01 Develop a Branding Mindset
My strong recommendation would be to listen to Laura Coleman's AMAZING audio meditations below, before watching the video or doing any work on this part of your branding as it will get you set up in the right head space and ensure you get the most out of this exercise.
LISTEN FIRST | Your pre-training Meditation
THE BRANDING MINDSET
Hello and welcome to this mini series covering the fundamental aspects of developing a brand.
I’m Lauren of LaHu Brand Visibility. I’m a brand visibility strategist and photographer so I know a thing or two about putting your best self forward. I work with women in business to show up online with confidence, authenticity and ease.
So in this mini series, we’ll be looking at the foundational work that goes into getting your brand started.
Lots of women in business start somewhere around the middle with a logo and maybe some attractive colours but there’s around 3-4 steps that should really be well trodden before deciding on the aesthetic aspects of your brand. There needs to be a deep understanding of yourself, your ideal client and your offer not to mention all the things that drive you.
This is so you can make sure that the decisions you make on your brand design really reflect who you are and what you stand for as well as really appealing to the right audience and giving the right impression. There’s more to building a brand than most entrepreneurs realise but the work is so worthwhile.
In my experience developing a brand using these simple but intentional steps gives you a sense of direction you might not find when starting a business any other way. There’s a lot more in depth work that I do with my 121 clients but this whistle stop tour will give you the starting blocks.
I’m so pleased you’re here and that you have a sincere interest in building a kick ass brand that not only gives you confidence as you have the backing of an authoritative and recognisable entity behind you but also builds trust and connection with your followers. Which, in turn, grows a loyal customer base.
I’m going to focus here on building more of a personal brand, which has lots more of YOU in it, as most of the women I work with come to me because this is my zone of genius.
WHAT IS A BRAND?
Your brand is, in essence, the personality of your business. If you imagine the human body and all its internal working parts. This represents the business. The bones and muscles and joints that allow you to move around and experience the world.
But it’s the personality that allows you to really connect with other humans. In the same way, your brand becomes the vehicle for building relationships with real people and ultimately, once you’ve done this work, with your ideal paying customer.
Your brand is what distinguishes you from your competitors, helping to form a lasting impression in the mind of your audience and clients. Without a compelling brand that attracts your target audience, you may find yourself struggling to build a profitable and sustainable business. Now it’s time to bust one of the biggest misconceptions in business.
Your brand is NOT just a logo and colours.
Your brand is made up of a multitude of things. It’s your logo, colors and overall design yes. Absolutely. But it’s also everything else you put out into the world. It’s the products and services that you offer, your website and customer experience. It’s the journey your clients go on with you from start to finish. It’s your marketing strategies and how and where you show up online. It's what you stand for. It’s your energy and even your sense of humour, But Most importantly it’s your vision and values and your messaging.
You can also view your brand as what people say about you when you’re not in the room. It’s your reputation. We have no control over how people view our business. They make up their own minds. But we can influence it by building a brand with intention.
Bergische University ran a study that found that people have similar feelings about brands as they do about people they like. This means that they’ll find a connection with you, they’ll develop a vested interest in you and your products and they’ll ultimately have your back aka they’ll become loyal customers because they actually care about you.
Try to imagine your brand as a persona all of its own. Allow your followers to fall in love with your brand. This is the intention of a brand, to create the human element of your business. I want you to be very aware that when building a personal brand especially, it’s personal traits should be born of you and your own personality, your own values and what you stand for. This is how you create an authentic personal brand. One that really resonates with other humans
It stops being a mere exchange of money for products or services. When you have a well developed brand, when your clients have gone through the process of knowing, liking and trusting you they will become evangelists for your business. They’ll become your biggest promoters. This is the real power of branding. But how do you get there?
Becoming a trusted, recognisable and memorable brand isn’t an overnight win. It takes time and investment on your part. Like building any relationship it requires openness and sincerity. This is how we build trust. Building a brand isn’t superficial work, it’s perspective altering work that will require a little deep dive into who you are and why you do what you do. So there’s a mindset shift that comes when you start considering ‘your brand’.
You have to start to look inward and consciously understand what motivates you as well as understanding your strengths and limitations annnnnd really start to consider what YOU want from your business, who YOU want to serve and how you want to serve them but also why. With the development of your brand comes this wonderful sense of freedom and the ability to take charge of the direction in which you steer your business.
But you need to have a willingness to be open and honest with yourself about what holds you back and find confidence in the strengths that you haven’t yet given enough praise to. This is what I like to call the branding mindset.
When we create a more personal brand we have to
- Be ok with sharing a little bit of ourselves and our lives online
- Step over the fear and get comfortable showing up in images and video and even dun dun duh livestreams!
- Find a confidence to show up regularly online and convey our authentic energy
- Allow ourselves the freedom and acceptance to show up as our unapologetic selves and really fully embrace who we are
- And this is a big one - understand and accept on your deepest levels that not everyone is going to like you and know that this is ok.
You are the real deal. YOU are the reason people buy into your personal brand. Don’t try to please all the people all the time, because you’ll end up pleasing no one and boring everyone. Be marmite! A big part of the branding mindset is to accept on your deepest levels that it's totally ok that not everyone is going to like you. In fact, you should really aim for that.
The people who standout in history are NOT the ones who tried to please everyone, they are the ones with polarising opinions and the ones who weren’t afraid to shout about it! So be different, be marmite and be ok with blazing your own trail. In my opinion, we should all be showing up as our authentic selves in our brands.
This is a little different to how we’ve approached our business in the past and some women are just not comfortable with the vulnerable feelings that come with this. The first thing I’ll say about that is that it’s totally ok to feel that way. We’re all different and we all have a different threshold, marking how much we’re able to share. Secondly, the great thing about determining your own brand is that you can share as much or as little as you like, as long as it’s authentic. You don’t have to tell people your bra size to be authentic online. It’s all within your control how much you share. But thirdly and perhaps most importantly, I want you to know that by giving yourself permission to show up as yourself, for yourself, you’ll discover a confidence that only grows.
So if you’re able to step outside your comfort zone and try something that scares you, you’ll find a massive reward on the other side. One of my favourite says is ‘everything you want is on the other side of fear’.
So now we know that we’re going to have to think a little differently about how we approach marketing our business, let’s get into the major pillars of your brand. In my mind your brand has five main pillars. These are the different aspects that together create the foundations of a strong brand.
- The Branding Mindset
- Your Core Brand Values
- Your Brand Personality
- Your Ideal Client Profile
- Your Brand Message
And each one of these factors works together towards the ultimate goal of creating a connection with your audience. Now, each one of these pillars takes time to define and understand. But when you’ve done the work and you know them inside out, you’ll find that conveying them to your followers becomes almost second nature.
In the second video we’ll get more in depth on Brand Values but for now I would love for you to start thinking about your strengths and your limiting beliefs. Because the truth is that even before we start work on the five pillars, we really do have to get our mindset right.
So grab a pen and paper and write a list of your strengths. Don’t overthink it! Do try to address any sensations of discomfort that may creep in because this exercise is not always straightforward. It can feel self indulgent, egotistical or even arrogant. But it’s not! My personal feeling is that I will not be told by society that I’m not allowed to celebrate myself and to revel in my successes! Hell no!
And I want YOU to give yourself permission to really start celebrating yourself right now. So write down all your strengths. They could be anything! Maybe start with considering your energy. Is it calm and nurturing? Or is electric, even explosive?
Are you full of enthusiasm or is your strength in finding practical solutions to problems? Are you great with organisation, communication, holding space for others? Really get into it and write down all the things that are personal to you that add something really valuable to your business, your clients and even just to those around you. Keep going for at least 15 minutes and see what comes up. And please, give yourself permission to really SEE your strengths.
Next I want you to take another piece of paper. This time I want you to write down all your limiting beliefs. These are the things you believe about yourself that hold you back.
They could be as general as ‘I’m not good enough’ or they could be as specific as ‘I’m not going to get that contract because I don’t dress the right way’. Think about all the times you doubted yourself or assumed there’d be a negative outcome.
Ask yourself, what was the belief I held in that moment that stopped me taking the step forward that I really wanted to be able to take? Whatever your limiting belief, write it down but I want you to leave a gap of around 3 inches between each one and I’ll tell you why in a moment.
Well done for scratching around up there and calling yourself out on your limiting beliefs. It’s not easy work, sometimes it’s actually quite painful and you’re not alone in that. With some, you may have surprised yourself but you’ve succeeded in getting them all down on paper. And that's the first step towards disarming them of their power over you.
The next step is looking at that 3 inch gap, taking up your sword (aka pen) and challenging those beliefs! You’re going to use that gap to now write down why those things are NOT true. That’s right. They’re not true. They are limiting beliefs, not limiting truths.
Our beliefs are often based on inaccuracies in our memories, or misunderstandings, or on the things that others have said to us, or made us feel. These are so often people who had their own baggage and their own perspective which may have also been skewed.
So the next step towards relinquishing their power is to really acknowledge their source and their inaccuracy. Understand where they come from and acknowledge that the information your brain received that caused these beliefs to be generated may well have been incorrect, misunderstood or down right malicious. Our limiting beliefs are so often more to do with someone else’s treatment or opinion of us than they are to do with the reality of who we are.
I hope you’ve found this first video really useful, it’s really just an overview as there is so much more to discovering your brand but I wanted to give you a quick intro into branding and the branding mindset.
In the next videos we’ll be looking at the five pillars of your brand. So tune in to video two for more in depth look at your brand values.
Thanks for watching.
“If you are looking for some empowerment to move your business to the place you wish for it to be...talk to Lauren. 40 minutes of GOLD is what I say!”
– Hanna, Hannacake –