Ep 99 // Evolving Your Brand: Embracing Authenticity and Change

Ep 99

Embracing change can be difficult and uncomfortable, but when it comes to the business world, it's a necessary skill for leaders. Executive and leadership coach Akua Nyame Mensah has recently gone through the rebranding process, and in this episode, she shares the importance of evolving and staying relevant as a business leader. 

If you don't think you need a brand, or you're thinking of rebranding yourself and/or your business, this episode is for you. Akua dives into the specific reasons she wanted to rebrand, including matching her current look, reflecting her image in the corporate world, and more explicitly presenting her offerings. 

Learn the importance of evolving in your personal and professional life, how to stay adaptable, and why investing in expert support can be a game changer when it comes to a rebrand. 

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What's Covered in this Episode About Leadership Branding

  • Learn the many reasons to consider a rebrand and why you might be overdue for one.
  • Akua discusses personal challenges during her rebranding journey, including analysis paralysis, unrealistic timelines, and delegation hurdles. Get tips on how to overcome these and other challenges. 
  • Understand the benefits of rebranding, including improved brand positioning, enhanced visuals, a well-defined funnel, and alignment with marketing and content strategies.
  • Akua acknowledges the pivotal role of leveraging experts in various aspects of her rebrand, from design and copywriting to strategy. 
  • Discover why you should consider your own rebranding opportunities, the importance of authenticity, and how to find genuine fulfillment in the process.

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Quotes from this Episode of Open Door Conversations

  • "Leaders aren't born, they're made, I'm naturally not a people's person, I still don't consider myself a people's person. But I'm able to genuinely connect and authentically to connect with people." - Akua Nyame-Mensah
  • "Leadership is not just a collection of skills. It's not just about getting that next skill or getting that next certification. It's more than that. It's an attitude." - Akua Nyame-Mensah
  • "Leadership is a cycle. It's a system. It's a set of habits, and it's something that you need to work on day in and day out." - Akua Nyame-Mensah

Mentioned in Evolving Your Brand: Embracing Authenticity and Change

Get to Know the Host of the Open Door Conversations Podcast

Learn more about your host, Akua Nyame-Mensah.

Akua is a certified executive and leadership coach, recognized learning and organizational development facilitator, speaker, and former startup executive. 

Since 2018, she has had the opportunity to partner with amazing organizations, from high-growth startups to multinational brands all around the world, to maximize people, performance, and profit.  Outside of her coaching and corporate speaking engagements, she is a regular mentor, coach, and judge for various entrepreneurship-focused organizations.

Stay in touch with Akua Nyame-Mensah, Leadership & Culture Advisor:

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Here’s the transcript for episode 99 about Evolving Your Brand: Embracing Authenticity and Change

NOTE: Please excuse any errors in this transcript; it was created using an AI tool. Akua Nyame-Mensah 0:00 doing all of this was very much outside my comfort zone, especially around taking pictures and attempting to do video, but I felt like it was so important for me to do all of it. Hello and welcome to the open door conversations podcast. My name is Korea Nyame-Mensah. I also respond to Aqua and Akua. I'm a certified executive and leadership coach recognised learning and organisational development facilitator, speaker and former startup executive. And I am so excited because this year I'm celebrating five years of working for myself five years of supporting leaders. And I am so grateful because I've had the opportunity to partner with amazing organisations, from hydro startups to multinational brands all around the world, and 2022 alone, I serve over 600 Yes, over 600 leaders around the world. And in this podcast, you will have the opportunity to learn my three step leadership framework. I actually break it down in Episode 71. I use this framework with my high achieving and entrepreneurial minded clients that are juggling a million responsibilities so they can easily build wealth. This three step framework is going to teach you how to leverage your innate personality to learn how to prioritise and maximise not just your time, but also your money. You don't have to work harder or turn into someone else. To get more done. Let's tune into this week's episode. Hello, and welcome to this week's open door conversations podcast episode. This is episode number 99. I can't believe it. It's mind blowing. And I'm really excited about talking about my rebranding, why I went through a rebranding why I am going through a rebranding, and really around embracing change. I talk about change all the time of my clients, I might not use the word change, I typically talk about evolving, the word evolving definitely resonates with me a little bit more. So as opposed to maybe embracing change. This is about evolving. And this episode, I really wanted to dive a little bit deeper into the reasons why I decided to undergo not just a rebranding from the strategy and positioning side, but also why I decided to invest in some visuals, because for the longest time, it's something I really resisted. So in terms of setting the stage for this episode, and I mentioned this already in the intro, a lot of this is outside my comfort zone as it relates to strategy, switching things up doing new things in my marketing, I have absolutely no problem doing that. But getting in front of a camera recording videos that relate to more of me or my business without it being a conversation, a workshop is actually very difficult for me to do. So when I think about some of the challenges that came up while going through this process. And I'm still going through this process of anything, business owners are constantly evolving and updating their brand, whether or not they're aware of it. And that's a huge thing, right? When you think to yourself, well, I don't need a brand, right? We talk a lot about this. When we talk about even self promotion. Well, there's a story about you, there's a perception about you that's happening, whether or not you are intentionally doing anything about it. So you might as well take the time to be intentional about it and try and control or try to add to what you can. But when I think about some of the challenges that came up, when I was reflecting on going through this exercise, the first of course, was money and budget, like do I actually have the financial resources to do this. And you know, I'm really lucky this year, really grateful this year, I had that. And I continue to invest in my brand and think about how I want to show up in different channels still. And it's something that I want to be a bit more intentional about moving forward. The second and probably most important for many of us because even to get to a point where you can decide whether or not you have the money over budget, you need to set aside the time. And not only do you need to set aside the time you need to honour the time. So taking the time to look at your budget, taking the time to look at the cash you have on hand to see whether or not you can invest in a rebranding and the service providers that will support you on that journey is huge. So time and money number one, and two. And the last one here is resources. And so one of the things that really came up when I started thinking about this rebranding was reflecting on the resources and this is primarily the human resources, the human capacities to be able to do this. And I quickly came to the conclusion that I couldn't do it myself. This was not going to be something that I wanted to to take a course or programme in that I truly wanted to get expert support that would do the work. And this was something that was incredibly important to me. And something that I wanted to make sure that I did. I didn't want to read a book, once again, I didn't want to take the course, I didn't want to work with a coach, I wanted to work with someone who would actually do the work. And when I think about these three challenges that I needed to keep in mind, I knew that the opportunities on the flip side were limitless, like the opportunities to do this, what could come out of it could really be big, could really be massive. And whenever I think about rebranding evolving, a huge thing is making sure that we all are open to embracing change and staying relevant. And you can define relevant whatever way you want. If you've taken a look at any of my social media profiles, if you've listened to any my podcasts, you know, for me irrelevant, is very relative. I'm not interested in being all out there. I know some of you listen to this might feel like I'm very visible. And then I share a lot. But from my perspective, I don't. And what's relevant to me, of course, is not only what I'm comfortable with, because of course, I am always pushing myself outside my comfort zone, but I think is relevant to me being able to get business. And so one of the things I actually will talk about, it might be in this episode, or it might be in my 100th episode is really rethinking my relationship with marketing and what works for my business, because that's something that I've also allocated time to throughout this rebranding or evolving journey. Let's get into the second part of this podcast episode where I actually wanted to discuss a little bit, the vision and purpose of this rebranding, I wanted to take some time to explain my vision, and what I really hoped to achieve. Of course, I'd love your feedback on whether or not I have achieved this. But what I hope to achieve. And really what I was trying to do was first and foremost, I did not feel like I was talking about my work in a way that was really landing, I would get a lot of the same questions, I didn't feel like I was doing a really good job of highlighting the services that I had. And so this rebranding was a great opportunity for me to make sure that I doubled down on the actual services and what was included in them and the investment related to them. The second thing is I really wanted to make sure people understood the value of my work. And though it is important to recognise that having a nice website, having nice visuals doesn't necessarily mean that you're a great service provider or that you provide results, I do think that they do have an impact on how people perceive you, and also whether or not they're willing to invest at you at certain levels. The third thing I have on here is that I wanted to make sure my visuals matched what I look like now, and I mentioned this already, but I wanted to make sure I also had, you know, visuals that were related to the work that I do. I work with a lot of executives, the majority of my work is corporate, and I wanted to make sure that I had visuals to match that and that people had an understanding of what they were investing in. And also because I work primarily online, people don't necessarily get to experience me physically. So making sure that I had videos making sure that I had high quality, high resolution videos, and images, I think really goes a long way to help bridge that gap. And help people understand how I sound, what I look like and how I take up space. The last thing I wanted to do within this rebranding or evolving brand exercise was really build a funnel. And be very clear about how people come into my space, how I want people to interact in my space, and how they end up working with me. And so I invested in some support to make sure that I had that component as well. So that's a little bit more on that strategy piece. But of course has an impact on what you see visually as well. So in terms of how this aligns with my values, and goals, let me walk through. And this is going to be a little bit more branding speak, probably. But let me walk through seven of the elements that really come up as it relates to thinking about this evolving brand exercise. The first is that I wanted to explicitly so this is an important thing. This is something I did implicitly if someone showed up, I would you know build these things out. But I wanted to explicitly expand my service offerings, and signal to clients that I provide a specific set of services related to leadership and culture. So the first thing here is that this evolving, brand or rebrand was meant to help broaden my services. Once again, I already did these services, but I never had done a good job of explicitly outlining what it involved what the process was and what my approach was as well. So that was one of the first things that was really important to me. And if you take a look at my website now, I think that's all clear if you ask me a question And how do I do X? How do I do? Why would I keep in mind FAQs, it's on the website. And a lot of it, of course, was driven by the work I had already done and people reaching out. So I do think it's also very responsive to my audience are very responsive to potential clients and existing clients. The second thing is, I did want to reposition myself somewhat, it's not exactly a repositioning. But I would say it's very much a solidification, if that's a word of my brand. And I wanted to really make sure that my brand would appeal to actually my existing clients, I would say that the majority of my work is definitely referral based. It's repeat, work. But it was really important that, you know, once again, my visuals and my my strategy, my positioning my messaging matched, and would appeal to not just my existing clients, so I can continue to get work from them, but that they can easily refer me as well. Another thing here is not exactly outdated branding, but definitely visual and brand identity improvement. I think that in terms of what I was putting out there, it still resonated and still definitely aligned with what I do. But I definitely think I needed to improve my visual identity, my logo, I'd already updated it, but I had never done a good job of actually having it consistently across all my channels, my website, really excited about it, because now I think that in terms of the resources I have available, it's a lot easier to find it. But definitely the overall aesthetics of my brand, I think are a lot more appealing and memorable and a lot more excited about it. And a huge part of that was by was because I invested in an expert to support me, while the majority of my previous work was actually done by me. And I was using images that were from about five years ago. So one of the first workshops I ever did in person, those were the visuals that I was using. And so it was definitely time for new headshots, definitely time for some new things, to show people what I really looked like. Now, another thing I have on this list is competitive advantage. And I definitely think that my website and my visuals now truly differentiate myself from competitors, and I think highlight my unique selling points as well. And once again, I think that this was somewhat always there. But I think that visual components there, and it makes me happy. In terms of this next one I have on the list personal growth and evolution, I do think I've grown a lot, I think I'm a lot more clear on the services, I want to provide the value that I provide. I think the fact that I took the time to put together case studies, once again, with the amazing support of my copywriter also really shows that it's time to put myself out there as a professional and that the work I do truly has value. And the last one I have on here is feedback and market research. I listened to client feedback, I conducted a lot of market research, every time I have a conversation every single time that I you know, have a workshop. This is all market research. And I wanted to make sure that my branding and how I talk about my services aligned with that, because I felt like it was time for change because I kept getting the same questions. So that's really what I wanted to share in the second segment really thinking about vision and purpose. Let's now talk a little bit about what I hope will be some of the benefits of this rebranding. And beyond exploring the various benefits that rebranding can offer, I want to talk a little bit about some of the new things that I've added to my website. And I've added that, you know, my potential clients and current clients can also access, as I mentioned before, I work virtually primarily so having good quality visuals, it's helpful to connect and once again, also project help people perceive my value, whether or not I like to admit it, we are beings that make decisions and come to conclusions about superficial things, or using superficial traits and superficial indicators a lot of times, and so it is helpful. And I do think it does help and so far has helped a lot. I also think that another benefit that comes from this rebranding or evolution exercise is that it very much reflects the impact that I have, I think I've done a better job and the people who've supported me have done a better job of showcasing, showcasing my value. And so some of the key elements of this is really thinking about how I create content and sort of better position it. So that's something that I'm not necessarily working on now. But we'll be working on a little bit more into the fourth quarter of this year. And of course into next year. I have case studies and highlights and testimonials that are highlighted and things that are very, I'm very excited about. So these are things I've had honestly for many years, but I've never done a good job of sharing it on my website or really talking about it. I now have a clear funnel. So this is not something I necessarily share out there. But I'm very clear on how people will go through my funnel and how they get on a call with me and how I'm making sure that I'm separating out those who maybe aren't ready or don't have the resources to invest in me. And this is something that's really important as a primarily solopreneur I can't jump on calls with everyone and not everyone will be a great fit. So it's actually a win win for both parties. And this will allow me to do a better job of weeding through and of course, qualifying leads as well. And so I also have a contact form that I'm very excited about. And last but not least, I've thought a little bit about lead generation. So capturing the value sharing the value, I have, you know, a leadership assessment that I think is really great. And I also have playlists that people can also download if they're interested in listening to my content, and can get value from that. So ultimately, my hope is that this rebranding helps me better connect, not just with my target audience, because you know that what I do is not mass market. So with potential clients, and people who are excited to work with me and invest in me and excited to invest in themselves as well. So it should be a lot clearer who I work with and who I don't, I've also included the investments or the starting investment required to work with me. And this also could potentially repel clients. And I'm also okay with that. And last but not least, my marketing and content activities are a lot more aligned. And I have an actual funnel. As I mentioned before, it's something I'm still working on. But I'm really excited about it. And at the top of my funnel actually is now going to be a roundtable. So an opportunity for people to be in my space, create a safe space for them to learn a little bit more about the people in leadership related topics that I think I'm well known for. And in terms of, you know, increasing brand awareness, my differentiation, or my market positioning really is around what I think I've been talking about since the beginning. So the first is that, you know, leaders aren't born, they're made, right, I'm naturally not a people's person, I still don't consider myself a people's person. But I'm able to genuinely connect and authentically to connect with people. Leadership is not just a collection of skills, right? It's not just about getting that next skill or getting that next certification. It's more than that. It's an attitude. And last but not least, leadership is a cycle. It's a system, right? It's a set of habits, and it's something that you need to work on day in and day out. So I just spoke a bit about the benefits of rebranding, let's talk about some of the challenges that I had to overcome. I don't feel like there have been many risks associated with evolving my brand or rebranding, I work for myself. And in terms of what I do, things are constantly changing. Things are constantly evolving. We're always learning new things in my space. But in terms of some of the things that I had to overcome personally, and these are things that I know about myself, and I've also talked about on the podcast at length. The first is analysis paralysis, the opportunities are on limited as a relates to thinking about how I can show up as a coach, consultant and advisor. So I was very much overwhelmed in many different ways. I had a hard time delegating some pieces. There are other times where I was definitely micromanaging elements of the process and some of the people supporting me. And last but not least, I definitely had some unrealistic timelines. And this is why it's so important for you to find experts that resonate with you. And I worked with a lot of different experts, a lot of different service providers to get to this point, where I now have an amazingly beautiful website for my perspective, I've rethought my LinkedIn strategy. I've rethought my funnel. And there's so many other pieces that I can't even remember right now that I've gotten support on as well. So as it relates to thinking about unrealistic timelines, these are things that I talked to leaders about all the time. And it's the same at the analysis, paralysis overwhelm, in general, and as it relates to thinking about delegating, and micromanaging. And that's why finding experts that resonate with you that you have a great relationship with or can build a great relationship with can be incredibly helpful. I had a production team that helped me with the visuals. And this was quite a big team, I think there was about 1310 to 13 people on this team. They were great all based in Accra, Ghana, a fabulous team, I think that really helped me come up with some amazing visuals. And I was incredibly uncomfortable taking a lot of pictures, but that didn't necessarily come through. And I think they did a good job of relaxing me and also directing me because I don't take pictures. It's not something I do. It's not something I enjoy doing. And it's the first time I had taken pictures like this in like five years. And especially at this level, we had a lot of looks a lot of different locations, a lot of sets and elements and moving pieces. And so that was all done by a team of incredible individuals. And it really took the pressure off of me all I had to do was show up and make sure I was clean. Another important expert on this process. And on this journey is my copywriter who is incredible. She's amazing. And without her I wasn't it wouldn't be possible to have the the amazing case studies that I have on my website. There's a lot of other work that we did together. But that was probably the most important piece and has been really helpful so far, because it's something I feel very proud to share. She also helped me redo my leadership assessment as well, which is also something I'm really proud to share and when people take it, they do get value out of it. The next is my website designer, incredible woman who lives in a completely different part of the world to me, so it was always trying to navigate those time difference issues. But once again, I think that she was really able to bring my website to life. And it's been incredible to work with her. And I'm really grateful for all the support that she's provided me. The next one I have on here as a business strategist, one of the things I decided to do when working with my copywriter, and one of the things I realised was that, hey, I need to actually do some bigger strategy work here related to my positioning and messaging. And that can be really helpful. And so with my amazing business strategist, we also came up with a funnel that, once again, has been brought to life by my website designer, and with some support from my copywriter, as well. All of this was supported by my VA, who is incredible and continues to support me with updating bits and pieces of my website. And I'm really excited about those pieces as well. And so in addition to I think, now having a website, and some channels are a lot more aligned with me, and my evolution have much better positioning and messaging, I also am at a place where I have much better SEO as well. So there's lots of different elements in this, lots of different pieces. But working with these experts, very much helped me stay on track helped me or help keep me out of my head. And we've been able to get a lot of things done. Because when you work with external, you know, experts, typically they have a process, and usually it works really well. And so that's definitely worked. In my case, when thinking about implementing the branding. As I mentioned before, I worked with experts that were external of me. So this was something that was really helpful. I also thought that when I think about the lessons that come from implementing this rebranding that I had to remind myself that I can't do everything. At the same time, I did take a bit of a break from doing actual like leadership and culture advising work. And this is something that I could do, because financially, it made sense, I typically do take a break around the summertime anyway. And that allowed me to focus on other pieces such as my evolving brand. I also did use social media bit to share some of my updates. I will say in addition to this having a positive impact, I guess on people knowing what I do, or reminding them of what I do, it was also really great to celebrate the amazing service providers and experts that supported me. And to me that was actually more important working with experts made everything easier as it relates to the strategy and the timeline, because they know a lot of these pieces better than I do. And when thinking about working with these external experts, these external service writers, the first thing I definitely would recommend is that you read their agreements, make sure that you're on the same page for success, be ready for random things to pop up. I invested in many of my experts a little bit more than I initially intended to, but I'm very glad that I did, I'd always recommend, of course talking to several service providers before making a decision. And make sure you enjoy working with whoever you're investing in, I would definitely consider some of the people that have supported me on my journey to be really, you know, friends, you know, fun people, I enjoy having conversations with catching up with definitely peers, because ultimately, it's about relationships at the end of the day. And you have to get really vulnerable with these individuals so that they can support you. So you want to make sure that it's a great space, it's a mutually beneficial space, and that you enjoy spending time with them. Whenever relates to thinking about communicating that change. As I mentioned earlier, I did share some things online, I am still on this journey. I haven't been perfect with it. And that's okay, because I'm not selling a mass market product. So, you know, constantly communicating about it's not really that important to me. And I think it's most important for people who already know me and maybe plan to refer me more than anything else. But hopefully you've taken the time to take a look at my website. And I'd love to hear your thoughts. If you do take the time to do that. As it relates to thinking about this rebranding exercise, this evolving exercise, you know, the one thing maybe to keep in mind is that it's not easy. But keeping in mind, the benefits of rebranding has really helped me stay on track. And it's also been, I think, easier for me, because not only did I have the financial resources to do it, I wasn't doing it from a place of feeling like I had to, I wasn't doing it from a place of feeling like this is going to have this massive impact on my bottom line. And I must do it. But from a place of I have these additional resources that are not only financial, but I have the mental capacity. And I can make the space for this. I can say no to other things to be able to do this and to do this somewhat properly. Or I've enjoyed the process. And I think we've done it as properly as we can. The long and short of it. It's important to embrace change, and stay adaptable in business. And that's that's really what I'm doing here. But it's authentic, it's genuine and most importantly, it feels good. I have this aversion to doing things that don't necessarily feel good. And as I say that it's not to say that I don't get outside my comfort zone. I get outside my comfort zone every single time I record a podcast every single time I jump on a you know jump on a coaching call or do a workshop. So it's about knowing what your boundaries are, what that comfort zone is and understanding what you get out of it. And I enjoy the thrill the rush that comes out of doing something a bit different, but it's still important that it's authentic and feels good. Ultimately, I would encourage you if you are thinking about your own rebranding opportunities or evolving opportunities as it relates to either your leadership brand, your personal brand, your business brand, that it really can be a catalyst for your own internal growth and can help you feel more successful beyond Of course, the potential financial benefits and impact that it can have. As always, thank you so much for taking the time to listen, feel free to visit my website. I would love to know what you think. And please stay tuned for my 100th episode that is coming out next, I'm going to be diving into the lessons that I've learned over the last five years of running my business. And of course, the lessons I've learned from recording my 100th episode. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen. Stay safe, and stay sane. Thank you so much for listening to this week's episode, please share this episode with someone who can benefit from its contents. If you found this episode helpful, I want to ask you to leave a review. This makes it easier for other people to find my podcast and also allows me to bring on even bigger guests, and even more fascinating stories. Thank you so much for listening again. Stay safe and stay sane. .


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