The Gaping Void Between Our Brand and Our Audience

When I landed in Austin for SXSW last Friday night, I was whisked off by Sheila Scarborough to have dinner with Liz Strauss, Richard at Dell and Shel Israel. The evening started with introductions, and not 5 minutes later I was faced with the conversation I most hate to have about my business. I’ve had it hundreds of times, it goes like this:

“Hi, I’m Wendy Piersall from eMoms at Home. Most people know me as ‘eMom’.”

“Hi Wendy, I’m ___, so you’re a Mommy Blogger?”

*Cue inner turmoil and hasty explanation*

“Actually, we are a magazine-style blog network, focused on more on home business, entrepreneurship, and life balance than we are on parenting…”

*Cue glazed look in eyes as I have confused yet another person about eMoms at Home*

Over the rest of the conference, it only got worse. I found that every day I spent at SXSW, I discovered that the brand “eMoms at Home” was rapidly getting farther and farther from what we are really about. Well, perhaps it’s better said that it’s been that way for a long time, and I only just finally saw it for what it was last weekend.

The fact of the matter is that most of our readers know that we are “More ‘E’ than ‘Moms’“. But imagine my skin-crawling horror as people at the conference told me (repeatedly, I might add) that they dismissed our site for months – even a year or longer – because they didn’t think that a site named “eMoms at Home” held anything of value for them. And some of the people who have said this are moms themselves.

It was a fascinating process, I have to admit, realizing over those 4 days that our core audience quite often doesn’t think of themselves as ‘home business owners’ nor even ‘entrepreneurs’. They have a stereotype in their head of both, and fall somewhere in between these two ends of the spectrum. The thing I have always had the hardest part reconciling is that there are so many dads who read this site, and ever since I realized this was happening (only 5 months after I started, mind you), I have regretted picking a URL that automatically excludes half of my colleagues and friends.

So anyway, at the end of SXSW I’m sitting in the airport at 4:45am on Tuesday morning. Hugh MacLeod Twitters that he is in the airport too, wanting to hook up with anyone there. I’m no fool, if I have the chance to hang out with someone like Hugh MacLeod, I don’t need to be asked twice – I promptly got up and found him sitting about 40 feet away from me.

We chatted about all sorts of stuff, and near the end of the conversation, I sprung my question on him. I explained my site, our audience, and told him that there is really no name or definition for our community, namely, people who:

Are as passionate about business as they are about their families

Are extremely intelligent and experienced in business

Take a non-traditional approach to managing their careers on their own terms. This means either running their own business, finding employers that offer flex hours, or even temporarily taking time off to be a full-time parent.

Are using technology & the internet to live life and pursue work on their own terms

I told him I was hesitant to step up and lead and speak for such a diverse group of individuals, and he kind of stopped me and basically said, “Well, who are you not to?” – and I swear to god I think the earth moved at that point, because all of the pieces of the puzzle immediately fell into place when he said that.

By the time I got on the plane 30 minutes later, I resigned myself to the inevitable – yet terrifying – conclusion.

I need to rename and rebrand eMoms at Home.

When I got home, I first talked about it with my business coach Marla – she got it immediately. Then I talked with my authors – they will be impacted by this – I wanted to know how they felt about it. They not only got it immediately too, but they enthusiastically supported me (damn I love them!) because they too were feeling the need to explain the discrepancy between our name and our mission.

This is where you come into the picture

So I spent some time on Twitter getting feedback from more of our regular readers. The lover-of-my-Google-traffic side of me was kind of hoping that some of them would say, ‘Nah, just keep the current name, it works great”. Kudos to all of you who responded to my questions, because none of you told me what you thought I wanted to hear – instead you told me what I needed to hear. And none of you said the eMoms name worked anymore.

I’d now like to invite you to add your voice and opinion to the whole concept of renaming our site. I’ve worked hard to grow it as a business, but the community here is what this site is really about.

So moms, dads, even non-parents – if you could refine eMoms at Home into a new brand that speaks to entrepreneurship, business, technology and parenting and most importantly who YOU really are, which of the following names do you think is the best?

Go Vote for a New Name for eMoms at Home

It’s your chance to make your mark and have a say in the future direction of eMoms at Home :: please share your thoughts and cast your vote or suggest your own name for this site!

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Comments

  1. says

    Wendy, first off I take my hat off to you for opening up this kind of conversation. Lots to be learned from the comments here, though as someone else has said, I wouldn’t take our word as gospel.

    I have to say I’m someone who’s dallied in and out of your site because I’m an empty nester (a different label, and one I don’t like) so don’t readily identify with ‘e moms at home’ – though I guess a lot of your material is relevant to me, it certainly has been when I dip in and out.

    I have to confess even “moms” works against me, because it’s a different spelling to the UK version… maybe this just proves that whatever you go for, you can’t win!

    I think you can/should stick with with objectives you’ve set out in your post, which includes an ideal audience of parents, but I’m not sure you need to lead with that in the title.

    I’d be tempted to go for something less descriptive in the title (otherwise you’re going to keep going round these loops) but keep the focus up front – I think “The Internet Home Business Magazine for Moms & Dads” is a pretty good strapline.

    Do you have anything that you say, often, to encourage yourself, your readers, your kids, your clients that you could use – something that captures your unique, powerful, inspiring philosophy?

    Joanna

    Joanna Young’s last blog post..Inspiration From Mountain Tops

  2. Wendy Piersall says

    JoLynn, I’m surprised that Bizsational didn’t get more votes based on the sentiment that people think parenting is still too limited. I’m so CONFUSED! :)

  3. Kelly says

    Hi Wendy :)

    Wowsers is this a great conversation and I am able to see just about every person’s point of view.

    I hear that you’re too wide to be ‘mom-driven’ and maybe even too wide to be ‘parent-driven’ but that you are definitely ‘reason-driven’ as opposed to just ‘driven’.

    The idea of a ‘new word’ domain and business name is growing on me and I believe you have the following and momentum needed to carry it off.

    Kelly’s last blog post..Three Years Ago On The Blog

  4. Chris C. says

    Wendy,
    I certainly don’t think that you should rethink your initial thoughts about focusing on parents. My tweet, which I shouldn’t have written – I should have commented here – really meant to focus on the fact that your site does and should keep its focus on parents. People who aren’t parents can still certainly find great information on your site – no matter what your brand and name. That was my point, and wasn’t made very well in 140 characters… I think you are on the right track!

    Chris

  5. says

    What a challenge you face. I always have seen your blog as more of a business blog, and find much of what your blog offers is relate to doing business at home.

    hence I like BrillianceAtHome.com, that Barbara suggested.

    I am about to establish solohomebusiness.com and will continue to read you and your blog- I don’t tend to read the other blogs in your network.

    What will make you stand out from the crowd?

    What will make you feel proud when you introduce yourself?
    Also I note this at the top of your blog post

    Work at Home Watchdog

    THE “work at home” product & “money making system” review site.

    There is a leadership element too.
    Sorry I may have added fuel to your fire
    I will now go and look at the poll

  6. says

    Wendy,

    I went with eParents, Inc. Although the second one, “eParents Network” is also good, I think the first one is broader and gives you more opportunity to expand your business beyond a blog network (which may or may not happen.)

    I don’t like the ones that solely reference “Work at Home” because they lose the element of being a parent that I think is so important. I also think, by itself “work at home” has a lot of different meanings to people – not all of which are positive (I’m thinking of “work at home scams” for example.)

    As well “work at home” is an extremely broad niche, and you fall into the trap of losing more identity than you gain by re-branding.

    Ben Yoskovitz’s last blog post..Learn About Social Media Recruiting

  7. says

    Back again. You might have to go what Des has done- He has kept thinkinghomebusiness.com, revamped deswalsh.com and webarts.net.au to focus on the business and social media side.
    something he mentioned when I was discussing your challenge with him.

    I have my suziecheel.com site in reserve too

    have fun and feel free to skype us

  8. says

    Back again.

    You might have to go what Des has done- He has kept thinkinghomebusiness.com, revamped deswalsh.com and webarts.net.au to focus on the business and social media side.

    Something he mentioned when I was discussing your challenge with him.

    I have my suziecheel.com site in reserve too

    have fun and feel free to skype us

  9. says

    Lots of wisdom in your post and these comments. Keeping in mind you have a good thing going here, my question would be how much are you [and your readers] willing to change? Change is risky – and necessary to go to the next level.

    It is okay to polarize your audience and market/brand to a dynamically defined group – think about lifestyle niche magazines, beverages and music.

    Maybe your best route is to extend your publishing business to one audience at a time. If that’s the case, you do need an umbrella brand and then you can roll out each new blog/division under it.

    In my case, CoryWest Media, LLC is the holding company, which lets me set up all kinds of subsets. Not so much for branding, but more so for credibility.

    A comment about the “e” . . .
    At a social networking event last month, I met two people who talked about how having an “e” in front of their company name was so early 2000s. They were changing it. Never heard that before, but something to think about.

    Will stay tuned . . .

    Barbara Rozgonyi, Wired PR Works’s last blog post..Conference PR Strategies | Marketing Across Channels

  10. Alex Grogan says

    I think that Trish from EMailOurMilitary.com (eMOM) had been saying that to you for at least the last 4 months.

    Well, it’s good that you finally figured it out. Good luck with the re-branding.

  11. h.r.pufnstuf says

    btw, im a dad of a 2yr, i work at home, an running a global software biz.
    im at Chile, S.America

  12. says

    I think all suggestions with ‘parents’ in them are poor choices. The vast majority of people in the world are parents at one time or another, but we tend to think of ‘parent’ oriented sites as those devoted to those years of rating strollers for safety, communicating with your teen or chosing a college … all of which are far behind me, and far ahead of other petential readrs. You are about business, community and earning on-line, parents are just one category of folks who need your info.

  13. says

    Personally, I find any site that has “e” anything in the name I avoid.

    I don’t know why that is, but it makes my skin crawl. Hoping no offense is taken with that comment.

    How about something along the lines of “Entrepreneurial Business and Beyond” with a tag line that addresses who this information would be most useful to.

    Sorry I’m not a wealth spring of information here, but perhaps someone can bring something to springboard from.

    TheMrs’s last blog post..Have you ever been the new kid at school?

  14. says

    On the other thread, a good suggestion came up. I’ll copy my reply.

    Shirley wrote:

    I submit eProfessionalsAtHome.com – maybe we don’t necessarily need to be beat over the head with the work-life balance thing… we already get it and that’s why we’re here!

    eProsAtHome? I like the ring of that a damned lot. ebusiness, professionals, work from home without the negative connotation, gender and kids removed from the equation…

    Oh yes. I like that. It sounds good out loud, too.

    James Chartrand – Men with Pens’s last blog post..Fiction Writing: Should You Plot Your Plot?

  15. says

    Wendy

    It was very cool to meet you and learn more. I really liked what you had to say and where you came from in our discussion.

    You know, I like Hugh’s advice and think you got some really great things going here…the most important is your passion and commitment. Look at all this conversation you have supported and facilitated around entrepreneurship, business, technology and parenting…Wow. You clearly have “hit a nerve” in a good way!!!.

    So whatever the “name” is you can be sure Im following and in touch…and supportive! Thanks for taking the time to get know us!

  16. says

    Hey Wendy,

    Sorry a little late to vote but did anyway. eParent Network works well. Both my sons are are their own but you never really stop being a parent. Your role in their lives just changes.

    It also works for dads who seem to really connect here. A new group of dads are out there raising children alone and the number is climbing. They need help!

    All in all you have such a connect with parents why test it? Its easier to add another category to a network than to start from scratch.

    No matter what your decision I wish you the best!

    Vanessa’s last blog post..10 Tips: Create a Search Friendly Blog (Key )

  17. says

    Working from home for the last 5 years I’ve overlooked several “mommy” business websites simply because I didn’t think they related to me.

    Also, every week it seems I read another article about how a teenager or young adult has used the web to start up a new business and is incredibly successful due to their knowledge of the internet and social networking.

    Working from home is the new way to work, and while the average day of a work at home parent comes with its own challenges, there are lessons for all of us to learn here on your site. (Which I just discovered a couple of days ago by the way!)

    Looking forward to reading more.:)

  18. says

    Hi Wendy,

    I’m one of those who thinks that “mom”, “dad” and “parent” in the name would be VERY limiting.

    I like the idea of “life balance”…
    elifebalance
    elifebalancing
    lifebalancenet

    … or something like that… THAT’S how I’ve always looked at this blog. :)

    Good luck!

    Nenette’s last blog post..How to Not Multitask

Trackbacks

  1. […] Minnesota. Feeling California and The Gaping Void Between Our Brand And Our Audience were two recent posts written by Wendy Piersall of eMoms at Home.  After her recent trip to SXSW […]

  2. […] week was both extremely unproductive and yet I moved mountains. I opened up the discussion on rebranding eMoms at Home, and I got an earful. I spent every waking minute on naming, branding and research. Which […]

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