Image thanks to Andolent on Flickr

I have worked with fabulous design and website professionals. The woman who designed my website and original Eloquence Communication logo was caring, thoughtful and she listened beautifully to my requests. She created a site more beautiful than I expected. And it wasn't easy. I am not an easy client. I have a zillion questions. I don't make decisions like the exact color of purple I want easily. I was very happy with the outcome, after all.

Then I had another excellent web developer who is also a lovely friend of mine SEO my site and make a few nice changes, like the video and an integrated blog. She did great work. I was very happy with it.

And then I got a business advisor/coach/marketing consultant to help me take my business to the next level. I knew I wanted to create a product (getting close to completion) and I wanted help from someone who had done this kind of thing before online and in her locale.

As we started talking about my brand, messaging and marketing program, things got pretty messy.

I do messaging with clients as my core business – I do it all the time. I love it and I am really good at it, if I might say so myself. (I have backup from others here, which is nice.) And yet, I simply did NOT have my message right. I knew this, of course, but I had such a horrific time trying to get clarity. Which is why I hired my coach/advisor/consultant.

One of the first things my coach/advisor/consultant said to me was, “Michelle, I just don't get your brand. Your website is beautiful – in a wedding kind of way – but it is totally inconsistent with your personality.” Argh – I was kind of hoping I was “bridging” that gap because I just couldn't get myself to focus on my own brand. I really loved thinking about other people's brands and messaging so much more. It's just so much easier helping others express themselves authentically than it is helping myself do it.

“You are way cooler, edgier and funnier than your brand looks.” I think she felt bad about my angst and thought complimenting me would make me feel better. She was right.

In fact, her statement was so powerful for me that I immediately began a rebrand (with her company, clever woman.) It's amazing when someone else tells you something you so already know somewhere in you but have been refusing to see, acknowledge or engage, isn't it? It either mobilizes serious action – or it pisses you off royally. This time, I got mobilized.

And, oh the struggle… thinking, letting go, refocusing, messaging then remessaging. Long walks talking to myself. Long emails to my coach with simple and annoying responses along the lines of, “I don't think this is it. Take a break for 48 hours.” (Actually, they were kinder than that, but that was the message no less.) Running things by my extraordinarily patient husband and brilliant and generous friends.

Then we landed on a new name for my work. And I am THRILLED. I love love love it!

Now we're working on the logo. I have a serious dearth of patience. It is taking too long. But I know it's going to turn out brilliant. And I cannot wait to see where we land.

In the meantime, I'm in a bit of a bind. Now that I have acknowledged out loud the inconsistency between my brand and my personal style (jeez – it drives me crazy every time I have to acknowledge it!), I have a hard time reconciling the two when I post to my blog.

I'm thinkin' I'll just let that go. Soon (though websites take a while to develop, you know), the renaissance of my business will be complete and I'll have a new website and logo that reflects a more authentic and powerful brand for me and my business. Meantime, I'll just keep chatting it up from here. I hope that works for y'all.