Rachel Duffield is a pretty inspirational woman. Not only does she hold down a day job and run a loving family home, she also works part-time in six different guises. A project that originally began as live interpretation of Queen Elizabeth I has blossomed into 'Remarkable Women', a variety of historical characters that Rachel performs to audiences throughout the region.
I met up with Rachel just as she was considering a rebrand. She had already done the bulk of the work herself, and asked for my advice on social media, proof reading and the visual layout of her new website.
Here, Rachel gives an in-depth insight into her rebranding process...
What made you feel that it was time for a rebrand?
"Three main things:
1. 2017 will be the ten year anniversary of my first ever Queen Elizabeth I live interpretation talk at the Castle Museum, Norwich.
2. I've added new acts since my original website was created, and they'd had to be 'bolted on' so it was getting a bit clunky to negotiate and customers were having trouble finding the information they needed.
3. My original web designer left the industry, and the domain names were up for grabs so it seemed like an ideal opportunity to design my own website. I wanted to be able to make any changes myself, swiftly and for free."
Where did you get the inspiration for your website design and rebrand?
"Initially I had more of a clear idea about what I DIDN'T want, than what I did want.
Firstly I needed to distinguish what I do. Live interpretation is set apart traditional historical from re-enactment; those sites tend to have a 'Ye Olde' feel to them, with parchment backgrounds and gothic fonts. I wanted mine to look clean, fresh and sassy. The title font I chose is italicised, which I think gives a sense of my energy, and the body font is clear and simple.
The colour scheme had to be hot pink not only because it's my favourite colour, but it's also a vivid shade that people seem to identify with me. When rebranding, you need to be able to visually reinforce your identity - this 'shorthand' ensured that those already familiar with my work weren't scared away.
I also do cabaret, so there was an extra layer of 'message' to get across. I needed to link the two elements of cabaret and live interpretation without confusing them, so a simple visual format seemed to be the answer. Combining distinct elements in a rebrand is always a conundrum (think Nike and Apple, KitKat and Android).
I needed to take into account my audience demographic, who tend to be slightly older and not very confident with negotiating websites. I did this by thinking about the questions they ask me when they phone up to book. I had to be ruthless about including only what they need to know, rather than what I want to tell them - people don't want to read an essay, so I kept the information short and sharp."
How do you use social media within your business?
"I try to update my Twitter feed daily (especially as it now shows on the website too). I endeavour to balance interesting historical facts with funny anecdotes and a bit of publicity on my Facebook page using the 80/20 rule. I try to schedule most posts over the weekend, and did an intensive burst of social media in the run up to the new website launch. I also share my blog on social media about once a month.
Lucy Gurteen introduced me to Hootsuite, which helps me to schedule posts for peak times. Having a busy lifestyle makes it hard to keep up with social media in 'real time', so this saves me a lot of time and effort, and is very cost effective. She also gave me some 'tips and tricks' for increasing engagement with my current followers, and attracting new followers. I use Instagram for my fledgling illustration business, CraftyLearning."
I wish all the best of luck to Rachel - I'm delighted to have been consulted on the rebrand and social media of such an exciting project!