I’m not one to jump on bandwagons on a whim. Even though I often end up leaping, I always look before I do so. And look again. And again. I study every nook and cranny I can. I weigh pros and cons. Sometimes my Libra nature can turn me into quite the Hamlet, stuck in indecision and inertia. To leap or not to leap, that is the question…
But eventually, if and when I decide to leap, I leap with gusto!
I have noticed that many of my cohorts have been using this time in the COVID era to rebrand in one way or another. And when I say it’s a bandwagon, I certainly do not mean to degenerate anyone’s hard work. Rebranding is not easy! It takes a very clear vision, a detailed marketing strategy and a certain amount of risk management.
And I certainly understand why it’s happening now more than ever. We are all doing our best to prepare for the new world we face and while we cannot predict exactly what that will look like, we all know there is no going back to pre-lockdown times completely. The societal, cultural and psychological landscape is and will continue to be different. And consequently, both what clients will look for in a companion and what I will be best able to offer will be different.
So with that, I have decided to rebrand.
First off, what exactly is rebranding? We hear the word a lot, but like many buzzwords that have caught our attention in the cultural zeitgeist, it can lose its meaning quickly (I’m looking at you, “empowerment”). So what is the textbook definition of rebranding?
In the most concise yet detailed way I can think to describe it, rebranding is a process in which the image of an established brand and/or organization is changed or altered. It is a marketing strategy that often involves changing the brand’s image, logos, name, marketing plan and/or advertising.
Ok, so what exactly does that mean for me?
Well first and foremost, I do not intend to do this in one fell swoop. I plan to do it incrementally. I have tinkered with certain aspects of my brand in the past two and a half years, with successes and failures along the way. But this is going to be more purposeful and planned out. In fact, I have already begun. My photoshoot in New Orleans had an overall different feel, tone and vibe than I have done before. And while I certainly don’t want to give away any surprises, I’m sure once I debut them, you’ll see what I mean.
Besides this, I am actively working on my rebranding plan. I do not have it all figured out just yet; I am shooting for these changes to be all pulled together by mid to late summer of 2021. So I have roughly half a year to keep working on it. And it will not be a complete 180 turn; there are of course things about my current brand that have worked well for me, have made me successful and frankly, are just part of who I am.
But there are already a few things that I feel confident in as I move forward and, in the name of transparency, I’d like to take a moment to share the plans I have in place.
What will change?
Touring Planned out Further in Advance: Again, this has already been implemented. I for once in my life have a tour schedule planned out months in advance! Of course, it is subject to change and tours are subject to cancellation if there are not enough prebookings. Which brings me to my second change...
More FMTYs and Bespoke Experiences: As we all have undoubtedly noticed, many companions and others in the industry have taken this approach lately. Touring post FOSTA/SESTA has been financially risky for many of us. And now that COVID is part of our daily lives, it is just not possible for most of us to travel without any guarantees. So while I do have an active tour schedule at the moment, some of that has been pre arranged bespoke travel that has made it easier to craft a tour around. This creates less stress for everyone involved, including those who put their hard earned money into providing me with a deposit and have been looking forward to seeing me for weeks, sometimes months...only to be met with the disappointment of a tour cancellation.
Emphasis on Engagements 3+ Hours: Again, I know I am not unique in this venture. Many of us have been putting an emphasis on longer engagements with a smaller pool of clients due to COVID 19. I have already begun this with moving away from one hour appointments and having a significant discount for 2 hours or more. This does though create an interesting challenge; in the Before Times, these experiences often involved outings such as dinner, drinks, visits to a museum, seeing a live performance or a myriad of other things that are severely limited to us, if not downright impossible. But it's a challenge that I'm up for. Limitations often bring out ingenuity and creativity. So stay tuned as I put those to the test!
Move Away from The Professor Branding: This has been a tough one, and I have gone back and forth on this for a while. In the spirit of full honesty, I came up with this branding idea in the wake of FOSTA/SESTA. I thought to have a workable metaphor on my side would make it so my website would be less likely to be shut down. And it definitely wasn’t the worst strategy, particularly in the face of so many unknowns. But alas, it feels as though I have outgrown it a bit (despite me using a word like “alas” in a sentence). I want a brand that is specific enough to capture what makes me unique while also broad enough to grow as I grow.
A More Streamlined Social Media: It’s often easy to forget that social media is a marketing platform in its own right. Admittedly I have let my guard down a lot and have used it in ways that are more in the ways one uses a personal social media account. While my aim is never to just use social media as an advertising platform, as that would be too distant and austere, I have at times lost sight of creating a cohesive vision for my social media. Therefore, there will be timeline purges ahead. Sometimes a fresh start is necessary to put your best foot forward. It won’t be right away and again, likely not all at once. But it is the plan to be able to start anew. And while it is not social media in perhaps the strictest sense, this also includes this very blog!
Slight Name Change: In this industry, your name is your brand. And in some cases, it’s best to rename as you rebrand. I’ve grown quite fond of my last name DeMilo. And really, how could I not harken to the goddess of love, beauty, sex and desire? However, I do feel like my first name needs an update. I’ve already decided what it will be when the time is right. And rest assured, it won’t be a complete departure from Gem to make it easy for you to remember and for me to transition.
Slight Rate Changes: Again, this has already started to take effect starting with the new year. It is honestly still a work in progress and nothing will happen overnight. But again, given where I’d like to put emphasis, some of my packages may get tweaked or done away with eventually. But rest assured, I’m not going to go from zero to sixty in the blink of an eye as it were. In fact, my goal is to offer a luxury experience that still remains accessible. Granted, what’s considered accessible is subjective. However, my goal is never to be so out of reach that only the richest of the rich can afford to spend time with me (I’ll take Dan Price over Jeff Bezos any day of the week, thank you.)
Focus on my Newsletter: Admittedly, this in an area wherein I’ve struggled in the past. I always have good intentions. But you know what they say about good intentions....One issue is that I haven’t been coming up with a tour schedule far enough in advance to have anything to announce. The other issue is that I’ve wanted to come up with creative monthly specials but again, have fallen short of taking the time to plan out what exactly that would look like. Finally, when I switched websites back in 2019, I unfortunately didn’t transfer my mailing list over with me. So to all those who signed up for my mailing list a while back and never heard anything back, this is likely the reason. I encourage you to sign up again (I promise, you won’t get two sets of newsletters in your inbox!) Newsletters will go out on the 15th of every month, starting this month.
Sustainable Virtual Options: This is another area where I have struggled. I haven’t made it a secret that making content (particularly for a subscription based platform) wasn’t exactly enjoyable for me. It was, in essence, a panic move. The world had shut down so quickly and everything felt so uncertain so I felt I needed to mount this again, as it were. And I needed to do it fast. Naturally that was a recipe for stress, burnout and disappointment for both myself and those who wanted access to such content. It’s obvious that virtual options and content creation are not going away anytime soon. Even after the world inches back to a more “normal” version of itself, people are still going to want to connect virtually for a myriad of reasons. The questions then become what’s sustainable for me, and what works best with the brand I have? This is still a work in progress, there are things I have really grown to enjoy about phone and video sessions that I would love to keep and build upon. There are also content ideas and platforms that may better suit my style and brand.
What will stay the same?
My Dry Wit and Sense of Humor: Life’s too short to take yourself too seriously. And it frankly would be unsustainable for me to try to hide it! And while I may be just ever so slightly sardonic in my humor at times, I’ll still always make room for a good pun and dad joke!
My Penchant for Fancy Words, Literature and Cultural Analysis: Expounding on this may just be an exercise in verbosity. (See what I did there?)
My Non Discrimination Policies: Anyone who is 21+, regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender identity and/or presentation, body size or disability will still always be welcome here. Always.
What can you do to help?
While I’m not necessarily expecting to depend on assistance to make all this happen, I do want to offer those that would like to be an active part of this journey with me to be able to “get in on the ground floor” in a sense. Rebranding takes time, energy and resources. And the current landscape makes that all a bit trickier to navigate.
This is a work in progress, but I plan to offer a “Sponsor a Shoot” option for admirers near and far. You will be able to partially or fully sponsor a photoshoot for me and will be given different reward options depending on your level of sponsorship. For example, buy me lingerie or clothing for a photoshoot? Get a video session along with custom photos just for you, or have your next in person session with me have some extra time as a token of my appreciation. Details forthcoming, so stay tuned!
So that’s what I have mapped out so far. Of course more details will be cemented and implemented as time goes on. I don’t have it all figured out, but I’m well on my way. I do intend to be as transparent as possible along the way. I think in the end, that makes this transition smoother and easier for all of us.
As always, thank you for your continued support. I’m excited to go on this journey and new enterprise together!