I make no claims as a branding expert. When that subject comes up, I try to look at people like Walter Landor, who helped companies from Coca Cola to Shell Oil to Levi Strauss define their brand for the public. He would say things like, “Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind.”
As new coaches come into Ultimate Coach University and create their businesses, some key branding questions often come up. They are simple and yet profound questions. If branding is the something created in the minds of others, how will you approach this task? Here are four core ideas.
1. Who is your Ideal Customer? This is your core question. Start with your customer’s demographics. Then work out from there to understand their values in action. This might be a business group (direct sellers, lawyers, salon owners, etc.) or it driven by the group’s characteristics such as entrepreneurial drive, introversion, or leadership development.
Once this image starts to come together, your opportunity is to become the expert for these customers.
- What do they want that they don’t have? Don’t think about what happens in the coaching; what do they have afterwards?
- Will these customers be better after coaching than before they started?
- Will they know it?
2. How will they find you? You have an image of your ideal customer. How will they be able to find you? Your goal is to have their mental image match the one that you are creating. Your passion and excitement need to be obvious.
- Is your value statement clear as well as front and center?
- How compelling is your mission or brand statement?
- What visual images are you making available?
- Is your headshot saying what you want?
- What action shots or Pinterest options are available?
- How well does your simple graphic represent you?
3. How will they know the real you? The answer is very simple: others will tell them. Let’s face it; with information access at an all-time high, what others say is the most trustworthy source of information.
- How often do you do a Google or Bing search for your name?
- Who’s talking about you on Facebook?
- How do you ask new customers, “How did you hear about me?”
- One great suggestion: Ask your clients, “What is the one thing you would tell others about our coaching?”
4. Can you tell someone without blushing, stalling, or talking more than 30 seconds? Seriously, you have to get comfortable talking about yourself and your business. Have conversations. Don’t just spew a prefab statement. Tease, talk, entice, and solicit questions. You are not a megacorp. You are having one-to-one conversations.
- How will you practice your conversational skills? Who with?
- How can you describe the opportunity you are creating?
- What question will you ask to continue the conversation?
- How will you ask for a follow-up?
This is by no means a complete list. Branding is creating a promise in the minds of your potential customers. Your job is to have a solid idea of the promise and a solid idea of how you will communicate it. The rest is strategic.
Please share. How are you focusing on your branding?