Top Burning Brand Questions
Since my background is in design, here is my feedback on the top questions I hear around brand.
1) Do I Need a Business Name for my Coaching Business?
As a coach selling personalized services, you are selling the unique coaching style and perspective you bring.
This is what we refer to as a Personal Brand, a brand that is based on, well, YOU.
Luckily, you already have one very specific unique descriptor in this world, and that is your name. Your name already comes with a rich history, value, and in my opinion, is way more reputable than, “Laser Edge Coaching.”
Not to mention the life/business/career/relationship chops you bring to your service – a helluva added value for your clients.
For this reason, I consult clients to add a subtitle that tells your potential clients immediately what to expect from you.
For example, “Richard Bossypants helps CEOs escape their corporate jobs so they can have more time for their forgotten lives.”
With this example, your potential clients know how you specifically can help them, and if they should keep reading.
Of course, there are a few exceptions to this rule.
If you already have a reputable name in one area, and are trying to pivot your business into something totally new, it would be understandable to rebrand.
For example, if your name is Tiger Woods, and you really want to get away from this whole golf celebrity thing and start a coaching business, I would consider re-branding – which would offer a fresh start without the brand baggage.
If you already run a business that is in a complementary field (like, you do consulting, and want to add coaching to your packages) you could continue to use your current business name, and just tweak the language that describes what you do and who you serve.
Don’t forget to keep your clients and subscribers informed of the new direction, what to expect, and how they can benefit from the change.
The other time where a business name might serve you is if your were planning to evolve into a larger small-business (like an Ad Agency) or if you plan to have a broader team.
THEN, a unique name for the business that is representative of your main service is another viable option. (For example, my friend Sherry’s business, “Farm to Fork Catering.”)
Remember, your clients could give two craps about your business name or whether your logo was blue or red. (Hell, they won’t even remember!)
What they want to know is how YOU specifically can solve their unique problems.
Whether it be ditching their corporate job or finding more time for exercise, or having relationships that are deeper and more meaningful – THIS is why your potential clients are visiting your website in the first place.
2. Should my Personal Preferences be Reflected in my Brand?
For example, if you are a Grief Coach, but your favorite color is hot pink, should you use hot pink in your website?
As we'll discuss deeper in the next section, your brand is “a product of the words, message, tone, vibe, energy and perspective you bring to your clients.”
So ideally, the services you offer and the experience you create should be top priority when it comes to the visuals and tone of your website.
If that experience just so happens to reflect your personal preferences, then you’re in luck.
Otherwise, visuals in the brand are chosen to reflect the experience, NOT your personal preferences.
Perhaps as a Grief Coach you are known for making your clients feel calm, secure and safe, so talking to your designer about implementing warm, comforting tones would be one option that may be more fitting.
On the other hand, if your favorite color was hot pink, and you coach parents who want to create more play in their lives, you could probably use tastefully-done splashes to add vibrance and a hint of playfulness. Make sense?
3) When you say “Brand,” What the heck are you referring to? My logo?
This is a common misconception. Continuing Braid Creative’s metaphor comparing your brand to a cake, a logo is merely the whipped cream on "the cake" of your brand.
Just like your business, that cake required blood sweat and tears. Everything was made from scratch. You baked for hours and hours with all your favorite filling. Just like your business, it’s got layers and character of flavor. You even have a crumble on top because, you love that.
At the very end, when the cake is done, you add a dollop of whipped cream. The whipped cream represents your logo. The cake would be amazing with or without this little addition, but you add it anyway. It doesn’t change the composition of your cake much, just adds an extra touch of sweetness.
We hardly make purchases or engage with products based on the logo alone, so the logo will not make or break your business.
At the end of the day, a logo is simply a visual that if designed nicely and used on the regular will start to become recognizable IF you consistently put it out into the world.
If My Logo Isn’t My Brand, What Is?
Your personal brand is a product of the words, message, tone, vibe, energy and perspective you consistently bring to your clients
It’s your unique way of delivering results to your clients
It’s the thoughtfulness you put in your interactions
It’s your no-BS approach, or your ability to listen deeply
It’s the way you drop F-bombs, or your southern charm. Or your passion for food.
It's your bad-assery, no-non-sensory or your ability to be totally optimistic despite hovering rain clouds.
Most importantly, it’s the way your clients feel after working with you.
When it comes to your personal brand, the visuals, content and language should represent that feeling that you want to emit.
Otherwise, a disconnect is created between what your potential clients see on your website, from the actual product or service you deliver.
In the end, a personal brand is about being super honest about what you bring to the table, and creating an online presence that reflects that feeling to the best of your ability.
In the comments below, let me know know your biggest frustrations with brand!