Branding is not just a logo. Branding is not just consistent typography and colors. Branding is not just your brushed up mission statement. Branding is not just your website, your business card, or your email signature.
Branding can include all these things. But branding can also be so much more. That’s great news for your business, especially if you can create a brand that really captures your voice, your purpose, and what you want to be known and hired for.
The problem we face when we start to really see the whole picture our brand can paint for us is getting overwhelmed by the scope of it all.
We find ourselves asking:
“Do I already have a brand?”
“Do I need a better brand?”
“How much money, time, or energy do I really need to devote to my branding?”
“And once I do get my branding where it needs to be… how do I market myself?”
“Where does branding end and marketing to my dream clients begin?”
Is there a shortcut to getting your brand in shape?
Nope, no branding shortcuts here, but I can share with you some brand places you can start shaping up in the short term, with some guidance that can help you get there in the long term.
Your brand starts with your positioning message. But it’s gotta be straightforward and it’s gotta sound real.
This is your positioning statement. Do you know yours? Your positioning really pays in the first conversations and the first impressions your brand is sharing online and in person. Your positioning is being able to tell people what you do – in an instant. Write yours in two sentences – three tops. Be straight, be clear, then pepper in your personality with words that actually sound and feel like you. No corporate speak. No over-the-top puppies and rainbows either. Shape this statement up. It pays in so many ways.
Bonus branding points? Go in and rewrite your about me page to feel like an expanded version of your positioning statement. But this is where you can really feel more like “you” and add in layers of your own relatability, your own purpose, and how this relates to your dream clients. I like to even think of this like a “letter to your dream clients from me, a relatable expert who understands you.”
Your brand will inspire and attract your dream clients if you can start to share content that speaks to them.
Guess what, the more specific you can get about your dream client’s wants, needs, pains, hopes, dreams, and personality – the more you can share content that gets them inspired, gets them feeling like they are understood, and inspired to learn more about working with you. Your content can be blog posts, social media posts, or even just the content on your site. Your content should be a mix of your personal voice + your professional expertise. If you’re wondering where branding ends and marketing begins (i.e. “how do I go out and find my dream clients?”) then this is the best place to start. Meet your dream clients where they’re already engaging in content – but if you don’t have a message to share, then what’s the point of reaching them?
Once you’ve attracted & inspired your dream clients, do you know what you’re selling them? Do they know how to hire you? Is this the work you want to be known for?
Maybe knock it off with the a la carte menu of services – half of which you don’t even want to really do, but you include them because you feel like you have to show “you can do it all!” Think about the one package you want to sell. You can still provide the other stuff, but this is just an aside. What if you had to rewrite your how-to-hire-me page to really push one offering big, then think of the other services as “also’s and others” that take up maybe just the last 10% of your sales copy – a footnote really! The same goes for your portfolio pieces, testimonials and case studies. Only share the examples of work that you want to keep attracting, or you’ll just keep getting hired for work you don’t want to be doing anymore – because your brand is telling people that’s what you do.
Your vision, your positioning, your personal + professional voice, and your packaged offering are the most important foundation layers of your brand. This is the brand work you can create for yourself because they come from you! But steps and guidance along the way sure help!
Then you can worry about your logo, your colors, your type, your images, your website, your business card, (heck, your email signature!) even the tactical pieces of your marketing strategy.
Getting your brand feeling like you and feeling legit, is never a short and sweet process. In fact, these three big areas above aren’t so short at all are they? If you find yourself needing some support and guidance, these are exactly the areas we’ll be guiding you through in the Braid Method Branding ECourse for positioning yourself, defining your personal + professional blend, getting your business vision out of your head, on paper, and reaching your dream clients as the kind of creative entrepreneur you really want to be.
If you want to get serious about positioning, our Braid Method Branding ECourse will help you do exactly that. It will help you get to know yourself, what you’re good at, the image you portray, who you like working with and can really help, things you’re doing that are confusing or hurting your ability to focus on your area of genius, your method of working with clients, how to tell people what you do, and focusing in on your message so you can do some effective content marketing. Check it out here >>
SHARE THIS +
Branding can sometimes feel like a luxury, only reserved for the times when we have the mental energy, money, or even space on our to-do list to devote to a worthy (but not exactly a necessary?) investment for our business. Branding might not be at the top of our list when we’re trying to decide how we are going to spend our hard earned dollars. Do we invest back in our business or back in our savings account? Do we spend our time getting our brand looking beautiful and legit, or do we just put our head back down and get to work!?
Branding can sometimes feel like a big process and a lot to bite off. But positioning? Positioning is a muscle you can exercise every day. And positioning pays.
Kinda sounds like I’m making branding sound like a chore. But once you commit to updating your messages, your images, your identity – a new brand that really feels like you as a person and a professional can feel so energizing, clarifying, and confident-boosting!
And if you’re working with brand experts who really make you feel heard + guide you along the way, going through a branding process can actually be the most inspiring time you spend on your own business in a long long time! (Ahem, disclaimer that was blatant Braid self-promotion! But that doesn’t make it untrue!)
But what if you’re just not mentally or fiscally “brand-ready” right now? Perhaps because:
Ok, great! I hear you. And I agree with you. Put that brand talk on pause, please! This is where I want to talk to you about your positioning.
Positioning is being able to clearly & confidently tell people in an instant what you do:
Sharing your business positioning should feel like second nature, so it feels natural to talk about, write about, and adapt to any situation.
Let me break this out a little more so you can give it a try yourself. How clearly you can write your positioning for each of these points below? Or better yet, test that inner voice of yours in the moment! (But use the excited inner voice, not the tired one.) See if you can express in one sentence or less an explanation for:
1. What You Do in a way anyone can understand in an instant—the simplest “label or title.”
2. Who You Do It For so they get a sense if they are a fit. Even if you’re not niched or specialized, you can still give people a sense of the kinds of people or businesses you work with, come on! You can always narrow in with specifics and broaden back out later in your conversation, in your website, in your email, or whatever form of communication you’re using to convey your positioning in an instant!
3. Why You Are Doing It so you feel like a person with a purpose, not just a robot, resume, or a talking sales page.
4. How You Go About Doing This ALL THE TIME so you don’t sound like you’re just winging it. This shouldn’t be your process listed out in laborious detail. This is just you giving a hint of your approach, a behind-the-scenes sense of the work you do, or even the experience that unfolds for your clients along the way. This last one is where the magic happens, but it’s a bonus. It’s not going to be in every introduction, but it better be the next layer! Or else your positioning may just position you as an order taker instead of the guiding expert you are!
How does knowing and clearing articulating your positioning really pay off? Let me count the ways. Okay, actually, let me just tell you how it pays off for me.
Guess what? Uncovering our clients’ positioning before we ever develop the outward facing messaging, design, look and feel of their brand is 75%—if not more—of the work we do at Braid as guiding experts with that outside perspective. And positioning is the core and the biggest outcome of our Braid ECourse. Because stronger, clearer positioning is also the part you can do yourself.
Check what’s included in our Braid Method Branding ECourse, and see if it’s a fit for you. While you’re hanging out on the page, a 7 Ways to Brand You + What You Do free ebook download will pop up at you. (Pssst… download it! It’s chock full of scripts that can help you with your POSITIONING!)
And of course, if you want to inquire about working 1:1 with Braid on your business visioning, positioning and brand platform contact us here.
SHARE THIS +
Kathleen here. I was recently checking out my Google Analytics and it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to learn that aside from our home page, the most visited page on our website is our “about” page.
After all, your “about me” page is the first place people go to get a glimpse of who you are, what your expertise is, and if they’re in the right place to find what they’re looking for. Your about page sets the tone for what the reader can expect if they continue to read your blog, sign up for your newsletter, or even hire you.
Your “about me” page sets the tone for your entire brand.
With that in mind, open a new tab and go take a look at your “about me” page with fresh eyes. Are you saying what you mean? If you were to read it out loud does it sound like you? Are you leaving the first impression you want to make? Is it memorable?
If you think your “about me” page could use an update or refresh, we’ve got a few ideas for you. These are the things we keep in mind as we’re writing brand stories for our own clients or coaching them through the content they should include on their own “about me” page.
Our favorite trick for writing an “about me” page is to pretend as if you’re writing a letter from the editor. At the beginning of every magazine there is a letter from the editor that shares the theme of the month, why they chose that theme, and perhaps a few personal behind-the-scenes tidbits. That’s exactly what you want to do for your brand and business! So try it out! Here are a few prompts to get your started:
You might be tempted to include a typical headshot, but consider including a candid at-work or day-in-the-life-of image. Just one image can tell an entire story!
Your letter from the editor should feel personal and engage your reader on a more emotional level. But let’s say you’re a coach with lots of credentials, a speaker with an impressive roster, or a designer that wants to note client work or awards – if you want to include those things in your about me page, consider including a more “professional” bio after your letter from the editor. This can include your experience, education, credentials, proof of expertise, and notable press or features.
If you have lots of content to share, consider including your “best hits” on your about me page. This is the stuff you absolutely want someone new to your page to read first so they can get to know you even more. Include a variety of your best content with a brief description of what your reader can expect when they click through to your next level of content. Pro-tip: include your best hits in your newsletter auto-responder.
If you’re still struggling to say what you do, we have a little extra something for you – download this worksheet straight from our Braid Method Branding ECourse that will give you a formula and script to help you say what you do in a really concise way. You can then take that “positioning statement” and pad it out into a full brand story or “about me” page using the tips from this blog post.
And P.S. We’ll be live on Facebook Friday at 1PM central time to chat more about how you can update your “about me” page to better reflect your brand and business vision as a creative entrepreneur. Like us here and tune in then!
SHARE THIS +