But it’s bigger than you.
The members of your community have a stake in it. They feel it viscerally when your brand shifts—or is attacked from the outside.
It can strengthen your reputation. Or pull it down.
Case in point: Michael Hyatt (speaker, author, blogger) vs. the National Speakers Association.
The essential issue: the NSA announced at their annual conference that they are changing their name to “Platform”. The problem? The name is—while perhaps not legally—clearly “owned” in the marketplace by Michael Hyatt.
Adding insult to injury is the new logo uses the same shade of red AND a quite similar graphic to Hyatt’s use on his book cover and various digital properties.
Checking google rankings is right in the rebranding 101 playbook—in Chapter 1. So while Michael Hyatt’s supporters debate whether the research was omitted or whether the decision was made to plow forward anyway, the damage is done.
After a week of social media protests (including plenty of comments from members unaware of the Hyatt controversy), the NSA said “We’ve been listening, we hear you and we’re doing something about it.”
Either way, the NSA loses. Either way, Michael Hyatt wins.
Why? Because Michael Hyatt has built an engaged community. His supporters are legion and they are outraged. Hyatt has remained the public gentleman, sharing viewpoints and listening to his supporters. He is doing exactly what he has always done in building his community—staying relentlessly helpful and positive while keeping it real.
In the end, no one is likely to confuse the two brands. And his deft handling of the controversy may well bring him new fans.
But the NSA? Not so much. The best they can do is apologize, belatedly engage some key members in the rebranding effort and re-spend the presumably hundreds of thousands of dollars already invested in the new name.
Rebranding is not an idle exercise. You have to involve the right people without morphing into a committee of bland. You must build trust along the way with transparency and truth, most especially when you’re representing an association of members.
Michael Hyatt got it right with his community. NSA needs to beg for a second chance.
I hope they decide to do the right thing.
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