Introducing The Ivy Dean

A Business And Brand Turnaround (Success Story)

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A Business And Brand Turnaround (Success Story)

If your brand or business is stuck in one spot. Or moving in reverse. You need to read this post for an example of a great brand and business turnaround. This doesn’t happen as dramatically with every client, of course. But when it happens, it’s awesome.

 

It’s fun to share success stories. A while back, I shared the story of how I helped another client with a successful brand update.

 

About 12 months ago I started a conversation with a really smart woman. Drusilla (Dee) Blackman is a university admissions executive having worked with a few of America’s best universities.  She was Director of Admissions at both Harvard and Columbia and, needless to say, she knows a lot about what it takes to get accepted as a new student at a top-tier school.

 

And when we first met she was trying to launch a new consulting business. She created a website and a name for her business.  And she had a steady stream of clients.

 

So what’s wrong with this picture?

 

Here are the three problems Dee was facing:

 

1. Her business name and brand were different – both were generic.

2. Her website lacked compelling content and it looked wrong for her and the clients she wanted to target.

3. A significant percentage of her business was coming through another website – and the leads were really expensive.

 

So our challenge was to create a new brand look, logo, site and positioning for Dee. We’re not done yet though. After all, brands and their branding tend to be iterative. But we’ve come a long way, baby.

 

Here’s what Dee’s brand and business looked like one year ago:

 

Her logo (her web address was yourbestcollege.com):

 

branding case study, brand, marketing help

 

What’s wrong with this name and logo? Well, “Premier” is generic.  It’s like AAA Bail Bonds and while it tries to position the business as high end, words like “Premier” are almost invisible these days. Also, the font is too normal and the look is not inspiring considering the price she charges for her service and the expectations of her client families.

 

Her website:

 

branding, brand development, marketing, positioning, brand, strategy

 

What’s wrong with this website? The look and feel is very “elementary school” (primary colors) vs. university (rich, regal colors).  And it certainly doesn’t feel like the place you’d visit to get strategic advice regarding ivy league or other top-tier university admissions.

 

So how did we fix it?

 

We took Dee through a complete brand development process including a review of her target market, her background, services and personality. Once complete, that entire brand positioning package was used to identify a new brand, matching website url, brand promise, look, color scheme and marketing strategy.

 

A really fun project that got us to a very happy place:

 

Her new name is the The Ivy Dean™. A name that reinforces the role she played at Harvard and Columbia.  It also delivers the credibility we wanted built into the new name. And while Dee’s focus isn’t solely on Ivy League candidates, it is highly aspirational (if Dee gets people into Harvard, I’ll bet she can help me get into my college).

 

Her new website url is http://theivydean.com. It is consistent with her name and her history. And allows her to have the same name across her online presence.

 

The logo we created (vs. her first) says collegiate (the shield, the icons within the shield and the crimson color):

 

logo, ivy dean, word mark, branding, brand strategy, drusilla blackman

 

And, from this we created an obvious avatar and favicon:

 

ivy dean, avatar, brand, logo, branding development, marketing

As for the website, we didn’t have a huge budget so we hired a developer to modify a WordPress template. Down the road, when there is interest and more budget, we can go bigger.  But for now, her brand is alive and kicking on a website that supports her brand, it’s image and is attracting the right traffic.  Here’s her site:

 

ivy dean, drusilla blackman, branding, website, brand strategy

 

Results:

 

Well, along with a successful advertising campaign created by Reciprocal Consulting, Dee’s business is flourishing. She has more clients than ever, has hired her first employee and is no longer giving up a big percentage of her fee to a lead generation website.

 

She’s now better known, more profitable and she’s having more fun serving her client families.

 

Of course, there’s more work to do. And she’s now planning for new ways to grow her influence and impact on the college admissions process.

 

But the results of her new brand strategy are bigger than just getting more clients. She is now better positioned for growth and for becoming nationally known as the clear subject matter expert in the university admissions consulting business.

 

And that’s awesome.

 

What do you think of Dee’s new brand? If you want, you can like The Ivy Dean on Facebook. I know she’d appreciate that.

Tim Tyrell-Smith focuses on marketing, brand development and business strategy for emerging and established organizations. A veteran executive in consumer marketing, Tim started his marketing career with Nestle USA and has since worked in product management on premium brands including Nestle Quik, Tree Top Apple Juice, Mauna Loa Macadamias and Meguiar’s Car Wax. He was most recently Vice President of Marketing for a private equity owned food company in Southern California. He lives with his wife and three kids in Mission Viejo, California.

Tim Tyrell-Smith – who has written posts on Fix, Build And Drive™.


About the Author

Tim Tyrell-Smith focuses on marketing, brand development and business strategy for emerging and established organizations. A veteran executive in consumer marketing, Tim started his marketing career with Nestle USA and has since worked in product management on premium brands including Nestle Quik, Tree Top Apple Juice, Mauna Loa Macadamias and Meguiar’s Car Wax. He was most recently Vice President of Marketing for a private equity owned food company in Southern California. He lives with his wife and three kids in Mission Viejo, California.

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