Jeremy Miller’s company needed a reboot. Faced with a declining market for its services and with no clear differentiating factor, Miller and Associates had to choose between two difficult options: “We could either reinvent ourselves and find a new path to success, or we could wind up the business,” Miller remembers.
The company chose to go on, and Miller went looking for resources to help guide the reinvention effort. “I was reading all the marketing literature I could get my hands on, but all the stories were about Apple and Nike and Starbucks,” he recalls. The lessons from the turnarounds effected by those corporate giants didn’t apply to a small IT staffing firm like Miller and Associates, founded in 1989.
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Miller joined the family business in 2004. His timing couldn’t have been worse. “We had the dotcom bubble burst along with the end of Y2K,” remembers Miller, now the president of the Sticky Branding agency and author of a book by the same name. “What that meant for me was I came into the business as director of business development but found myself down in the trenches with my sales team dialling for dollars just to keep the business going.”
The company simply didn’t stand out in a swiftly-shrinking IT staffing market. “Our customers couldn’t distinguish us from anyone else,” Miller admits. The solution was a total rebrand. The company became LEAPJob and shifted it’s services to sales and marketing recruiting.
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But rebranding isn’t simply a case of putting a new sign on the door and slapping a new logo on your company tchotchkes. “Much of it happens internally—it’s about deciding your strategy of where to play, how to win and what it means to grow a successful company,” Miller explains. “Once you build the strategy it’s about executing on it.”
So while the family hired a design firm to help with the branding transformation, they had to handle the internal transitioning themselves. “It was a total reinvention of how we managed our database, the way we trained our recruiters and our salespeople, and the way people operated,” Miller says. “Not everyone survived that process.”
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The reinvention attempt proved successful, and Miller ultimately sold LEAPJob to another family-run firm in 2013. His new endeavour is to spread awareness about the importance of branding to businesses of all sizes.
Establishing what your company stands for in the public eye is vital to it’s continued success, according to Miller. “You are defending your brand and defending your business by having a brand today,” he contends.
For Miller’s advice on how to establish your company’s brand and attract customers, listen to this week’s BusinessCast by clicking the button above or download by clicking on the iTunes logo below:
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