Recently I read Speak More! produced by the National Speaker’s Association, and it had a chapter titled “Author-Speaker-Coach Snooze.” Upon reading this, I knew it was speaking to me. My business card essentially says, “author, speaker blah, blah, blah”. I’m not the only one. I see speakers, consultants and service business owners all the time whose business cards and websites have some variation of blah, blah, blah.
The goal in branding isn’t just to define what you do, but also, using David Newman’s words in his book, Do It! Marketing, it is a “promise of an experience.” Branding statements that simply say what you do, such as “Small Business Accountant” or “Freelance Copywriter” don’t provide enough umph to attract clients. Remember, another part of branding is about differentiation, and you can’t do that with the same ho-hum descriptors that everyone else uses. That includes capital letters following your name and important-sounding but ambiguous words like “peak” and “strategic”, all designed to impress clients, but ultimately, fall short.
To create a compelling and results-generating branding statement:
1) Highlight what makes you unique. Uniqueness in business can come in a variety of ways including price, speed, delivery and more. Uniqueness can come from your talents or experience, as well. Do you juggle or spin plates when you deliver your speech on work-life balance? The key is to determine what sets you apart from your competition and highlight it as an additional benefit for your clients.
2) Speak to your market. The most effective and efficient way to lure your clients and customers is by speaking their language and solving their problems. You do this by using the words they use and speaking to the issues you can fix. A single mom will have very different financial needs than a retired couple, so as a result a financial consultant would need to use a different language and speak to different goals for each group.
3) Focus on the end result. Too often, business owners focus on what’s great about them, such as listing all the fancy letters after their name. But clients don’t care about how great you are. They care only about how your greatness can help them. Save all your achievements for another time and instead, use your branding statement to let clients know what they’ll gain. For example, “Bob Smith, Strengths-Focused Sales Trainer inspiring your team to discover and leverage their greatness to increase confidence and sales.”
4) Be you. The challenge in developing stand-out branding materials is to get noticed without being obnoxiously clever or cute. The best way to avoid this is to be true to yourself and genuine in your marketing efforts.
As you review your branding statement, the most important factor to consider is whether or not it tells potential clients or customers what they can expect by working with you. Your title and certifications don’t deliver your message as well as a market-focused statement that promises results.
Leslie Truex is a career design expert who has been helping people find or create work that fits their lifestyle goals since 1998 through her website Work-At-Home Success. She is the author of “The Work-At-Home Success Bible” and “Jobs Online: How To Find a Get Hired to a Work-At-Home Job”. She speaks regularly on career-related topics including telecommuting and home business.