It was another great day hearing panelists at Maine Startup and Create Week. I sat in on a session about “Stories of Successful Pivots”.
First, the moderator—Emily Madero—asked each panel member to state their definition of a pivot. After hearing everyone’s thoughts I’ll sum it up as:
A pivot means keeping focused on your core strength, while turning to a different audience or application that is more receptive to your offering.
It was interesting to learn about startups who had a product they thought would appeal to gamers, but found themselves with enterprise accounts. Or developers who built a platform for one use, but found another use (with another audience) much more receptive to the tool.
[bctt tweet=”If you pivot your company, pivot your brand too.”]
If you are considering a pivot for your business, it’s important to think about how your branding needs to change too.
Many business owners under-estimate that a critical a adjustment to a name, logo or visual position needs to be made when a pivot happens. Just because a logo is professionally designed, doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for your audience. In a typical startup, there is often an early logo and web site that is used until the product is on solid footing and there is funding for design services. When an investment is made in branding, most can recognize that the starter logo designed by a student, relative or newbie is clearly not as well-designed by as the one created by a seasoned professional.
But even if you have a well-designed logo, it may not accurately position your firm. What appeals to gamers (an audience dominated by younger males) is much different than a more conservative buyer from a large corporate firm.
Pivots in key audiences require a pivot in your brand identity.
Founders may cling to an inappropriate name or logo because they don’t understand that a brand identity must connect emotionally with the target audience. Even if it’s professionally designed, the longer you hold on to a name, logo or story that does not accurately portray the brand, the longer you hold off on growth.