Why We're Changing our Name
I first noticed that something was awry around a year ago.
I was at a professional mixer and, upon reading my name tag, the woman I was chatting with looked at me and ask:
"Truly Social? What is it your company does? Do you, like, tweet for companies and stuff?"
I was taken aback by her patronizing undertone. Having nearly 20 years of professional experience, I hadn't experienced this feeling in years. Though I tried to brush the incident off, it wouldn't be the last. It happened again a few weeks later and then happened again and again after that.
I was also noticing an uptick in the "she's a social media guru" introductions, which always make me wince. Decades of strategic experience, a long list of incredible client outcomes, and a deep up-to-date knowledge of the advances in digital marketing and I'm introduced the same way as someone would introduce their cousin's kid.
Ego aside, there was something much more troubling on the rise: an overall perception of the "cheapness" of social (and content as well). I think this is partially due to those same cousin's kids being hired to "tweet for companies," leading to terrible outcomes. More and more, people were thinking about social as crappy pre-scheduled promotional messages and ads interrupting our conversations. I realized that in the world of marketing, social was the cheap stuff in the discount bins near the cash register.
Though we were NEVER a "social media agency," having social in our name instantly created the impression that we were in the business of "tweeting for companies and stuff."
Having social in our name was akin to calling a 5-Star hotel a "motor inn." No matter how amazing the property is, people will expect a lower rate.
Though the social part had little to do with social media, it was quickly becoming a liability.
"I can't fight this feeling any more...I've forgotten what I started fighting for..."
When I started the company in 2016, I really didn't imagine being where we are today. I was on my own, working from my home office and thought I'd be freelancing temporarily.
So, when I needed a name, I didn't even think about it and used the name of my YouTube series. It was what brought me the leads that led to having to incorporate anyway. The name didn't matter because people were coming to me for strategy and they already understood that "social" meant an approach, not a tool.
I didn't even have a website until about 10 months in (besides my personal site)!
Fast forward nearly three years later and everything has changed. I have a real business with employees and projects and leases and processes and software to manage all of the above and all of the responsibility that goes along with that. It's a far cry from my home office and it's a lot bigger than me.
It doesn't matter what I think "social" means. Fighting this battle is irresponsible.
It's never been about "social" anyway. I've been driven by a bigger mission for 20 years. It's time to go back to those roots.
A rose by any other name...would be confusing
What we do hasn't changed.
We've always built insights-driven strategies that are about connecting with your customers in the long-term. We've never been about tactics or campaigns or ads or "content marketing" in that churn out the same message in 100 different ways. We aren't a production firm or a social media agency or anything like that. We're hired for our unique approach to research and the solid strategies that come out of this process:
In fact, a much uglier version of this diagram was the first thing I put up on that first website (and I've posted the iterations of it for years).
We are Truly.
Number one: clarity. Truly Social stands in the way, putting too much focus on the perspective. Truly steps aside and puts the focus on the promise.
Number two: maturity. Truly Social was a name chosen for a solo-preneurial pursuit not really thinking about the future. Truly is the name of an organization with much bigger plans.
And number three: mission. Truly Social was about me. Truly is about the team, our clients, our partners and everyone else who believes in a larger mission.
Truly accountable. Truly fearless. Truly opinionated. Truly passionate. Truly strategic. Truly curious. Truly bullheaded. Truly dedicated. And yes, even truly social.
Dropping the "social" is the first step of a much larger transformation we're working on that makes the organization less about me and more about the bigger vision (stay tuned in 2019). There are lots of things to look forward to, but in the near term I'm just looking forward to answering the new question I've been getting:
"Truly. That's an interesting name! Tell me more..."