The personal journey and realizations you discovered along the way can be such a powerful 'why' and motivating story that can capture your audience. Your focus is now to bring all that together into a message to share with others who will look to you as their guide, because you have been in their shoes and came out on the other side with a renewed perspective. That is the essence of what your brand message is…and you need to know it in order to communicate to your audience why you can help, and why you’re the best one to do it.
It can be overwhelming to jump into a full brand development in this beginning stage, which we will review in Module 5. But you do need to have a general idea of how to describe your brand and articulate how you can best help as you start out in your business. You may even feel like you need to stay in Module 1 a little longer to get this brand message right, because you’ll want a solid foundation to grow upon.
Now is the time where you need to take all that you have learned about yourself in the last few sessions in this Module, and really ask yourself:
What do I want out of my life that makes me want to step out on my own, and make my mark in this world?
Here are some of the key areas to consider as you are developing your brand message:
1. Be authentic.
Don’t look to define yourself based on what you think other people will want from you, or try to fit a mold of what already exists or is successful. Ask yourself what your special gifts are that truly make you shine. When it comes from you, you aren’t chasing anything. That is the best way to grow your business because you take full ownership of who you are.
When you own your strengths that your business is derived from, you will grow naturally and organically, without it feeling contrived or forced. This is the most important element of your brand message.
2. Your brand is not a service or specialty.
One of the most common mistakes is to describe your brand based on the functional service you are providing (e.g. nutrition counseling) or an area of specialty or practice philosophy (e.g. intuitive eating). Rather, it is important to focus on the end point value, and the 'feeling' or experience that you are helping them achieve.
People pay for outcomes and experiences that fulfill a need or pain point, so don’t focus on ‘what you do’, but rather, ‘what will they get out of working with you’. The true value lies in the experience that you provide, not the actual service that you are delivering. That value can either be something that sounds tangible and measurable (like saving money or weight management), or more emotional and intangible, such as feeling more confident in their bodies and regaining love for themselves.
Find out what really pains you to see in others’ problems, and ask yourself what drives your ‘why’ and how you want to remedy it. Focus not only on the problem you’re solving, but the experience your client will receive while getting there.
3. Don’t distract yourself with the visuals and find a way to emotionally connect.
There are more specific components in a brand that we will touch on in Module 5, but the main thing to remember at this stage is that your brand is more than just a visual identity, like a logo or colors on your website. Your brand components are the actual core values that you stand for, what you’re trying to accomplish with them, and how they will impact your audience so they’ll want to follow your lead. And when your audience follows your lead, they will take action by spreading the word for you, and eventually buy from you.
The key thing to remember is that people are drawn to messages and stories that emotionally connect with them. Make sure the message really emotionally resonates with you first...otherwise, how can it resonate with your audience? A good brand has the ability to elicit an emotional response in an individual, which drives up the purchasing potential. 95% of people make decisions based on emotional drivers to their perceived problem, then follow up and identify logic to validate their decision to follow a solution. Examples of emotional drivers include:
Achievement and competence
Sense of belonging
Think of your brand message as the outcome and experience that you are specifically passionate about helping people achieve. Picture this in your mind, and use it to harness your excitement and passion behind the emotional elements of your brand message.
4. Listen to what your potential client audience is asking for.
The best way to understand your audience is to go out there and actively research what they truly want. Start with who you know, and ask them what their issues and problems are.
As you get start growing your audience and have a consistent way to communicate with them (such as through an email list or FB group), don’t be afraid to set up ways to communicate their interests and needs with you from time to time to get their feedback on what they need.
That can come in the form of a survey, number of email sign-ups for an offer, or by looking at their click-through rates and engagement on your email or post analytics. Your market will always be the best at informing you of what your value is to them, and what should be your next move.
Follow along in the activity below to start developing and writing out your brand message. Remember, this is something that can change as you learn more about your audience. Having it written out will be a helpful way to remind you of what you’re in it for.
1. Identify up to 5 words that embody your core values and describe the driving forces behind them.
2. Step through and write down your most basic brand message:
‘Why’: The problem you are trying to solve and the reason you created your business
‘How’: Your solution that will address this problem based on your unique experiences and knowledge
‘What’: The way your solution will be delivered and achieve the desired outcome.
3. Develop a brand story and narrative that steps your audience through your story:
Origin: This sets the foundation and paints a picture for your audience. It grounds their expectation of who you once were.
Shift: Share the revelation that moved you away from that origin, and took you out of that mindset and into the new one that you’re currently in.
Now: Tell them what you current focus on because of that shift, and the audience you are helping because they will benefit from the newer understanding that you have. This will relay why you’re the best one to help them.