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The unbranding of this blog

You’ve probably noticed that I have removed the Architect This City branding from this blog and gone to just my name. I like to refer to it as unbranding. (Though one could argue that a person’s name is still just another brand.)

Already I’ve received a few emails from people telling me that they prefer the old look and feel of ATC and that there’s some level of brand equity there. But let me explain my thinking.

First and foremost, this is a personal blog. I’ve written about that before. And it’s why it’s hosted at brandondonnelly.com. But along the way, as readership grew, I attached a name to it (ATC) and it started to become a kind of pseudo-independent brand. 

When I would speak at events, people would introduce me as the founder of Architect This City, which always struck me as a bit odd because, again, this is just my personal blog. People also started asking me why I wasn’t turning ATC into some big company and started treating the blog as a media channel. You should see how many press releases I now find in my inbox.

Of course, these are good “problems” to have. It means my writing is getting out there and I am thrilled about that. But I was starting to feel increasingly uncomfortable with the grey area between a personal and independent brand. I also felt like it was starting to impact my creative writing because I would sometimes wonder if I was going too personal on “Architect This City.”

To reinforce that point, below is a snippet from a post that Fred Wilson wrote on his blog last summer. His 10+ year old blog has been a huge inspiration for me.

“There is something about the personal blog, yourname.com, where you control everything and get to do whatever the hell pleases you. There is something about linking to one of those blogs and then saying something. It’s like having a conversation in public with each other. This is how blogging was in the early days. And this is how blogging is today, if you want it to be.”

So I decided to clarify the brand. I wanted to make it clear that this blog is about my personal musings on city building, among the other things that I’m passionate about. And I wanted it to not pretend to be anything else.

Ultimately, regular scheduled programming won’t really change for you. The content on this blog is still going to be heavy on city building, real estate development, design, planning and so on. And I will endeavor to create as much value as I can for all of you on a daily basis. (I am humbled by the number of people who now subscribe.) But hopefully it will end up feeling a bit more personal.

Of course, now there’s the question of what do I do with the ATC brand (and social accounts). Do I let it die or do I spin it off into something else? I’m considering the latter. I’ve been obsessed for years with the idea of crowdsourcing and collecting meaningful real estate and city building activity, so maybe ATC will turn into some kind of open platform for that.

But for now, I am feeling pretty excited about the unbranding of this blog. Hopefully some of you feel the same way.

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