Most of us are familiar with branding as a concept for businesses, but when it comes to how to brand yourself as a coach it can be easy to find yourself a bit stuck.
In this post I’m going to share some tips for how you can brand yourself as a coach, the four different elements of branding – because branding is much more than just your visuals, and the mistakes coaches can sometimes make when it comes to creating and implementing their branding.
In this post I’m going to breakdown each stage in more detail and walk you through it all!
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What is branding?
Branding is the combination of our visuals, including photography and graphics but also your message, your voice and your values and how you communicate them.
One of my favourite quotes around branding is that your branding is like a promise you make to your potential clients and customers around what the experience of working with you will be like.
Good branding communicates something about who we are, sometimes on a subconscious level – branding is really quite an amazing element of our businesses.
And the thing is, if we are creating any kind of content and putting ourselves out there in any way shape or form, then we have a brand whether it’s intentional or not.
When we create our brand intentionally we’re looking at what our brand makes our people feel, what it communicates about us and how it helps distinguish you from others.
This element of branding is around our graphic visuals and what most of us instantly think about when it comes to branding. Our logo, colour palette, fonts and any illustrations or designs can communicate a lot about us and our businesses.
A great way to start and appreciate the power of visuals is to just start and notice how other businesses employ this element of their brand. Instagram is a great place to start – just notice what visual branding coaches and other businesses are using and what you think that is communicating about them.
Our brand visuals are what make us recognisable so it can be a good idea to think outside the box in this area if that feels aligned for you.
Using images of ourselves in our brand as coaches can be extremely powerful. Your potential clients and customers will be working with you, so any opportunity you have to get your face out there is a good thing!
However, I know it can be a step outside of your comfort one, and many of my clients have found the whole idea of photoshoots and images of themselves plastered everywhere a bit strange.
But with the volume of social media and other content we need to create in our businesses and simply as a way to connect with our people we need to get used to showing our faces!
In my recent post How to plan a brand photoshoot for your coaching business I shared lots of tips on how to approach this.
In the coaching industry a lot of brand photography can be a bit samey, and that’s ok if you like those typical images but this gives you an opportunity to do something different and stand out.
One of the most helpful tips I’ve heard about how to approach brand photography is to think about what story you want to tell with your images. This is such a helpful way to consider what you want these images to communicate rather than just going for certain shots because that’s the way others do it.
Ultimately one of the best things to look at with all aspects of your branding is just being you. It makes it so much easier and less time consuming when you’re just unapologetically yourself rather than trying to construct an image of something that isn’t authentic.
Simply put, your brand message is what you do and why you do it. Communicating this through your website copy, Instagram captions, blog posts, podcasts is going to help potential clients and customers understand who you are as a business and a coach.
Sometimes your message is going to be communicated in very straightforward ways, for example in words on your website, but it can also come across in more subtle ways in your content – this is why I love creating blog posts, podcasts and videos because it gives me space to weave my message into my work and communicate it through helpful content.
If your message is what you do and why, your values are around how you show up to do it. This can cross over with your ‘why’ but values are really about the underlying ethics behind your business and the ways you do things.
I try to sum up some of my values on my values page here, but I also feel like they can be a little more abstract than this too – something I haven’t covered on my values page are values I hold such as authenticity, generosity, open heartedness etc.
Your message and values are what you do, why you do it and how you do it – your voice is then how you say it!
Your brand voice can make a big difference to how you communicate everything else in your brand.
For me personally as a coach, I just speak how I am – that includes the occasional swear as that’s just what I’m like in real life!
But if your clients are corporate or if there’s another reason why you’d need to consider brand voice more then it might be that you need to give this some more thought.
Brand voice can also include brand language and words and terms you want to weave into your copy and content.
I obviously use wholehearted and wholeheartedly in my work as that’s a big word for me and my brand, some of my courses and programmes also have slightly witchy / boho esc words in their names like Pinterest Magic and Enchanting Challenges which again reflects something about my brand to anyone looking at my stuff!
Why is branding so important?
So those are the key elements of our brand and when we use our branding intentionally we’re always communicating something about us at the conscious and subconscious level.
Branding is super important because it’s one of the key ways we differentiate ourselves from other coaches. Using distinctive branding can help you stand out from other coaches in your niche and can help you become more recognisable and known.
Branding can also create trust. A professional looking brand can help communicate your authority and knowledge which can help build trust with potential clients.
Your brand can also attract the right people to you and repel the people who aren’t a good fit. When you have a really attractive brand it magetises your ideal clients – what’s not to love about that! So if you have strong ideas about your branding or want to do something experimental then that’s definitely not a bad idea because ‘marmite’ branding can be super effective.
How you brand has an impact on how you position yourself in the market, which can also have an effect on your pricing. Believe it or not, you can intentionally use branding to help support higher ticket prices!
Branding can also make you a more confident coach! Having a professional legit looking brand can really help you feel more confident when you’re putting yourself out there and getting visible too.
Options for creating your brand
So when it comes to working on your brand, you’ve got a couple of options – DIY, DIY with support or bring in the professionals!
If you’re going to DIY, Canva is an absolutely fantastic tool, but DIYing is probably best kept for those of us who have some confidence with design and use of colour etc
Then you can DIY with support, for example I have a course called Rock Your Brand and Website which takes you through the process of creating a brand and website and supports you to DIY it all.
Then you can work with a professional. This might be a graphic designer or it could be someone like myself who does brand and website design for coaches in one package.
Whichever option you choose it’s really important that you’re involved in the creative process. Especially as coaches and even if our clients are corporates, we want our brand to feel like us – you are your biggest USP!
Being involved in the creative process is key for getting across what you like and all of the other branding elements like message, values and voice.
How to not get stuck with your brand
The first way coaches can get stuck is procrasi-branding – basically branding as a form of procrastination. Branding is loads of fun, it’s creative and what’s not to love about playing with colours and fonts? But as much as branding is important there comes a time when it’s as good as it’s going to get and your efforts should focus on other business building activities that perhaps don’t feel as fun.
Sometimes we can get a little too inspired by others – this is a tricky one to balance out because of course we’re going to be influenced by others branding and designs we see on Pinterest etc. But it can be helpful to ask ourselves if what we’re seeing reflects who we are or if we’re simply trying to grab a piece of what we see from someone else who is successful.
When it comes to taking our brand and implementing it on various platforms, this is sometimes when we can get a little trigger happy and start adding in new fonts or over complicating things. Generally speaking, visually, we don’t want to be using loads of colours (6 max when I design to give some breadth for social media) and 3 fonts. If you find you’re reaching for new fonts when it comes to creating graphics for Instagram for example then it might be time to go back to your brand design and see if one of the fonts needs swapping out altogether.
When it comes to your brand it’s also good to know that it’s going to change and evolve. There used to be a general rule to review your branding every 2-3 years but it doesn’t always have to be a full rebrand, sometimes you can evolve your brand by adding a new colour or font into the mix or re-designing your logo.
Checking your brand is consistent
In my programme The Unboxed Guide to Niche and Messaging I have a module where we review every single element of our business and check that it’s saying what it is we want it to say – it’s a great exercise and can really help you check that what you’re communicating about yourself and your business makes sense.
I hope you’ve found this post helpful!
If you’d like to dive into branding further check out my free training Own Your Awesome, it will help you take a deeper dive into branding and really look at how you can put more of you into what you do!
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