Here's Why You Can't Afford to Be Vague | Braid Creative & Consulting

Most of us as individuals have big hearts and a big vision for our brand and our business that doesn’t exclude anybody from the discussion (or our services, product, or offering). In fact, we work with a lot of leadership development professionals, coaches, educators, and purpose-driven organizations who have all but eradicated the word “or” from their vocabularies to embrace the tone of “and.”

The word “and” opens up the dialogue to new ideas, collaboration, and expansion. The word “or” implies a choice that needs to be made. “And” is super dreamy, but when it comes to differentiating your brand, you are going to have to make some “or” choices. When you can proactively choose who you are and who you’re for, only then can you truly reach the audience your business is built to help.

A good brand is easy to understand

If you’re still having a hard time embracing the idea of getting narrow, think of it less as “being vague vs. being specific” and more as just being easy to understand. For example, imagine you’re getting your teeth cleaned and your dental hygienist asks what you do for a living? You tell her and her reply is “huh, what’s that? What does that mean?” That’s okay because it’s just small talk, right? Probably to distract you from the fact that you’re in a dentist chair. But if you’re telling a potential dream client what you or your business does, and they don’t understand what it is … that’s a branding problem.

Getting aggressively narrow

The fear of eliminating a potential customer from the conversation (or *ahem* marketing plan) might feel entirely counter-intuitive. So we want you to hear this little bit of tough love: you can’t afford to be vague if you’re trying to differentiate your brand, attract your dream customers, and close the deal. Your desire to reach more people by being everything to everyone is actually negatively impacting your ability to reach the customers you can best help. It’s the brands who are willing to go out on a limb and be specific that are making money for themselves and creating impact for their communities. It’s the specificity of their brand that builds instant trust, credibility, and buy-in from their dream customers and brand evangelists.

TRY THIS: Imagine your brand through the eyes of just one person – your dream client. This can feel aggressively narrow, but just remember it’s an exercise in specificity, even if you just make a few changes to speak to “them” more clearly. Audit your entire website—from your sales page to your contact form—through their eyes. Is it easy to understand what you do? Is it clear you’re for them? What’s missing? Then go through your social media feed and even your physical space if you have one. Does it strike the tone that appeals to them? What could make them feel more at home in your brand – in person and online? What kind of impression are you leaving on them?

Once you audit your brand through the lens of your dream customer and their first impression, you’ll start to see how getting aggressively narrow isn’t as exclusive as you may have thought. For example, let’s say your dreamiest potential client loves cacti (because who doesn’t?). Her feed is filled with photos of cacti and brunch. So you start bringing more cacti into your space to make her feel more at home in your space. Now this cactus is not going to completely repel that one guy who needs what you have to offer but couldn’t care less about succulents. Or you might find that more people love cacti than you gave them credit for. P.S. The cactus is not just a cactus: it’s the words, colors, photography, and style you use to talk about your brand.

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Claim your creative focus | Braid Creative & Consulting

In our last blog post, we wrote about why and when you should be narrowing in and getting specific about what you want to be known for. Easier said than done, right? We've talked enough about narrowing in on your creative focus that we think you understand that it's an important thing to do in your business, but understand that something is important and actually doing it?—well that's where it gets a little tricky.

We shared a lot of WHY’s to narrow in and find what you want to be known for, let’s talk about some HOWs:

1. Diffusion & Confusion Culprits:

If you are good at “all the things,” and you’re having trouble deciding where to focus:
- List out all the ideas in your head that are making you feel scattered and causing diffusion of your own focus. See which ones you can put on the backburner for now.
- List out the different ways you’re describing or not clearly describing what you actually do that’s causing confusion for potential clients. See if you can get the five different bullets you’re using to describe what you do down to even two or three.

2. What Do You Want to Be Doing All Day?:

If the diffusion and confusion lists still have you feeling uncertain or overwhelmed or not willing to “let go” of some of the wider services you provide or wider pool of people you provide them for, ask yourself this “What do you want to be doing all day?” “Who do you want to be doing it for?”

What do you want to be doing all day? Who do you want to help? | Braid Creative & Consulting

3. Fill out Your Gift Tag:

This is one of the most challenging exercises we give our clients. But if you’ve done steps 1 & 2, give it a try. It’s a super-short version of some of the longer scripts we give creatives to help them better articulate their business and their brand. But that’s why it’s hard, because it is so short! We call it a gift tag because it’s the label on your package! It tells people what to expect before they open it & reminds you what it is you have to give!

Fill Out Your Gift Tag:
How to _____ [ advice, know-how, inspiration you share ]
From a _____ [ what you want to be known for! what you do + a little bit about you]
To a _______ [ dream client like you! ]
*Another similar version of this exercise that might be a little easier, is If You Wrote a How-To Book, what would the title be? The chapters? What would people “get” from your chapters? Which section of the book store would it be in? How would your personality or personal story show up among all the good tips, advice or inspiration you are sharing?

DOWNLOAD THE WRITE A BOOK WORKSHEET - NO EMAIL REQUIRED! And if you would like to get our articles, worksheets, and checklists straight to your inbox subscribe to our newsletter below.

What would be the chapter titles in your how-to book? | Braid Creative & Consulting

4. Your Process i.e. The Steps You Always Take

Guess what? If you tried out the If You Wrote a Book exercise, you may have just framed out your creative process (the ingredients or steps you take every time when working with a client) and you didn’t even know it! Defining your Creative Process is like Owning Your Expertise 2.0. You’ve put the intention out there to narrow in, get specialized and get known for doing this very specific service. But if you can really build a framework for HOW you do it, and stick to those steps every time, it’s like every time you work with a client you are sharpening your expertise, building your confidence, giving them even more benefit of your knowledge and specialization! It’s a win-win for any creative working for themselves (and their client!) who wants to craft a business of their own making instead of feeling like a helper for hire.

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How to Get From Order-Taker to Creative Expert | Braid Creative