These days, I am known to many simply as the #RedShark from Channel TEN’s Shark Tank Australia or ‘that lady in red,’ but being the Founding Director of RedBalloon did not mean I always wore red – nor infact is it my favourite colour.
The question I often get is – how is it not being the CEO? How did you do it? I appointed Jemma Fastnedge as CEO (now CEO of Redii.com) close to five years ago – and moved to a non executive director role (i.e. not involved in the daily operations). Nick Baker is firmly the CEO and has been for most of 2015 – and in that short time he and the team have delivered not just an incredible new website – but also evolved the look and feel – including the logo.
Yet it was not as big a step as most people would think. In fact quite the contrary. Nick and his leadership team presented to the board, outlining the clear commercial value of the updated look and the rebuild of the site. Many were nervous thinking that I may be wedded to the past. Yet I welcomed it completely – knowing that what we did way back in 2001 (and many iterations since then) was simply not enough giving the changing relationship that customers want to have with any brand. It is all about transparency and authenticity. All of our customer stories needed to be front and centre. What other people say needed to drive our approach to customer experience.
What I did do from an early day – was consistent execution. Limited budgets always mean that there is no room to be changing for the sake of changing – every communication to customers or stakeholders needs to be consistent and building on the last.
The symbol of a red balloon, though, is memorable. Whilst it does not describe what we do – once people know – they tend to remember.
The new logo captures the essence of what we are about – moments that may start with RedBalloon but stay with you forever – an ‘infinity’ loop red balloon. Wonderful. Clever. Clean and memorable.
I am still asked ‘why wear red’ especially given that I do so many other things – not just RedBalloon. Is it time to put away the red dresses…?
Nothing has really changed since I wrote about it in Live What You Love, about where it all started. In the early days of RedBalloon, I was at an event and happened to be wearing a red dress. I had only one or two back then. My colleague, Jemma Fastnedge (pictured below in 2005) had recently given me some pretty frank feedback about my dress sense (wearing yoga gear to the office was arguably inappropriate) and it so happened at this event someone asked me if I always wore red? It was at that time that I asked myself if I wanted to be the brand ambassador for RedBalloon. If I did want that, the job would be easier if I wore red every day (it became my uniform). It was easy for me – and it helped people identify me when I was out and about from the office.
A brand journey is not static. A business needs to keep evolving as it listens to it’s customers as does it’s look and feel. Fourteen years ago is now ancient history in an online and tech sense…. Brand reputation takes years to create – and as a founder one needs to do whatever it takes.
Take a tour of what is a great customer experience…