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Wondering how you can GROW a powerful coaching or consulting business? The answer lies in knowing the basics of brand, branding and brand identity.

Spoiler alert… it isn’t all about your logo.

Let’s dive in!

What's the difference between brand, branding and brand identity?

You have a million-and-one priorities on your plate when you’re getting your business going – finding clients being the most important.

Some things have to come later – like, figuring out what on earth this branding malarky is all about.

Now you’ve found your business feet, and you’re ready to make a bigger impact, it’s the perfect time to bump brand-know-how over to the ‘urgent and important’ list.

When you get clear on brand, branding and brand identity, it becomes obvious how you can stand out, build credibility and trust, and easily attract clients ready to invest in a premium service.

Ask Google for the low down and you’ll probably need a lie down in a dark room – there’s masses of information out there to scramble your noodle.

Here’s my own overview that will have you up to speed in no time.

Definitions of brand, branding and brand identity.

We’ll kick off with my favourite definitions, then dive into the nitty-gritty of each one.

  1. BRAND is what people think of you.
  2. BRANDING is influencing what people think of you.
  3. BRAND IDENTITY is the look, feel and voice of your brand.

71% of people choose brands that share their values.

Source: Vivendi

1. Your BRAND is what people think of you.

This may come as another surprise, but your brand is NOT your logo.

Your brand is so much bigger than that.

Your brand is your reputation.

I’ll just let that sink in for a moment – then, I’ll elaborate…

Think for a second about Ryan Air.
What’s your gut feeling? What words come to mind?

It’s possible you’ve never set foot on one of their planes, but you might still be thinking cheap, no-frills, unreliable.

Now think about Emirates.

Even if you haven’t flown with them either, you might be dreaming of flying with them one day to experience the luxury and 5-star service.

What you, and others, think and feel about each airline is its brand – it’s a collective gut feeling. 

I think Marty Neumeier, author of The Brand Gap, says it best:

“A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or company. It’s not what YOU say it is. It’s what THEY say it is.”

Or, as Jeff, a well-known online-shop owner once said:

“Your brand is what people say about you, when you’re not in the room.”

Even if it’s the first time you’ve thought about your business as a brand, it already is one.

Your brand exists in the hearts and minds of your clients, colleagues, peers and prospects. It’s created through every direct experience of you, and what they hear from others too.

Right now, you might be thinking “I care about my brand reputation, but I can’t control how people think, feel or what they say about me.” And you’d be right.  But, there is a way to influence it. 

That’s where branding comes in!

77% of marketing leaders say branding is critical to growth.

Source: Circe Research

2. BRANDING is influencing what people think of you.

As you’ve already discovered, you have a brand whether you think about it or not – it exists in people’s hearts and minds, even if they haven’t done business with you yet.

The good news is when you carefully consider what your brand should be known for, and craft a carefully aligned brand experience to convey it, you have the power to influence what people think and feel.

Every client interaction – from finding you, throughout their coaching or consultancy, and beyond – is an opportunity to shape your brand.

Branding factors in everything – from big things like your client onboarding process to little things like your voicemail message.

There are so many opportunities to surprise and delight – what are all the ways you can think of?

There’s one caveat. Branding doesn’t mean pleasing everyone – and you shouldn’t try to – it’s a sure-fire way to end up with an uninspiring brand.

Be bold! You only need your ideal clients to absolutely love you.

It starts with communicating with brand confidence. Getting your unique message out to the right people, making a positive and lasting impression, and building ‘know, like and trust’.

That’s where brand identity comes in.

Presenting a brand consistently can increase revenue by up to 23%

Source: Lucidpress

3. BRAND IDENTITY is the look, feel and voice of your brand.

Your brand identity is a really important part of the branding process – it’s a really fun part too!

It’s where you get to express – visually and verbally – all the good stuff about your brand, to the people you want to influence and impress.

Your vision, mission, values, strengths, attributes and style are brought to life through your name, tagline, logo, colours, typography, imagery and messaging.

Your identity extends through everything – business cards, blog, website, weekly emails, social media, slide decks, proposals, podcast, office decor… the list goes on!

What makes a strong brand identity?

A strong brand identity is:

  • Unique – it looks and sounds like you, and communicates your brand story.
  • Impactful – it makes you stand out and connects you with your ideal clients.
  • Future-proof – it grows with your business, rather than being a fashionable flash in the pan.
  • Cohesive – it can easily be used consistently to build brand recognition
  • Versatile – it works well across all applications.

Overall, a strong and consistent brand identity is a fanfare for your business that creates the right impression, and it gets you recognised and remembered for all the right reasons.

How to start branding (or rebranding) your coaching or consulting business

Hopefully, your mind is buzzing with ideas and excitement.

You can clearly see the benefits of intentionally branding (or rebranding) your coaching or consulting business and you’re super keen to get started.

When you build anything, including a brand and brand identity, you need a strong foundation.

This means getting clear on your brand purpose, positioning and personality – who you are, what you do, who for, why, and how you do it differently, are the core elements of your brand. They shape your brand identity so it tells your unique and compelling brand story.

I call this foundation Brand Clarity and Confidence – that’s exactly what a deep dive into the DNA of your business gives you.

On this strong foundation, you can build an amazingly powerful brand to attract dream clients, do more of the work you love, raise your profile and your prices.

Kate Pollitt

Author Kate Pollitt

Kate Pollitt is an award-winning business owner, brand coach and creator, who has worked with hundreds of small businesses across three decades in the Design and Marketing Industry. She loves sharing her strategic and creative skills with Coaches and Consultants to help them grow amazing businesses.

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