Brand Clarity for Coaches | Braid Creative & Consulting

brand clarity for coaches

We work with a lot of coaches. Coaching (life coaching, leadership coaching, wellness coaching… the list goes on) is only picking up speed, and that’s why it’s more important than ever that—as a coach—you are able to clearly articulate what you want to be known for, who you best serve, and what your dream clients can expect when working with you.

One of the first life coaches we branded over five years ago had to spend a lot of her brand footprint on educating her potential clients on what a life coach even is. Now that the industry is a little more mainstream, we think it’s really important that a coach is not only able to explain their expertise, but they're able to confidently and authentically differentiate themselves in a crowded market.

We’re typically branding coaches at two different stages of business:
  1. The “newbie” coaches: These are coaches who are just starting out and need their brand to help clearly articulate and share what they do. These might be professionals who have a lot of experience and have been natural helpers their whole lives—the person their co-workers, peers, and friends always turn to when they need solid insights or a non-judgmental sounding board.
  2. The coaches who are ready to scale or narrow in: These are coaches who have been doing this for a while. They know what they’re doing, and now they are ready to have a brand that not only matches their experience and what they’ve been able to create, but they could also use some help in better framing up their approach, process, or content they are ready to share on a whole new level. Or perhaps they’ve been coaching enough to really know where they best help their dream customer – they want to narrow in on their speciality, niche, or dream client so they’re not spreading themselves so thin.

Our goal when branding a coach is always to help them get clear and get authentic. That means we are going to help them say what they mean without confusing their customer and do it in a way that feels wholly integrated with their values and personality. Because we get it – it can be hard to grow a career around something like coaching when the results are powerful yet sometimes intangible. When you’re not selling a product that you can see and touch you might run the risk of coming across as vague. Or if you’re using the same fluffy jargon that seems to be working for that other six-figure coach you’ve been following, you may come across as disingenuous.

Today I’m going to share one of my favorite branding exercises that we guide our one-on-one clients through for getting more clear and for putting more of who you are into the work you do:

brand exercise for coaches

BEFORE AND AFTER

With a service like coaching, it can be difficult to really explain how you help your clients. The deliverables aren’t always obvious, which can make your offering a hard-sell for customers who are on the fence. So this exercise will help you better describe the shifts, transformations, and evolutions you help guide your client through.

First, draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper. On the left side write “BEFORE” and on the right “AFTER”.

Now describe your dream client before they work with you:

  • What is their biggest challenge?
  • What kinds of thoughts are holding them back?
  • Describe their behavior.
  • Where are they most stuck? Why?
  • What are they not seeing clearly?
  • What do they desire or want most?

Now describe your dream client after they work with you:

  • What kinds of goals do they have?
  • What is their attitude like?
  • Describe their behavior.
  • What kind of changes are they gaining momentum on?
  • What are some small (or large) successes they’re seeing?
  • How are they overcoming their hurdles?
  • What do they desire or want most?

Extra credit: Now that you’ve mapped out their before and after how would you describe your coaching process and how it helped them bridge the gap?

Want more branding exercises? Download our free eBook: 7 Ways to Brand You and What You Do.

DOWNLOAD THE FREE EBOOK for tips, exercises, scripts, and worksheets

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Brand Consistency Matters for Business Owners | Braid Creative

brand consistency matters

Your brand is what makes you memorable—from the first impression on someone who has never heard of you, to a raving referral from a past client. And when you have a reputation to uphold, it’s imperative that you are reliably showing up in all the places your brand touches. This means that your business name, logo, colors, photography, tagline, offering, messaging, and tone are consistent and cohesive on your website, in your advertisements, on your stationery and print materials, on your social media, in your speeches and talks, on your windows and signage, at your events, or in your webinars. It should even reach into your own company culture— not only in how you make your customers feel, but in how you train your employees and how you work with contractors and vendors.

brand consistency matters

IT BEGINS WITH A BRAND PLATFORM

One of the first steps to creating a consistent and cohesive brand is with a brand platform that outlines at-a-glance who you are, what you do, how you do it, and what it looks like. Here at Braid Creative, the brand platforms we create for our clients often include:

Brand identity standards: this is a document that details all the visual components of your brand—including your logo (or logo suite if you have multiple versions), brand colors, typography and fonts, branded icons and / or patterns, and brand photography.

Brand messaging: this is anything with words—including your business name, a tagline, a positioning statement (often known as an “elevator pitch”), a brand story that connects the emotional “why” to the business offering, scripts or copy for how someone can work with you, and your creative process or steps you take along the way.

Your brand platform is the backbone of your brand that can then be applied to all the places your business shows up. You’ll want to revisit your brand platform any time you’re creating something new for your business—from marketing and PR efforts to client on-boarding.

TAKE STOCK OF ALL THE PLACES YOUR BRAND SHOWS UP

Once you have your brand platform visually defined and outlined, it’s time to implement that look, feel, and messaging to all the places your brand shows up. The first thing you’ll want to do is take stock of where you’re showing up.

ONLINE & DIGITAL:

Website - make it a habit to read through every single word on your website at least once a year to make sure your design and copy are still properly reflecting your brand and business offerings.

Social media - not only in your daily posts that make up your ever-evolving brand, but your avatar, cover image, and profile copy are also opportunities for consistency and cohesion.

Email - from your newsletter template to your email signature and even your actual email address—no little detail should go unturned when it comes to where your brand appears

Digital products - if you have online courses, downloadable worksheets, or eBooks, they should all be consistent with your brand platform.

Digital advertising - from TV commercials to Facebook ads to native content and PR opportunities, you need to make a compelling impression that accurately reflects your brand so there are no disconnects when your dream customer clicks through wanting more.

PRINT:

Stationery - are your business cards, letterhead, and envelopes up to date and on point?

Brochures, folders, posters, books, and informational pieces - all of these are branded pieces that need to feel connected and consistent with your brand platform.

Packaging - if you sell products, is your packaging delivering the experience you want your customers to have?

IN PERSON:

Spaces and events - when it comes to in-person events, think about engaging all the senses of anyone who experiences your brand: what are they seeing, smelling, tasting, and hearing? These are often things that aren’t defined in your brand platform (especially if you’re primarily an online business), but they are considerations that can make or break an experience for your customer.

Signage and touch-points - from your logo signage, to window clings, to car wraps, to informational or directional signage, and even printed memos, these tactics—no matter how small—are deserving of brand consideration.

Your personal style - if you’re a personal brand, the way you show up to networking events is a reflection of your brand. If you’re not a personal brand, you (or the employees you are hiring) are a reflection of the company you represent.

PHOTOGRAPHY:

Photography is an aspect of your brand that can show up across all of your brand platforms in person and online. Photos can really set the tone for your brand, and as you know—a picture speaks a thousand words. We always recommend a series of photos for our clients including headshots and candid working photos that help make the work you do feel real (especially if you are a consultant, educator, or coach), styled shoots for products or services, and conceptual or environmental images to help illustrate brand stories or style beyond the literal. We recommend hiring a photographer once a year for a branded shoot—including updated headshots and supplementing with stock photography that is treated with your brand standards in the interim.

YOUR CUSTOMER’S EXPERIENCE IS A ROAD MAP FOR YOUR BRAND

Once you’ve been able to take stock of all the places your brand shows up, it’s time to audit and assess what needs to be updated to reflect your most current brand standards and identity. I recommend prioritizing the entry point for a customer and using their next steps as a map to determine what needs your attention next.

For example, if you are selling an educational course and are running a Facebook ad campaign, the ads will be the first thing your customer sees. Those ads need to make an impression that is consistent and cohesive with what they’ll see next—which is probably a landing page to your course or your website. From there, they may sign up for your newsletter or a series of free training to learn more.

Or perhaps you are a leadership coach who is giving a talk at a conference. Your slides, your talk, and your personal style will make the first impression for your brand. From there, your audience may try to find you on Twitter or Instagram so they can tag you with quotes from your speech. Then, they may buy your book or sign up for your newsletter.

The experience your customer is having is a road map that will show you which stops or turns your customer can take next. You’ll want to be sure you always know which direction they’re headed so there are no brand disconnects or confusion along the way.

HOW DO I MAKE IT ALL LOOK GOOD?

Okay, so by now you’ve assessed and audited all the places your brand lives, and you know how and where your potential customer is engaging with your brand along the way. Now it’s time to make sure all the pieces look consistent and cohesive with your brand platform and with each other.

My best recommendation is to hire a graphic designer and copywriter—ideally the person or team who helped you establish your brand in the first place—to implement your brand platform on all the pieces and places your brand shows up. If it’s the person who initially created your brand, you can trust them to make decisions on the fly when it comes to how your brand is applied across different platforms. If you’re working with a freelance designer or copywriter, you may need to give them more direction until they’re more familiar with the look, feel, and tone of your brand.

When you’re working with a designer and / or writer, the more you can batch your projects together, the more efficient you can be with your budget and time—though this means you’ll need to be more organized with your marketing efforts. However, if you develop an ongoing relationship with a designer or have someone on retainer, you can throw projects their way as they come. It really just depends on your needs and style.

Now the DIY-control-freak in me wants to tell you that you can learn to do it yourself, but I’ve seen too many people butcher their beautiful brand by trying to become a graphic designer instead of focusing on their core genius. It might be a little bit of an investment to hire help, but I promise it will save you money in the long run.

branding checklist worksheet

YOUR BRANDING CHECKLIST

The point of this worksheet is to help you assess and audit all the places your brand exists. It’s for you to use however you like, but I recommend:

  • Cross out anything that is not applicable to your brand
  • Highlight or circle any high-traffic touch points
  • Check the boxes to the left after you’ve checked in on those parts of your brand. That check in might be a series of questions including but not limited to:
    • Which tactics have the most impact on my business?
    • Is this consistent?
    • Could I systemize this?
    • Can I delegate this?
    • Where are there disconnects or inconsistencies?
    • What’s working well? What do I like about this?
  • Use the space to the right to make notes on what needs to be updated or refined

You can also use this worksheet to help you decide which tactics you can add or omit from your brand and even use it as a checklist to know what you need to delegate.

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What's Your Core Genius as a Creative Entrepreneur? | Braid Creative

What's your core genius

I recently read this “fluffy” statistic (you know, the kind that always shows up as a cute infographic on the front page of USA Today) that said an alarming number of first-graders, when asked what they want to be when they grow up, respond with, “Famous.” Okay, but how? As an actor, the president, a professional athlete? They don’t know—they’re still only first-graders—they just want to be famous. We laugh, but as grown-ups, we’re sometimes just as vaguely hopeful.

The hopeful part is fine—it’s the vague part that gets us in trouble. Here’s what well-meaning but unspecific creatives tell us all the time:

  • “I want to inspire others to create and live an authentic life.”
  • “I want to inspire people to not give up.”
  • “I want to inspire and empower creatives to be brave.”

Those all sound nice—empowering and inspiring sounds like a dream. However, inspiring others shouldn’t be the only goal. Fame, recognition, money, and even something as noble as inspiring others shouldn’t be the things that drive you or your brand messaging. If they are, you’ll never measure up and you’ll always be chasing a moving target.

There is probably a broad label, or even job title, for what you actually do—like marketing, photography, graphic design, interior decorating, coding, writing, yoga, or cooking. That refers to your skills and talents, which are a huge part of what you do.

But can you get really specific about what makes you a great marketer, designer, photographer, writer, developer, or cook? Maybe it’s your use of color or typography, or your knack for capturing light or blending really interesting flavor combinations, or the way you hear what people are really trying to say and then capture that in words.

what are you good at

Here are some questions to get you thinking:

  • What comes easily to you that seems to impress the people around you?
  • What isn’t so easy but is something you want to be really good at?
  • What do you want to be known for?
  • What can you do that people will pay you for and that you will enjoy?
  • What have your current clients been asking for?
  • What do all of your clients have in common?
  • What could you stop doing that would make you feel like more of an expert?

your core genius list

Take a few minutes to jot down some of your answers to these questions above. This is going to help you warm up for the serious work that’s waiting for you in the worksheets coming up in this lesson.*

How do you share your gifts of knowledge?

Now that you’ve got the paper and pen handy, here’s another quick warm up. Take just another five minutes (time yourself, that’s ALL you get) to go with your gut and fill out your gift tag. We call it a gift tag because creative experts share their gifts of knowledge with other people—whether that’s for free (in blog posts, newsletters, emails) or something they are hired for (consultation, ecourses, program, products).

So if you think of your creative knowledge all wrapped up in a package, what do you write on the tag you tie on top?

creative entrepreneur gift tag

Fill out your Gift Tag:
How to _______ [advice, know-how, or inspiration you share]
From a _______ [your field of expertise] Expert!
To a _______ [your dream client or audience] Like You!

This is a great way to just jump in and really start practicing saying what you do in that creative expert voice and style. Try it a few different ways, and then experiment with what you come up with.

*This excerpt comes from the Braid Method Branding ECourse. It’s a DIY self-paced course that will help you articulate what you do, and position yourself as a creative expert with brand messaging templates and scripts. The Braid Method Branding ECourse is now open to new student. Click here to learn more and see if it’s a good fit.

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