The 3 Things to Consider to Create a Brand in Alignment.
As we covered last week, a brand identifies one seller’s goods as unique from other sellers. It can also be considered a promise, or the thing that people say about you to others.
I believe the biggest consideration for creating a brand is being clear about your genius and your mission, such that the brand of you that you are aligning to is, well, you.
Alignment to me is when what you are doing, what you are saying, and who you are being are all congruent.
We’ve all seen people who say they are passionate yet their being doesn’t scream passion, or who appear in the flesh to be a completely different person than they talk about being on their website – I don’t mean because they’ve lost a few pounds.
Lets take a look at how these things, specifically, affect what people perceive about you, expect from you, tell others about you, or make you distinct from other sellers.
What you’re doing
The actions you take affect how you are perceived and help to shape your brand. If you. Lets take for example business coaching. If one business coach attends, sponsors, and even speaks at events for entrepreneurs, and another doesn’t, do you think you’ll draw a conclusion about the professionalism, or seriousness of one? Will you know that one is likely learning more about business?
You can take it even a step further to see the types of events they are attending or speaking at – are they for people like me? Maybe they are a provider for me.
Other actions that affect your brand might be teaching, promotions, marketing campaigns, and even the things you post on Facebook – even your personal page if YOU are your business. Are the things you are putting out about your actions consistent with who you really are, or are they influenced by others? If you are doing things that are influenced by others, either people from your former life who aren’t “you” any more, or even coaches or consultants who might be fantastic as them, but not fantastic as you, your brand will be confusing. (This goes for my clients too – don’t be me, be you!)
Remember in last week’s article when “Modern Real Estate” had a sign in front of a house that was the furthest thing from modern? That’s exactly what I mean!
What you’re saying
Your words are critical when it comes to building your brand. Last week, again, we saw how the brand of Nederland came through loud and clear in the words they chose to communicate messages on very simple signs.
Let’s take a look at what I mean.
Larry Winget is a motivational speaker, and his tagline is “The Pitbull of Personal Development.” He has books called, “Shut Up, Stop Whining, and Get a Life,” and, “You’re Broke Because You Want to Be.” That is consistent with his brand, right?
My version of that might look something like, “What are You Waiting For? The World Needs Your Genius!” and, “We’re Always Getting What We’re Committed To: It’s not our fault but it is our responsibility!”
Can you see the difference in our brands in the matter of a few words? Similar messages, but very different characteristics!
If your brand is about inspiring genius, for example, everything you write and say needs to be consistent. Your newsletter articles should reflect your same perspective. If I started writing about branding and suddenly went corporate in my approach, you’d experience a disconnect. If I am about honoring people’s genius, gossiping about people’s negative traits is inconsistent with that. (I am also a work in progress, but I do my best to walk away from conversations like that.)
Who you are being
To me the most important category is who you are being. Who you’re being trumps all. If you show up powerfully, and BE the expert, BE the inspiration, BE the “increase” in the world, that makes all the difference. That said, building a brand is about consistency.
If you show up at every public appearance as a gregarious and giving being, yet your website has a tagline like, “Business Consulting and Training” and communicates no personality (this is an actual example of the first tagline I found when I googled business coach), that will eventually become a branding problem. The moment you want to rely on your brand and your website to help bring in business, you’ll be in trouble, because your brand doesn’t represent you.
On the flip side, if you sit behind your computer and write genius copy that stirs the soul, and you show up in person as a wet mop, you’ll have a branding issue too. To be truthful, there is a market for a wet mop also, but if you’re a wet mop, own it and be it everywhere! Be the best damn wet mop and attract all the mops in your area that are aspiring to get wet!
You don’t have to be anyone other than you to have your being in alignment with your brand, you just have to be you consistently.
Your name, tagline, and logo
So when we think of a brand, we think of the business name, tagline, and logo, right? We think of your visual identity often, more than anything else. Like the Coca-Cola bottle and script is their “brand,” right? Absolutely! And then some!
The name of your business, your tagline, and your logo must be consistent, or in alignment, with what you are doing, what you are saying, and who you are being.
In my opinion it is critical to have a coach who is looking in from the outside to help you get clear about who you are, naturally, so you can create your brand. Don’t create something that you can’t live up to. Do create something that calls you to be the best version of you – the one you are at your core – your Truth.
Your business name represents what you are doing. Picture it on display in all the places that you want to go with your business. Do you love it? Does it light you up? Good!
Your tagline is the words you SAY to communicate your benefit to your ideal client.
Remember somewhere in your name and/or tagline you want to communicate a tangible benefit or reference to where, specifically, you take them to as a result of your work. In mine, we’ve got the word “profit.” You also want to include some inspiration, personality, or reference to your unique point of view. For me, I believe that when you align your business to your genius and your mission, you’ll make maximum profit. That’s the inspiration, or intrigue.
And let’s not forget your visual brand. The visuals that represent your brand – your logo, colors, website design, etc., communicate in an instant. And first and foremost they need to be communicate who you are being in the world. When someone looks at your visuals they should get, subconsciously and quickly, a snapshot of the energy you bring to your business. And of course it needs to be consistent with the energy you bring in real life.
If you have logo that looks pretty, or even hip and trendy, but it doesn’t represent your energy and what your brand is about, you are missing the mark. If you have a logo that communicates what you do, but doesn’t represent who you are, it is also off.
Now remember, your logo doesn’t sell you, you do. It’s not the first place to focus when developing your brand, but it is important. I advise my clients to have at least 6 ideal, high-ticket clients and work with them long enough to be clear before investing in quality visual branding. But when you’ve plateaued, you want to look at what’s out of alignment, and that’s a great place to look.
Here’s another branding exercise for you.
- Make a list of all of the characteristics you could use to describe your brand. Get them all out on paper.
- E.G. professional, inspiring, challenging, open, exclusive, trendy, knowledgeable, warm, inviting, powerful, casual, intimidating, excellent, reliable, spiritual, loving, exceptional, approachable, fun, playful, edgy, precise, flexible, etc.
- Then circle the top 4-6 that you feel it is critical to communicate.
- Post them on your wall and refer to them each time you create something in your business. Give them to your designer. Give them to your coach. Let them know who you are and what you’re about, and hold you to your alignment.