LaFaye Pye, the Prosperity Strategist, is one of my business besties. We met via an intensive 6-week online course (of course!) in which it turned out that there were only a small handful of us who posted regularly and did our best to keep up with the content. After this course was finished, we all had to take a step back from what we were working on to decompress. But I would never trade that experience as all the amazing friendships that have come out of it.
When LaFaye was going through a re-brand, she brought me in to help. We looked at her current color scheme and visual elements, and talked through exactly what she was trying to communicate. She was very attached to her pinks and browns, only they weren't quite the right shades to communicate her position as an expert in her field. She was also attached to the Summer color psychology group with its flowing and feminine elements. To communicate her expert status, we tweaked her palette to encompass a Winter color scheme, and then added in Summer through her lovely feminine elements such as fonts and patterns. Here is her final brand identity style sheet (note: I did not create this final version, but I do love it!)--
Recently she brought me back in to help with her graphics to update her webinar slide deck. She runs the Business Builders Lab, and was getting ready for a big launch of her new program, the Visible Woman. Her slides were okay, but they didn't have a cohesive look and feel, and they were not on brand.
You can see from this "before" slide that the font she was using was big and clunky (great for Autumn brands) and the colors weren't right. Notice the gray shadow - while it is just a supporting element on the page, it does not harmonize with the palette.
Here is another example of her "Before" slide listing the package prices, and then the updated slide I created for her:
Luckily all her deck needed was a little bit of magic that gave it a classy, upscale feeling to reflect her brand. Here is a screenshot of the final master slide templates;
Now she has over 25 slide templates to chose from (not all pictured) when pulling together her webinars for the Business Builders Lab and, coming soon, The Visible Woman and the Marketing Map. Stay tuned!
I did a live Masterclass on the 4 critical ingredients you need to create a delectably memorable brand. But what if YOU are the brand? How do you apply these four elements to yourself?
Let's recap. The four elements you need to whip up that brand are:
1. History (a past)
2. Culture (a place)
3. Brand Personality (character)
4. Typical Customer (an aspirational self-image)
Related to YOU, here is what you need to think about:
What is your personal story? Why did you want to create this brand? One of my good business friends LaFaye Pye , the Prosperity Architect, tells the story of how she was stuck in bed for months on end with a back problem. Before getting hurt, she taught nutrition and was well known for her delicious and healthy recipes. But it didn't light a spark in her. While she was unable to walk, she realized that what she really wanted to do was help female entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground. (Sound similar? Yes, we both have a similar passion!) She now teaches strategy and mindset and couldn't be happier. I'm a big fan of her Business Builder's Lab.
Why did you start your business? Who did you want to help and why?
When you meet someone new, what is one of the first questions you want to ask them? Yes! Where are you from, or where do you live? We identify certain traits and aspects to the communities and places where people are from. Use this to your advantage. You might feel like the only country girl, but I am sure there are loads of fellow females in the same situation who would bond with you over this one fact about yourself.
This is your personality when you are working on your business. It is your professional personality. At home, you might be cooky and silly, but when you're working on your business, you are refined and knowledgeable. It's okay to be both! Just know which one is your brand.
Can you be someone's typical customer? Can you be their ideal? I know I purchase products and services from people I look up to and wish I had one or many of their gifts. Embody that person who not only you aspire to be, but they also aspire to be.
Branding may not be rocket science, but it does take work. There's lots to think through, pull out and investigate, and dive deeper into. I hope this four-element framework has been helpful!
Remember, in the end, your brand is not what you say it is, it is what your customers think it is. So if you can consistently communicate the image you want, that will hopefully be the image that they hold onto and love.
I was recently on the phone with my sister, who is an HR director. She is working on an amazing new venture with women in her city to help aspiring female entrepreneurs navigate up-leveling their businesses, similar to Shark Tank.
“You know,” she said, “this is such a great opportunity for them to get their businesses out there. They will really up their brand awareness.”
“Yes,” I replied. “That’s the first step.”
“First step?” she asked, “There are others?”
She had no idea that marketing and promotion went beyond getting your brand seen in public.
Yes, there is a process to this thing we call marketing and promotion. Some call it a customer journey. Others a marketing funnel.
But what it really boils down to is a series of events that you plan out in advance to introduce yourself to your prospective future customers so that eventually you will have achieved the magical trifecta, where they will,
You won’t have a solid lasting relationship without all three.
When my husband and I were in the getting-to-know you stage of our relationship, even though we had gone to the same high school and were in the same tiny class of 200, I remember Facebook-message chatting with him and asking if he was an ax murderer? Because obviously he was going to be 100% honest with me, I knew him from high school. And I liked him. A lot. I had always thought he was the most handsome guy at our school. (And I still believe that to this day.) But I didn’t yet trust him. That bridge had to be built over time.
What are the steps needed to build that bridge? There are three on my list that your audience needs to take to know, like and trust you, which should inspire them to continue along the journey through steps four and five, cementing you as the go-to brand for your niche. Let's look at the steps.
1. Know you exist.
The first step is the one my sister already knew about. The one she assumed was the only piece you needed to be successful as a business. You can achieve this through multiple avenues, namely
As a collection, we call these “top of funnel,” if you think about this in terms of a marketing funnel, or the start of the customer journey.
2. Get on your email list.
In the marketing world, the email list is the holy grail.
Why is that? Because you don’t own your social media channels. If Mark Zuckerberg got tired of having to show up in court and get asked embarrassing questions like where he stayed the night before and decided to throw in the towel on his whole empire, there go all your Facebook fans and Instagram followers. Poof!
But if you had convinced them to visit your website or some similar webpage where you asked them to opt in to join your email list before the platforms disappeared, you could still contact them and continue on with your relationship, without batting an eye.
3. Follow you on social.
Your website is pretty static, you most likely only update it with new blog posts or offers. While I just waxed on about how finicky relationships can be with social platforms, I’m now going to do an about-face and encourage you to be on social.
Social is where you get to be social, and what do you love about social? It’s fun! It’s enjoyable! It’s like hanging out with your favorite people, getting invited to all the parties you want to be invited to, and getting a level playing field to interact and talk with anyone alive today who you have always wanted to rub shoulders with! And discover new people/places/brands/excitement!
Social media is a like an all-you-can-drink rockin’, energy-infused sports tonic, doling out dopamine hits with every notification app Ping! Because of its addictive nature, it’s where most peeps hang out. And talk. And share. And talk some more. And share some more.
Through all this finding and talking and sharing we are attracting people to us and pushing others away. For those we are attracting to us, we’re building solid relationships. You come to expect certain things from certain people and brands, and return to interacting with them based on the valuable content they are sharing. This way someone new comes to know who you are, like you, and trust you.
4. Purchase from you.
WHEW! You have achieved the know, like, and trust factor, and it’s time to take this relationship to the next level. Beyond giving you their attention, you now want them to show how committed they are to you through their wallets. (Because she who has the biggest ring wins, right? Or the biggest box of chocolates? Or the most gorgeous deeply-sweet smelling bouquet of exotic flowers?)
Yes! Big signs of affection are great, but even just a small purchase flags an audience member as someone who is dedicated to you. The ring that came from the 25-cent gumball machine is just as sweet a sign of appreciation.
Generally, you want to offer someone a low-risk offer under $10 to see if you are meant for each other. Writing a book and giving it away for free-plus-shipping is one of the better marketing tactics. Books are a great way to introduce your world to your future fans, and you can market your business throughout the book. Build a case as to why your new fan absolutely needs what you offer in her life!
Once you’ve gotten someone to raise their hand and say, “yes, I’m interested in what you’ve got” by purchasing a small something-or-other from you, you then want to have a plan in place to lead them up what is called the value ladder.
On the value ladder, you have entry-level products that range from free to exclusive. At the bottom you might have a free podcast, free class, or free consultation, and then after that the low-cost book or white paper. Then you might have a mini-course or day-long event. After which you offer a full-blown course or industry event. At the top of the ladder, you might offer exclusive one-on-one coaching or maybe a Mustang with all the bells and whistles.
(I always wanted a green Mustang. Every time we got that big envelope from Publisher’s Clearing House I always gently tore out the green Mustang sticker and pasted it in the box as the prize I was going to win.)
You might think that the buyers journey/marketing funnel ends here. But that is not the case!
The final step is when you get a fan to fall so much in love with your brand that they become your unofficial spokespeople.
5. Tell their friends and family about you.
Yes, this is the final step. Every time someone gushes about you on social or in email, make sure to get screenshots to share as future testimonials.
I am way more likely to eat at your food truck if my best friend posts on social that she just had the most amazing taco of her life at the park near the duck pond. This is how your brand will spread, remember that word of mouth thing I mentioned in Step 1?
You’ve made it this far, so hop on over to my Facebook page and tell me one new thing you learned about this whole promotional journey that you had never thought about before. What are your next steps for implementing in your business?
Brand stylist, colorist, graphic designer, web developer, marketer & mom, dedicated to making the world a more harmonious place