers how to use the product and what it was,” she said. Keeping these challenges in mind, the company prioritized the branding and design of Real Sips and then redesigned Real Pops to work with it.
Everreal worked with a design team who began with identifying what the company valued most. They determined it was amazing ingredients without the unnecessary. The design team provided several different, incredible styles and the team chose one that was the best fit. There were multiple iterations and eventually they came to what would be the final packs. “Once Real Sips was in place, Real Pops was fairly simple,” Matthews said.
Through its Fuel Injection and Startup Programs, Innovation Guelph has supported the company throughout their journey with both a grant and significant mentorship team. “Stacey, an IG mentor, actually came up with the name Real Sips!” Cayleah said. “Building a Consumer Package Goods (CPG) business is tough when you’re starting because you don’t have insight into how it all works. There are a lot of moving pieces and many business fundamentals that you are always having to keep your eye on; IG helped us navigate how CPG worked and plan for the next milestones we could target.”
Matthews said the decision to rebrand has paid off with Real Pops sales doubling since redesigning. “We couldn’t be more pleased, and we believe the redesign will support substantial growth in the next few years!”
With a history of entrepreneurship, another IG client, Denise Gavin, one of the founders of Sportzfitz, said she was approached by partners because of her software development, product management, customer care and entrepreneurial experience. Her business partners recognized her business acumen and appreciated her vision and excitement for their challenge: creating wearable health tracking devices that fit right on the skin. Sportzfitz developed both hardware and software that resonated with creating a solution to significant life threatening and altering problems, such as concussions.
In February 2020, the company rebranded to Awarewear to add additional products and enter markets that are not specially sport related. “We want to develop other wearables solutions, not just products related to sport,” Denise said. The decision was supported by multiple third-party marketing experts who all advised a name change was in order. After reviewing marketing companies’ suggestions, the team brainstormed and decided upon Awarewear. “At the end of the day, your company name does not define your success, if you ask ten people their opinion, you will get ten different opinions,” she said. “What does make a successful brand, is the way in which you treat your staff and your customers. Everything else, is window dressing! A name is just a name. Quality and your integrity matter more.”
After relocating to Canada, and leaving her established network, Denise said Innovation Guelph has been an incredible resource. Working with IG’s experienced staff and mentors, in both the Rhyze Ventures and Startup Program, has been very beneficial, “They want me to succeed and provide a number of resources to me to ensure I do. I will always be grateful to IG,” she said. While she agrees that KPIs and measurement of growth are important, she said sometimes you cannot measure the value you have gained. “How do you measure the value of your relationship, the feelings of acceptance and belonging? For me this is priceless and immeasurable.”
While rebranding can be complex, and is not for every business, if your company is considering a rebrand, perhaps Innovation Guelph can help. It is important for you to understand the pros and cons of rebranding prior to engaging in the process, and it is essential to have a carefully developed rebranding strategy and timeline. IG industry specialists and mentors can help you with both the strategy and the execution, working with you the entire way. Contact your program manager or call us today for more information.