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.
1. Get your positioning statement shaped up!
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.”
2. Start sharing content that speaks to your dream client and comes from your personal + professional blended point of view.
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?
3. Take a look at how you are selling your services or product.
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.