The Hummingbird Who Thought She was a Lotus Flower: A Branding Story

Jendi Coursey and I met when she was a hospital communications director. She hired me to assist her as she reshaped the hospital’s reputation. It was the beginning of a strong and always fun working collaboration. Then, when my son was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Oakland with meningoencephalitis, she drove for hours to be with me (even after I told her not to). I didn’t know how much I needed help. Her support played a huge part in my ability to stay sane. My son recovered, miraculously, and my friendship with Jendi was set for life.
 
Jendi eventually left her position as a hospital communications director, and after a short stint as the marketing director for a local health center, she opened her own public relations firm and photography studio. She asked me to help establish her branding and one of her first questions was, “How about a logo with a lotus flower?” I replied jokingly, “What are you, a spa?”
 
She fell into the trap that so many people do. She saw something that looked good on someone else and figured it was right for her. For anyone who knows Jendi, they would consider a peaceful, spa-like image an odd choice. Jendi is a fireball who is always moving at full speed. She talks fast. She moves fast. She thinks fast. She is in no way a quiet flower floating in a pond!
 
So we began what I call the process of discovery. We started talking about what her clients and potential clients prized most about working with her, and the unique strengths that came with her skillset. We delved into defining effective branding that represents her company’s offerings, core values and the way she works with clients. True to form, Jendi immediately dumped the lotus flower and flew (no pun intended) to an image that suited her far better. “What about a hummingbird?” she asked. Now we were getting somewhere. The hummingbird was perfect.
 
Initially, she named her company Indigo Studios and she focused on her two favorite endeavors—photography and communications consulting—in equal measure. But as her company grew, she decided to make communications her primary focus, using her photography as an add-on for clients. Her branding needed to evolve with her. It was time to let the hummingbird go.
 
 
When she narrowed her focus to communications work, she renamed her firm Jendi Coursey Communications. We redesigned her logo to display a more corporate look, and then it was time to tackle her website.
 
We used the same process of discovery to determine her next goals; this guided our choice of images (pretty convenient when your client is her own photographer), the layout, color, fonts, etc. to reinforce her branding and to make the website easy to navigate. She wanted the site to feel approachable and friendly, like her, but also to reflect her values and clearly display her professionalism, skill and experience in writing and consulting. I’m so pleased that the site is now live—and even happier that Jendi is so excited about it. And we even found a special place for the hummingbird (see if you can find it!). Her website is jendicoursey.com.
 
A website is the digital version of a retail store. The entrance (homepage) has to be enticing and give people a sense of the experience they’re about to have. Is your company more like a department store, a boutique, a discount store, or a second-hand store? Are you selling made-to-order Armani suits or do you have a warehouse full of material that needs to move? There’s an audience for all types of products and services. The goal is to attract the customers who are looking for what you’re selling and who want the kind of sales experience you provide.  
 
As you develop your website, the clearer you are about who you serve and how you meet their needs, the better your site can work for you.
 
Working with a talented group of developers, I design websites that allow my clients’ best attributes to shine, and if anyone has attributes and skills that shine, it’s Jendi. Check out her new site at jendicoursey.com. If you’re in need of communication services, either writing or consulting, you may want to meet her. Once you do, you’ll see just how well her new site suits her.