As the co-owner of a dance studio that’s been in her family for 40 years, Suzanne Blake Gerety knows the ins and outs of successful business practices. Besides running the studio, she and her mother, Kathy Blake, contribute to DT’s “Ask the Experts” column and lead business seminars at our Dance Teacher Summit. Here, she shares knowledge about rebranding your studio.
Dance Teacher: After investing time and money to promote a certain image, why might a studio owner decide it’s time to rebrand?
Suzanne Blake Gerety: Our studio went through a rebranding process about a year ago. For us, it was about making our brand match the evolution of our studio. We loved our studio colors, but we wanted our logo and website to be more cutting-edge to reflect the level of training we offer.
Think about how long ago the last update to your brand happened. For us, it had been more than 10 years. Our website design wasn’t very easy to navigate, and we knew we needed to fix that. Decide what it is you love about your current brand. Ask yourself what is working, then start with what’s not. It can feel scary to make big changes, but you can evolve your logo and plan without losing the identity of your business. Think of it as a future conversation. You want your brand to reflect where you’re going, so you have to be willing to grow.
DT: What tends to be passed over when rebranding?
SBG: The importance of having a mobile presence is frequently overlooked. People are always on their mobile devices. Customers want the ease of accessing your website from their handheld. Older website designs probably include serif fonts that are difficult to read on mobile devices. Update to sans serif. Make sure your phone number is push-to-talk and includes the area code, and make sure driving directions and Google maps are accurate.
If you aren’t sure whether or not your website is mobile-friendly, try going to quirktools.com/screenfly, where you can type in your web address, select different devices and find out how your site looks and responds on each one. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly and you don’t want to fix it yourself, reach out to a website design company and make sure you stress the importance of your site being mobile-friendly. It is so important.
DT: What is the most important thing to remember?
SBG: Consistency. As a dance studio owner, the hardest thing to do is to stay consistent with the way you present your brand to your community. Business plan, communications, logo design, e-mails and even social media should all reflect the message you want to send about your studio. I know this can be challenging given the demands that you have as both a business owner and dance teacher, so you either have to create a system or find someone who can help you. You have to make sure your brand is consistently reflecting the spirit of your studio.
Photo by Break The Floor Productions, courtesy of Gerety