Branding for coaches
When I used to run our agency with my husband (and brand guru) Jody, I often came across clients who didn’t quite understand what branding really meant – or rather they didn’t understand the full spectrum of items that make a brand. Some mistakenly thought that Branding was creating a logo – but in reality, it is so much more than that. Branding for coaches is key to positioning you as unique in an overcrowded market. Doing it right is essential.
What Branding is not and what Branding for coaches is
Branding is not your logo or your brand colors. That is how your brand is expressed and identified, but your brand is so much more than that. Branding for coaches is a special category of branding – a coach needs to build a personal brand in order to become more appealing and make their competition irrelevant. A personal brand is all-encompassing.
Creating a personal brand for coaches means catching the essence of the person in every touchpoint of their coaching business. Sounds complicated, but it’s easy to do if you follow this step by step process:
Coach Branding Step 1# Unique selling proposition (USP)
The most important element of a personal brand (or any brand) is your USP.
What makes you different?
What makes you better?
What makes you a perfect match for your ideal customers?
The answer to these questions is your unique selling proposition.
Coach Branding Step 2# Pick your core values
In order to develop a clear unique selling proposition, you have to explore a number of things. One important element is your core values. Your personal brand needs to reflect who you really are – the tools that will help you do that are your core values.
Finding your personal and business core values should be quite easy since it’s all about you with your personal brand. For example, I built my online coaching business because I wanted Freedom – this is an important core value for me. My second core value is Family – I wanted more freedom to spend more time with my daughter and also to travel, Adventure – is another core value.
My business journey needs to feel like an adventure to fulfill me. Perseverance is another, I feel that a big part of my success comes from perseverance without overworking myself. I’m against the ‘hustle till you drop’ mentality. My online business came about as a reaction to building a brick-and-mortar business that required too much from me and led me to burnout. I also set out to build a business that supports the causes I hold close to my heart. I also want a business that feels peaceful – smooth cash flow and no conflict
So my core values are:
Freedom, Family, Adventure, Perseverance, Philanthropy, Simplicity, and Peace.
Now pick your own. Here’s a list of values that can help you.
Coach Branding Step 3# Develop a Brand story
Next comes your brand story. Since most coaches are their own ‘ideal client’, meaning they’ve already been through the journey they take others through, your story is the glue that connects what you do with the kind of client you want to work with.
Your story should not contain random facts and anecdotes about yourself. It should contain only the information your ideal client needs to pick you over your competitors. Every story is different however answering the questions below should give you a clear outline to write your brand story. (not all the questions will be a match for you – and that’s ok – answer the ones you can)
- Why do you do what you do?
- What problems have you been through that your ideal client goes through as well?
- How have you failed on your journey?
- Why did you decide to do what you do?
- How do you help your clients? Did you develop a process/blueprint?
- What did your personal experience teach you about what you coach?
- How did your journey change your life?
- Why do you want to help others with this too?
- What difficulties do your clients come to you with?
- How do you help them?
- What is unique about your approach and how did you develop it?
Coach Branding Step 4# Get clear on your messaging (and micro-messaging)
Your message is key to attracting the right audience. The way you form your messaging is also very important. Whether you swear or not, the level of formality you use, the words and language you use. These are all going to impact the way you are perceived and whether people connect to you or not.
If you do video other elements like your accent and the complexity of the words you use will determine who follows you or not. For example: if you want to sell your coaching online to an international client base then you want to use sober language – not distinctly American or English. Stay away from expressions and keep in mind that second language English speakers make up the majority of your audience online.
Keep an eye on industry technicalities too. If your audience is not from your industry and is not technical, then tone down your technical jargon. I used to have this problem when I started. As a programmer and marketer for many years I was not aware of the amount of jargon I was using, I realized this once I started doing videos. It made a big difference when I made an effort to tone down the tech words, especially because they completely go against my core value of keeping things simple and attainable for my clients.
Micro messaging refers to the small things you say such as social media posts, the sub-topics you handle, and the things you talk about when you get interviewed. Make sure that your micro-messaging ties in with your overall message and with your brand story. Keep it all consistent and get a little help from keyword research.
Keyword research will help you understand what exactly people are looking for within your topics. Always draw information from your keywords to pick your micro messages that help your audience build the bigger picture of who you are and what you offer.
Coach Branding Step 5# Colour palette and Logo
And finally, we come to the ones everyone looks forward to seeing finished. Once you have identified all of the above, it also helps to make a list of the emotions you want your audience to feel.
For example, I want my audience to feel safe (safe to know that they are with someone they can trust and has a lot of experience), I also want them to feel inspired (I create experiences that inspire them to take action), Confidence (I also want my audience to feel confident that they can get more clients without overwhelming themselves), Excited (I want my audience to feel excited about what’s possible for them – this comes as a result of understanding that SEO is within their reach and its business potential is huge)
Once you’ve identified the emotions you can start talking to your designer or VA about putting some colors together. If you find it hard to start you can explore the colors connected to the emotions you want to evoke.
You can then create a mood board using the shades you like using the colors you picked. Pinterest is a fabulous tool for this. Here’s a great mood board example using blue and orange: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/42502790223889974/
Once you have discussed mood, messaging and colors with your designer, they should be able to come up with some logo options for you. Remember to be clear whether you want to look formal or friendly, fun or professional, draw from your core values to brief your designer in detail. A better brief – a better well-matched logo that you’ll love.
Coach Branding Step 6# Photography
The next thing you’re going to need is to take some photographs of yourself that fit in with your mood board. You may need to buy some clothes or a backdrop but it will all be worthwhile. If you can’t afford a pro photographer, find a friend with the latest iPhone and ask her to take some pictures in an environment that has touches of color that match your mood board. You can pick a cafe, hotel lobby, or outdoor space. Let the colors guide you.
Coach Branding Step 7# Website and social media templates
Once you’ve managed to get your logo ready and approved, ask your designer to pick some stock imagery and add in the photos you took. Re-visit your mood board and ask your designer to create a visual for your website. You can easily do this by taking a picture of your website template and sending it over to him so he can position the photos and find the right shades for menus etc.
When you buy a WordPress template it often comes with InDesign or photoshop template files – these are perfect to help your designer show you some design options for your website.
If you don’t have a budget for a designer, fear not – you can get a Canva subscription which will enable you to use logo templates and upload the screenshot of your website template and edit it by overlaying quality stock images (which you can also purchase for 1$ in Canva.)
Once you’re happy with the website template, pick around 3 Canva social media templates and edit their colors and fonts to match your website design.
Now that your Branding is ready and in place, you can go out into the world and start attracting visitors to your website. Branding is an important part of building your online authority as a coach, but blogging and optimized video will need to be the next step to bring you leads to convert.
If you’d like some help creating a marketing strategy that builds your authority and converts your website traffic into customers, we should certainly talk…
Book a free call at www.meetme.so/stephaniefiteni