What is a Brand and Why Do You Need One?Feb 10, 2020
You can look at building a consulting and coaching practice in one of two ways. You can think of yourself as a freelancer who simply is always on the lookout for the next job. Or you can think of yourself as a brand that attracts right fit clients for years to come. If you want a practice that consistently generates exceptional results then you, like all great companies, need to invest in building a strong brand.
What is a Brand?
Many people think a brand is nothing more than a logo. Or a trademark. Or that pithy tagline. The reality is that branding is all of those things and so much more. A brand in general is the promise you make to your future clients that you consistently deliver on. Your brand promise contains both the tangible and intangible value you create as well as the emotional connection they will experience when working with you.
Why Consultants and Coaches Need a Brand
There are five reasons why it is worth investing your time, money and vulnerability into brand building:
1. You have a brand whether or not you do branding work - it just may not be a very good one.
Your clients form an impression of who you are and the extent of the value you bring to the table through all of the touch points that they have with you – from what your website and social media presence portrays, how you show up in meetings, your approach to landing contracts and results you ultimately deliver.
All of it matters and all of it forms an impression.
2. A clear and well-positioned brand happens when you take charge of all of the touch points to create a singular, differentiated message about the context that your help is needed and the story you are inviting your clients into.
When you do your brand building work with intention and focus – you get out of a transactional relationship with your clients and infuse your consulting and coaching with deep meaning. It’s the meaning that sets you apart from the crowd and establishes your worth.
3. The perception of your brand quality defines your ultimate earning potential.
Pricing is all about an equitable exchange of value. What you’ll ultimately be able to charge is determined by how your client perceives the value of what you bring to the table and this perception forms long before a proposal is put in front of a client.
4. A strong brand puts your marketing on autopilot.
Many consultants and coaches avoid doing brand build work because they have blocks about marketing. They perceive marketing to be out of alignment with their values and something to avoid. What is ironic is that the more that you invest in your marketing foundation through creating a clear and well-positioned brand, you substantially reduce your marketing pressure. You'll more easily attract your ideal clients and warm them up so that they will be ready to work with you and pay you premium fees - a decision that they will make long before your initial consultation call/discovery meeting.
And on the other end of a client engagement, you’ll deliver results that match your promises. This type of credibility is what creates raving fans who will gladly recommend you to others.
5. You brand is not just about positioning you in the marketplace - it's positioning you to be a peer and strategic partner to your future clients.
What you do with your marketing and how you find your way into an organization defines whether or not you are an "order taker" and "extra pair of hands" that offers some subject matter expertise or can deliver work that full-time employees don't have the time for OR a strategic partner and peer to senior leaders.
If your goal is to help leaders make decisions that create healthy organizations and sustainable success, your brand clarity and quality determines whether or not you will be perceived as credible to play that role.
You cannot make a powerful difference by playing small. You can definitely earn a living by going from referral to referral. You can influence wins here and there. But you won't become a perceived expert in your industry or thought leader without a clear brand.
Take a bold and honest look at all of the touch points between you and your future clients - from their initial introduction to you online through the delivery of your results.
- What promise are you actually making to your clients?
- Are you positioning yourself as a peer to senior leaders?
- Are you showcasing the transformation and story you are inviting your clients into?
- Are you hiding behind your credentials and methodology?
- Do you come across as a world-class consultant and coach that is worth premium fees?
If your brand promise and positioning isn't clear and your brand quality isn't reflective of the value you offer, push past your money and imposter syndrome fees and take charge of your brand. Dial into what you authentically bring to the table and showcase, not because you're arrogant or shameless. Do it because you care deeply about the clients you want to serve and you want to make it easy for them to find you and leverage your strengths to make the difference that you both see in the world.
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