Good grief. Seems like this is the week for me to bring reality TV to the blogosphere.
Yesterday I thought I pulled a Sarah Lacy Nuclear Fail Moment. I wanted to rebrand the site to be more inclusive of dads. So, you know, I thought ‘eParents’ was a good direction to go in.
I mean, I thought you guys were parents!
Welcome to the Small Business Branding Trainwreck Show – starring Wendy Piersall as the one who most misjudged who her audience really is.
OK, maybe I’m being a little melodramatic here – but honestly, I was really dang shocked that so many readers aren’t parents. Even more surprisingly, I found plenty of readers who are parents who don’t want to read a site ‘for parents‘.
Here’s just a sampling of my “Looking Minnesota” day yesterday:
I encourage you to resist putting “parent” in the name or the URL. I haven’t been excited about the brand eMoms because I’m one of the readers who is moving away from full-time and hands-on parenting into the work and career life. I have had to look past the brand (the book cover, if you will) and just get into the content.
I had a huge moment of embarrassment when I joined the eMom gang. It put me off. I’m not a Mom. What will the women think about this GUY hanging around with the mommies?
I really felt your frustration as I stood there watching while at least one geek superstar admitted that 1) he’d never heard of you (OK, that happens, no biggie) and 2) he never would have paid any attention to your site if he came across it anyway, because of the name.
Oh thank God! I always felt funny posting here, as I have no kids and never will. The point being I was always afraid someone would say “You’re no mom, you can’t post here, you’re not part of our community”.
While I get what your site is about and I’ve been coming here for quite sometimes, I have to admit if I saw anything with “eparents” I’d assume it was a parenting community.
And probably the funniest of them all…
We are all family members and we all juggle, so that can get stripped out [of the name] as well. So you are really about SOHO entrepreneurship, which are pretty boring words. I would opt for something creative that has to do with business/life balancing. You seem to be for entrepreneurs who juggle & snuggle.
I really dug my heels in yesterday on this, firmly standing on my ‘eParents’ ground until I read that one sentence there from Shel:
We are all family members and we all juggle.
So I sent out a note to my closest colleagues last night saying “I think I should name the site CAN OF WORMS” and went to bed.
Besides having some weird dreams that didn’t shed any light on my dilemma at all, nothing changed between last night and this morning. But I was able to wake up today and look at it all from a fresh perspective:
- As a reader, you want to know what it’s like to run a business – well now you know a just a little more about that (maybe more than you wanted to know?!).
- Branding might seem like something for the big boys in business to worry about. Now you know that it can be critical to the success of even a very small business.
- Branding is easier if you know your Positioning. I thought I knew our position in the market – parents. Now I know that I need to refine our Positioning before I can even look at the Branding aspect.
- If this wasn’t a textbook case study for KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE, I don’t know what is. It’s also a textbook example of the fact that you may think you know your audience, and you might be wrong about that.
But most of all, welcome to running a business in Web 2.0 Land.
Better have a strong stomach, because business in a connected world is only going to get more transparent, not less.
Quite honestly, I’m now thrilled with where we are at. I had no idea so many doors were open to us, and I’m feeling absolutely freaking excited about where we can go with the little eMommy Site That Could.
I may be letting it all hang out this week, and it may look a bit messy. But in my heart, I know and feel this is just the change we needed around here to blow this site out of the water.
I think we’ll be ‘Looking California’ sooner than I thought.