It’s winter 2014. I’ve decided that THIS is the year I’ll step out on my own, full time. Hang my virtual shingle and start working with entrepreneurial businesses – providing my marketing savvy and proposal writing skills to firms across the country to help win the work they want. At the time, I’d been in marketing or communications for 15 years – starting directly out of college with my first job at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. I was ready to work with many firms, to collaborate with them, to share the energy of growing and winning, to be creative and adventurous in what we do everyday.
First, I need to name the business. This was one of my biggest challenges. Should it have the word “marketing” in the name? What about “creative,” that seems to be a phrase marketing firms use? What do professional services firms want to hire? Regardless of the qualifier in the name, WHAT will the name be? There were weeks of brainstorming, playing online, testing web domains…. My background is in professional services firms – and they are my target audience. So I researched AEC firm names – many of which are named after the founder or partners. But, naming it after me didn’t feel right. And I never had a nick-name so that wasn’t available as a back-up. My initials don’t spell anything clever…
Then, as we were getting ready to file the paperwork – so time was of the essence – my husband turned from his desk and said, “What about Andana?”
“Yes, Anthony, Daniel, and Nathan. Your three nephews.”
“Andana! That is wonderful. I need to run it by my sister.”
Idea for the name, approved by my sister. Approved by the nephews. The only other “Andana” on Google is a spa in Italy. Not competition – but maybe a future business trip?
From a box-checking perspective – it worked. It was definitely unique – no one else had the name. And since it is a spa in Italy, it has no negative meaning in another language (Google confirmed). I could create a logo with it. Social media custom URLs were available.
More importantly, there is a great story behind it. My three nephews. They were so excited that the company was named after them. And, the three could be incorporated into the logo somehow. It would be motivating to remember them as stakeholders in this endeavor, even if just by lending their names. Now, I’m working to convince them to intern with me at some point!
I also wanted to make sure my clients knew it wasn’t a spa. “Consulting” seemed like the right qualifier. We consult, we also do. But “design” wasn’t right – because that is only one piece of what we can do. “Creative” sounded too much like advertising. “Collaborative” and “Collective” sounded like a co-working space. Which would be awesome (and something we’ve talked about starting several times in the last three years)… so I’ll save that for when the co-working space opens.
I’m telling you all about this because in 2017 we started to update our brand. I wouldn’t call it a rebrand, more of a refresh. We’ve got a new look (a new logo and soon to launch new website – more on that to come). But more important, we’ve got a renewed focus on our mission and a vision for the future. We are super excited about Andana and building amazing relationships with each of our clients and partners.
This brand refresh has been a journey for me as a small business owner.
One of surprise and delight, but also some real soul searching. I’m thrilled at the results of working with our consultants to get to this place and will share more details of this journey with you.