Anatomy of a rebrand — part 1

Another in a series of posts about branding

I’m on an upleveling journey with Magnolias West and part of that upleveling includes taking that “I’m gonna rebrand my business sometime soon!” idea off the shelf and putting it into action.

Why rebrand?

Anatomy of a rebrand

I thought about changing the look and feel of the Magnolias West brand for almost all of last year. Especially since I found out that my search results were compromised because my website isn’t responsive in its current state.

I didn’t make the rebrand a priority until things had evolved enough in my heart, in my mind, and in my business for all three of the points in the graphic above to be true for me. Which they now are.

  • I have gotten really clear about how I’m meant to serve and what I want to be doing, and my current branding doesn’t reflect that. Nor does it adequately reflect my expertise, experience, and sagacity.
  • The people I am called to serve now are — to a large degree — not the ones who are on my mailing list or following me on social media.
  • I am developing three simple offers and they need to be expressed, explained, and — in fact — offered! (They are not represented much at all with what I have now.)

There are probably as many (or more) good reasons not to rebrand than there are to begin such a huge undertaking. Contemplating a rebrand is a great mindfulness and self-integrity opportunity. Check in with yourself, your support team, your tribe. You may find that it’s just an element here or there that wants a refresh. Keep it simple, sister.


You might be thinking, “What does a rebrand look like when you are your own designer?”

For the rebrand, I started with the logo.

Just like I do for my clients, in the Unmask Your Brand and Shine Your Light journey, the logo comes first. This is Magnolias West 3.0. Each of the preceding two logos used an illustration of a magnolia blossom that I had made for me by an illustrator friend and a script font for the words Magnolias West. This go-round, it came to me surprisingly clearly one day that I wanted to use a photo of a magnolia that I shot and a handwritten (by me) version of the name. It’s a very deep and personal decision. I want my passion and wisdom to shine through clearly from the very first thing you’ll likely see when you look at my new branding — the logo. This will hopefully set the tone for a deep connection my heart to my reader’s from the first glance, before a word is even read.

Magnolias West scans

Wait, wait — you need the backstory.

When I created Magnolias West, I was combining what I had previously run as two different businesses into one. My coaching practice was one business and my design and branding biz was another. I decided to combine them (handing out two business cards when I met someone was not working out very well; it definitely caused confusion and a break in the flow of getting to connect with someone).

I didn’t know how to name this new business. At the time I didn’t see the amazing synergy that would be created by combining coaching and branding, so I went with a name that didn’t really mean anything (on the surface, that is).

I have been taking pix of my kid with the magnolias as a backdrop since she was a toddler. She’s 29 now. I have a few thousand images of magnolias that I have shot.

This method — DIYing your logo — is not for the faint of heart. Or the impatient.

I controlled myself. I didn’t go back through every single magnolias shot I have. I confined my research to the photos I have in digital format — only about ten years worth to cull 😳. Didn’t get the ladder to climb up to my paper photos file to find something better to scan — such self-discipline! The eight magnolias you see above made it to the final round. And I’ve picked the hero (you’ll have to wait a bit to see it; it’s quite beautiful).

And then the handwritten name, oy! See that sheet of paper up there, the scan of my business name in my best handwriting? I have nine more! I spent about three hours writing Magnolias West over and over and over. I learned a lot.

  • I learned to tilt the paper so my writing would be more on a straight line.
  • I learned how to hold the pen to get a nice thick/thin calligraphic look.
  • I learned how to shape the “g” and the “l” and the “e” to have a nice open counter (the inside shape).

And then I spent 2.5 hours piecing it together. An “M” from this version, “agnolias” from another. Same with the “W” and the “est.” Plus cleaning up the bumpy bits.

If anyone asked me advice about doing a handwritten logo, I’d say “Don’t do it, pick a nice font. Unless you are either an expert in Illustrator tracing and very patient. Or unless you have a big budget to pay someone to do this for you.”

What about you, gorgeous?

What conditions came to pass that caused you to decide to rebrand? Are you considering this but still waiting? Want to talk about it? Let me know what’s going on with you by leaving a comment, or send me an email if you’d like to set up a call with me (no strings, of course).

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I’m a barely tamed hippie, sage, seasoned, sarcastic (not all the time any more, but still). I’m a mom, a daughter, sister, a neighbor, and a friend. I’ve been on this meandering journey — like you, probably — seeking a better connection to and experience of peace, harmony, and fun in every bit of life. I’m single, quite good at it, and mostly love it. I’m here for the conversations I get to have with you, which these days center on exploring the mystery and beauty of life, work, health, aging, and creative expression. Want to know a little more about me and my journey? Explore the site. Read the blog. Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Join the conversation!

    • Jamie, of course I want to empathize, but I’ll be honest: My first thought when I read this is “Oh good, I’m not doing this alone.”

      Leaning on each other like redwoods do to help them stand tall in their majestic sovereignty.

      Blessed be,

  1. Sue love this and right what I am doing this week, and I have discovered it is a lot of work but excited about what’s coming especially my new look and totally agree about finding a great font, buying a font for the first time in years to get the look I want. xxoo

    • Suzie, I know that feeling — I bought a font last year, something I have done rarely in my career. Can’t wait to see your new look!


  2. This is a great post on the ups, downs and ins and outs of rebranding! Love your personal story and how you interweave it with powerful questions for the us to ask ourselves.

    • Hi Minette,

      Thanks for the kind words, and I’m glad you could follow my often circuitous thinking.


  3. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful post, Sue!! I love hearing about your process. I have been feeling the call to rebrand since last year and even got clear on a name transition for my organization though haven’t made the concrete changes yet 😉 My logo is still aligned and I love it, however the tribe/people that I serve has evolved. I will love to set up a call with you 🙂

  4. Sue, I so enjoyed sharing your rebrand journey and was laughing right along with you at all the lessons learned with the signature part! Honestly, in all the years I did exclusively my work around bringing your brand to life this was the thing that tripped up so many people, myself included … getting the darn signature right! 😉 This will serve so many entrepreneurs. Blessings, Dawn

    • Hi Dawn, welcome.

      Thanks for the compassion around the signature thing. It was an illuminating exercise and I’m glad I was able to get to “good enough” so that I can now move on to the naming and writing piece.

      Love and magic,

  5. Wow is this timely for me Sue! I am in the midst of a rebrand right now and have been creating my new logo, website and updated mobile app. It is an exciting process but has required way more energy than I originally understood it would. It is a rebirth for sure and I find the need to let go of my current brand as I stretch into my new one. Thank you for your affirming insights!

    • Kelley, yes the rebranding takes a lot of time and bandwidth, doesn’t it? It’s just so TOTAL!

      I can’t wait to see what you’re creating.


  6. Great reading about your process, Sue. Even though I am not rebranding at the moment, I love the insight into how someone else thinks about their business and their brand. And I love the care and attention and intention you are putting into your logo. xo, Reba

    • Reba, thanks! Yes: hand-crafted and made with love and care. This theme will show up here and there in my new offers. I’m having more fun than I thought I would!

      Love and light,

  7. Fabulous post as usual, Sue! Seems like this rebranding bug is going around…while not doing a total rebrand, I am working deeply and thoughtfully around developing a new tagline, messaging and offers. Not for the faint of heart at all, and ultimately no doubt so worthwhile. I love how you’re sharing your process with us. xoxoxo

    • Sharon, bubbeleh, from the sneak preview I’ve been privileged to see, I am loving the new theme as it’s showing up in your tagline and offers. Go you!

      Blessed be.

  8. One of my good friends is a graphic designer and a former Art Director and I enlisted him to help with my current branding. Many conversations and brainstorming sessions about what I “wanted to be when I grew up”, resulted in brilliant branding that starts conversations with every business card I hand out and curiosity with those who see my word wallpaper on my social media banners and website. As I am streamlining my intentions, I do see how some of the components in my current branding might need to be tweaked and changed, however, the time, energy and love put into what I have now…is going to stay with me for at least a little bit longer. Loved walking through your process with you Sue, as I know how important each of the choices is to moving forward effortlessly to the future you are ready to create.

    • Beverley,

      Yes, I can see that — your word wallpaper is engaging, as are the other elements of your brand that I’ve seen.

      Love and light,

  9. I LOVE this post, Sue!

    I’ve been in that same state, circling around the idea of a rebrand for some time now. As you suggest in your post, it takes time because until you’ve settled into your ‘new identity’ it’s hard to pinpoint where to change things. There are so many factors involved, it seems like a HUGE job.

    I like how you’ve broken it down, remembering the ‘why’ behind the logo, the name, etc.

    Thanks for your wisdom and clarity!

    Big Love,
    ~ Jenny

    • Hi Jenny,

      It’s huge, but lucky for me I’m supported in the commitment to do one thing at a time.

      Logo is done, naming is done, now on to some writing!

      Exciting times.


  10. Very impressive! I’ve thought about rebranding my blog to gain more readership, but am still confused by it. Not sure which direction to go or what specifically would help. Kudos to you!

    • Julie, I’m happy to help with confusion. Let me know if you’d like to share what’s confusing you and I’ll do my best to help clarify.

      Love and blessings,

  11. I made a rebrand leap in 2014. It was not without it’s pain points because I had to move from linear business coaching to something completely new but it was totally worth it. The clients I’ve served have been a better fit for me. Thank you for bringing this subject to light with this post and I wish everyone well with their rebrands.

    • Janis, hi. I love the “lean” element to your branding. Go you. I’m curious: what’s linear biz coaching, and how is it different from what you do now?

      Tell me more.


  12. Whether it be branding, rebranding is a process that unfolds over time – at least that is what I have discovered. I am sure I am not there yet and really enjoyed reading your process. Gleaned some inspiration to take away…thank you!

    • Teresa, welcome, I’m so glad to connect with you. Glad to inspire; and thanks so much for telling me.


  13. I love all the transparency, thoughtfulness and heart-centered presence you’ve brought to your rebranding process, Sue! A wonderful model and inspiration!

    Celebrating how it’s unfolding!

  14. I was smiling the whole way through your post because I can SO appreciate all that you’re going through. I’m slogging my way through an article audit. With a couple of hundred articles, it’s a major project but it is part of taking my site to the next level because I’m fine tuning each article, changing / improving some of the titles, and republishing the best of the best.

    I’ve also created a new “welcome to the community” gift and cornerstone pages that will provide a boost to SEO, and this isn’t even all of it. This all came from a pro-blogging course I took in January and it’s a much larger project that I realized when I started but I’m really happy with the results so far and can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    Looking forward to following along on your continued rebranding journey Sue!

    • Marquita, Wow, an article audit! With 792 posts (at this moment), I can’t imagine ever taking on such a monumental task.

      It sounds, though, like a spot-on way to uplevel the great content you have.


  15. Hi Sue, I love getting a peek into your process. As you say “Contemplating a rebrand is a great mindfulness and self-integrity opportunity.” There’s more going on than most people might see.

    I’ve been through the process three times over the last 5 years and it’s only the last version where I’ve felt that I got it right. I look forward to following along with your journey!

    • Dave, it’s so nice to part the curtains. I learn so much when others share bits of their process with me as well.

      I’m loving what I see in your brand. Lovely and engaging.


  16. I enjoyed your description of your process and your journey Sue – and, this is such a tease! I so want to see your new logo now! 🙂

    • Hi Lia, welcome. Thanks for letting me know this is useful. I’m tempted of course to show the work in project, but not giving in to that temptation. Yet.


  17. We worked with a webmaster on our original website 2 years ago and tweaked it recently. Never knew how much thought went into every single decision. We were in a much better place to answer 2nd time around & are much happier with our site now. The process of a logo took months. So I appreciate your personal journey.

    • Roslyn, There’s a lot of love and thought in your logo — glad you gave it time! And that thoughtfulness follows through in your brand. Nice job!

      Love and magic,

  18. Sue, I see rebranding as a good sign, albeit a big project. You have come to a place of maturity in your business. You know what works and what doesn’t. You know more of what your business is all about. Now the branding needs to match up with it. Congratulations!

    • Diane, that’s a lovely blessing! Thank you. Going to be doing some of the writing today that will open up the matching of the brand with the state of my biz.

      Blessed be.

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