How a Great Reputation Can Hurt Your Business

Perception is a great thing when you’re branding yourself. You want people to see you a certain way, and you need to convey what you can do at a glance.

What happens when that perception hurts you – even if it’s a good one?

We’re known for great designs and rocking content. We provide all the handholding people need. We’re flexible and friendly, and we embrace feedback. We’re also very good at our jobs, and we’re able to gently tell clients suggestions on what we feel is best for their goals.

In short, we have a long list of happy clients. So what could go wrong?

Revolution Magazine, unfortunately. It’s a great theme with the perfect solutions for many types of businesses, and it’s well built with clean coding. It’s adaptable and it offers a wealth of opportunities.

Too much of a good thing? We’re starting to think so.

For some time now, customers have been coming to us asking for a Men with Pens design. They want to look good and they want us. Fantastic. But they also often want a customized Revolution Magazine theme. Why? Because it works.

At first, that was fine. Then it became a problem.

Everyone wanted a Rev Mag theme – and why not? It has plenty of potential. But we know that differentiating is important for success. We know people can use other themes – there are a slew of great ones out there, and we have the skills to work with any WordPress theme clients choose.

“Is Rev Mag all you do?” Naomi from Itty Biz, the small business marketing expert, bluntly asked the question. “I mean, don’t get me wrong. You guys do kick-ass work. But it looks to me like Rev Mag is all you can do.”

Ouch. We love you too, but damn, girl… ouch.

Then she tossed in the kicker. “And if I think that, then how many potential customers thought the same thing – and walked away?”

Wake-up call. That undesired perception, that Rev Mag specialist image, hurts our business. And we didn’t even ask for that specialist title. We don’t promote Rev Mag specifically, we don’t push it… but the damage is done.

Our fault? Misbranding? Poor image? It’s hard to tell. We suggest themes to clients that meet their needs, and Rev Mag is often not our first choice. In fact, lately, we haven’t done any Rev Mag customizations at all (of course, we did others).

But we’ve customized one Rev Mag too many for people, and the perception now boxes us in.

Alright, that’s our problem. How does this relate to you?

Well, specializing is great, but make sure that clients know your specialty is not all you can do. If you want to earn different types of gigs, work on all sorts of projects, then you need to make it clear to customers that you’re flexible – and that you can adapt to their needs.

How are we going to correct the situation?

One, we’re writing this blog post to tell everyone we rock at customizing ANY WordPress theme.
Two, we’re overhauling our content over the next week to make sure our content reflects that.
Three, we’ll continue to suggest blog themes that meet our clients’ needs best – not just the ones they think might work best.

Of course, we’ll continue to offer Rev Mag customizations – because it truly is a good theme. The challenge is on us to make each Rev Mag theme we customize look different from the next.

We’ll meet that challenge easily – and with pleasure.

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.