What branding really means
See the episode transcript below divided with headers about the main topics we covered…
I am live today with Heather H. Bennett, and she is a branding expert, she’s going to tell you a little bit more about herself. But we are both in the Chicago area. And how there was one of my guest speakers in the zero to hero coach inner circle. So my clients got a real treat when they got to learn a little bit more about branding and how to aesthetically grab attention and be be memorable.
And I thought it would be great to have Heather on the podcast as well. So you could get a sneak peek into some of her tips. So Heather, why don’t you just introduce yourself first, and then we’ll go from there.
Thank you, Hailey. It’s so nice to have another conversation with you. I really enjoyed our conversations before. So I am a marketing strategist. I’ve been working with entrepreneurs and executives for about 20 years helping them with their personal professional and business brands. I help them connect the dots between their mission and their brands, and their bottom line, as well as the stakeholders and customers that they serve.
I am also an author of a book fun and filling fulfilling careers one question at a time, which reached bestseller list for Amazon. And I love helping people find the work they love. Love it. Awesome. So yeah, you have a wide variety of expertise.
How to develop your brand personality
And one of the things I would love to know, because I work with a lot of health and life coaches who are just starting out, what are some things to consider when you’re starting to determine who do you want to be as a brand? How do you start to get clear on that?
Maybe they have an idea about you know, the kinds of topics they want to coach on, or maybe their niche a little bit like I want to work with women who are 40 to 50 years old, you know, but how do you start to get clear on? First of all, what is a brand? And how do you start to get clear on what that’s gonna look like for an individual?
Well, specifically for those health and wellness coaches, so much of the work they do is very intimate, very personal, very based on the relationships they have with their clients. So branding wise, it really has to be about their personal brand and what they’re bringing to that relationship and to those interactions with the clients, I would start with understanding yourself. I mean, it really is there’s a lot of self awareness at the beginning of creating a business, you need to understand, you know, it’ll move for, you know, there’s other things to do down the line.
But if you start with knowing who you are, what you’ve brought to that point in your life into wanting to start that business, you know, what’s the passion behind what drove you to get the certification or to want to spend more time with those clients, and understand the skills, the talents.
The Importance of Self-Awareness
You know, the other areas that have gone through all of the experiences you’ve brought to that point, because there’s there’s a good chance that there were things you were doing in your past jobs, you know, going back looking at your career, that are also going to be the reason why you succeeded this one. So looking at all that. So start with yourself, like really do a nice deep dive and self awareness.
Nice. Yeah. And I think one of the things that I always ask, when it comes to putting out content, I always tell my clients to ask, What do I want people to feel? What do I want them to know? And. What do I want them to do? And. With your colors? And with your brand? I think it’s very similar?
How do you want people to feel? And and what do you want them to, like, think of you associated with right? So when you say, thinking about your own journey, and kind of what got you to where you are and how you’re forming those? How coaching is very personal. What would be some ways that they could get clear on like, what is my personal brand personality? Like? Do they just think about how they are in life?
Or is there something they should like, like exercise they should go through or something like that, that they could do to start to get more clear about that?
Yes. And so the first you start with a self awareness, and then to get more clarity as to what your personal brand and how it’s going to interact with this new job this this new role that you’re playing this new, you know, endeavor, because I it helps for these coaches to think of themselves as an entrepreneur.
They are starting their own businesses. So given that to get clarity, you start with yourself but then you also have to look at the market and see what else is out there and what makes you unique compared to everyone else. And then that final piece So I think if you’re thinking of like three basic things that have to get done for any health and wellness coach, that final piece is to understand the pain points.
And I know you’ve done a great job, I’ve been listening to your podcast, and you do a really good job explaining that specific area, like how your coaches need to focus on what the clients need, and what specifically they’re doing. So. So those would be that would be like the three ways I would do I would get clarity in terms of who, and you really touched on the most important thing is to focus on that niche. You can’t be all things to all people.
And if you can really like Hone exactly what area and who you’re approaching and who you’re talking to. Everything else is so much more clear. Definitely.
Yeah. Nice. So I hear what is the market doing? What is your niche? Want? Or want to see? And then what is your personality and kind of that balance of those three? And when you say, you know, something I wanted when I when I hear brand, I think of colors, logo? Maybe like the vibe itself? Like, are they funny? Or are they very serious? Is it very professional and formal? Or is it very casual? So like, tell me what or am I missing anything? Are there more things to a brand, like kind of define a little bit more about what they what somebody needs to think about when it comes to their brand components?
Yes, and it is all of the like what you just described those like visual, you know, quick things that you consider part of a brand. But it’s also goes to what you discussed earlier, the emotional, and like how you’re relating, and more specifically being consistent, is what can you authentically bring to every communication, every interaction with your potential or current clients that they will know is always there.
And that can be you know, that can be the visual stuff. But it could also be the wording, you know, the communications, the cadence of when you’re reaching them that you know, they need to be, they need to be confident that you’re going to be consistent, that they can rely on the way you’re interacting with them.
Love that. Yeah, like so when you’re reading something from them knowing it’s their voice. It’s like, oh, there’s there’s known. So again, being cracking jokes, or using slang or whatever it is. I love that. So like your copywriting style is really important. And then the other thing is, you mentioned something earlier. So. When it comes to consistency, I just posted a quote yesterday, it was like trust builds consistency, or consistency builds trust.
The #1 thing you need to build a trustworthy brand
So when you are showing up consistently in a certain way your audience knows what to expect. And there’s just this kind of like, Ah, okay, like, I know what I’m getting myself into. I know I love watching this person’s lives, like I know they do it in this structure, in you just your brain, our brains really like knowing what to expect, right?
So one of the things that I hear my clients struggle with sometimes is they might want to change their niche, or they might want to change the way they’re doing something early on in their business, because during that time, they’re testing different things. And they’re kind of elfs out. So how does somebody who maybe doesn’t have their brand totally locked down? Doesn’t have a like, a logo or anything yet?
And maybe their posts are looking different each post and not super formatted one way? How can they any tips or them as far as like, being able to put themselves out there before they have all of this figured out?
Yes, I okay. So most businesses should constantly be trying to improve right continuous improvement, continuous learning humans, we we need to always be learning always be continuously improving. So if you’re going to start out, be brave, and go for it and start out, but the key is exactly what you said it’s testing. And where I see a lot of entrepreneurs failing at this point, is because they don’t take the time to do the testing.
And then they don’t do that, like post mortem of whether or not it worked. They don’t take the time to use the analytics to understand what worked and what didn’t. And you know, it’s like, so like, it’s health and wellness, I can say this, it’s like a good skincare routine. If you don’t stick to it for at least a few weeks to a few months.
You’re never going to know if it’s going to work. So the same applies towards advertising brand communication, online social media, if you don’t stick to it for a certain amount of time to build a little bit of that consistency. So you can see if that versions working. You’re never going to know if it or not.
So that would be my thing is take the time to really do the testing. And it’s okay to do testing, testing means that you try one thing, do that for a while, take down, you know whether it’s working or not, then you try another thing and do that for a while, and then compare the two. So that’s what I would advise. Yeah, I think it’s like,
we need to embrace that part of the journey. I think so many people are like, but I just wanted to be perfect the first time around, and not get around that you have to do it, you have to have some things be changed and look weird, and transition and all the things. And I think early, the earlier, you can start to do that when you do have a smaller audience, and you are still building up, the better because it’s one thing when you’re Kim Kardashian, and all of a sudden, you decide to just do things completely differently.
It’s another thing to be new, and you don’t have a lot of followers, and you don’t have a lot of people used to what you’re doing. So it’s more flexible at that time, like people aren’t going to be like what, like I’ve known you for so long. And now, you know you’re doing this. So I think that’s a really good tip. And what are some branding don’ts or no nose or things that you see out there that that’s just not good for business?
I think the most important thing is not listening. If you’re not listening to your customer, or your your claim this case, your clients, you’re missing the boat big time. If, because they’ll tell you what they want. They’ll tell you what they need. And if you’re not getting enough information, that means you need to go to them and ask them and figure out like, what do you need, you know, that’s, I think one of the podcasts I was listening to you were mentioning, doing polling, and and really, you know, trying to elicit that discussion in that conversation with your customer. If you don’t listen, you really are not going to be able to give them what they need. So that would be where I would start to prevent failure failure in in a business.
Okay. Yeah, I totally agree. And I think the other thing is, having systems set up so that you’re constantly getting that feedback, like one of the things that I the reason why I never run out of content ideas is because constantly I’m on Discovery calls with my ideal client hearing what they’re struggling with, or when people join my Facebook group, they fill out some pending member questions where they say, what’s their goal, or what’s their struggle, so I constantly know what they need to hear what they want, Facebook Lives about, you know, stuff like that.
And I think the other so if you build that into your business, like you maybe have in your email series, like a question where people can reply and say what they’re struggling with, or you do a poll once a week on Instagram, or whatever, just like building it into your routine, could be a really good way to keep tabs on what your audience needs and things like that. So what are some ways that we can stand out with our brand?
How to make sure your brand is authentic
Because I think a lot of times two people think, Oh, well, I have to, you know, my brand has to be like this either. Just super outlandish and novel and not like anyone else. And sometimes that holds us back. Because we’re like, well, I don’t think I’m special. I don’t think this is special enough. So how do we kind of help ourselves stand out? And what would you say to that?
Um, so back definitely to the whole consistency thing, just by being consistent, visually, and with messaging and with cadence and time, and how you’re reaching out and connecting, and listening to your customer. Just having that consistency will automatically make you stand out. And then you know, second, you were talking about really the mindset and like really pushing back that imposter syndrome. And, you know, because it is a little nerve wracking to put yourself out there, especially when it’s a new business or you’re going into a new area. One of the best ways to combat that is to be authentic, is to really recognize that you don’t need to be someone else. And that your your strength and your power in terms of standing out will come from being your authentic self, and sharing that.
I love that. Yeah, two points that are really good. It’s just being consistent. And staying the course is what helps you stand out. That’s so true. And then the other thing you just said was, what was it the last statement you just said? Oh my gosh, it’s really my I’m losing it.
It was just just being authentic, authentic. Okay. Yeah. Right.
So I think oftentimes, we think our brand needs to be fancy and, you know, like really different than who we are. And I think for the coaching industry in particular, it actually is should be more like who you are because it is a personal brand. And you do want to establish like, a certain expectation or a certain, you know, you probably have words in mind of how you want people to feel when they look at your brand.
But if you can’t upkeep, I think what you’re saying is like if you can’t upkeep your brand message and how you show up, and then your videos and your writing and all that, and there’s like this disconnect between how your website looks, and then how you show up in real life, that can be maybe costing your brand a little bit or a problem, right. So, um, one of the things that I would love to know from you is when somebody like you have a book that has some questions in it, I think, right. Okay. And what’s the book called, again?
It’s fun and fulfilling careers one question at a time.
Okay. And it’s helping people with their what is their brand. But yeah, it’s really helping them connect their personal brand to, if they’re doing a career transition, or trying to advance in their career, and then also for entrepreneurs, for people starting new businesses, it really helps them get a hold of what their personal brand is. And the reason why the second half of the title is one question at a time, is because this is a very in depth process. It takes time.
One of the things that my clients have told me they really like about my approach to this is that I break it down into these easy to do segments. So these easy to do tasks and exercises, so that it’s not overwhelming, and that you can go through it, you know, in your own time. And, and really get to understand you and your brand and how it relates to your business and to your end user and customer. Without it just being overwhelming all at once. So, yeah,
I love it. Well, is there any questions or an exercise or something you can take from the book, maybe share, like three questions from the book, or exercise from the book that our audience could use or look into.
One of the ones I do normally at the very beginning of working with a client is and I think this applies to, to the people you work with the health and wellness coaches is is getting to understand your passion, and why you’re doing you want to do the work you’re doing. So we start with discussing like what they enjoyed when they were younger, when they were children, when they were kids, teens, when they had the luxury of not having to worry about paying taxes and mortgages and all the things that like a business, you have to eventually get to, you know, to be profitable.
But. If you go back before that, and really think about how you were choosing to spend your time. Whether that’s activities or exercises, or what you read what you did, what video games you played with toys you played with, who you hung out with, and how you chose the friends to be with, you start to understand what’s important to you, and what’s at the core of your passion.
And by understanding that, you’ll be able to see why you’re probably getting into, you know, the health and wellness sector that you’re getting into now and what and why that’s important to you, once you understand that it’s so much easier to be authentic about why you’re doing this and to be passionate in your communication and in the work you do with your clients.
I love that. Yeah. I have a section two in my program called what is your why. And. We do it at the beginning. Because if you’re going to have something that’s carrying you, you got to have something that’s carrying you through when things get hard. Or when there’s obstacles. Or you have to learn a new tech skill you don’t want to learn. And. You need to apply, but you’re like, but I have to learn this so that I can get my mission out there. I can get my word out there. Right.
So. We do walk through a little bit of that. But. I love the idea of thinking about when you’re a kid and what you liked. And. You’ll notice common themes. Like I know, for me, I love like, I would always play teacher. And. I would like, I loved teaching. And. I loved, like showing examples. And. Like. You know. Just having that relationship. And. So. That kind of relates to what I do today. Or like I love performing. I love talking to people.
So. You know. Again. Really stimulated today. So I’m really good tips there. And what would you say is something you’d recommend to a new coach when they’re like freaking out? Like they’re like, Okay, I got to figure out my logo. I got to figure out my brand colors. I just don’t know what to pick. Maybe they’re feeling a little indecisive. Maybe they’re feeling a little lost. What advice would you give to them?
Well. Specifically. For that example. The brand color is to look around you look at the clothes you like wearing. The colors you have in your environment. The ones you choose to have in your home. Grab, you know, magazines, or you know, look at Pinterest boards of places you like to travel. Or things you like to do. And start seeing if there’s textures and colors, and images that you’re naturally drawn to.
So I mean, we’re lucky we have, it’s so easy for us to just get online and go like peruse, you know, YouTube or Pinterest or Instagram. You know, Instagram is great too. Because if you look at a bunch of different Instagrams, they have like the chat, what I call the checkerboard, where you’ve got those nine, basically nine posts that show up at once, when you look at someone’s profile, see which ones resonate with you.
Because that will help guide you to what you should be choosing. And then you can layer on the top of that the psychology behind color, and understanding what different colors mean, you know, based on the culture and the people that you’re trying to reach, and layer that on top of it. So, you know, doing a little bit of research and giving yourself some time, I always recommend that people spend, like one of the first homework assignments I normally give most of my clients is to take a 10 minute walk this week.
And whether that’s because they’ve you know, just neglected, you know, exercising, which we all need. Or if it’s something where they’re having that process where they’re really undergoing a lot of angst in terms of decision making. Take a 10 minute walk, just let your mind you know, ruminate on what’s going on, let it flow look around you react. And sometimes having that space to open up your mind will bring in some of the clarity as to what colors or logos or what direction you should go in in terms of your taglines even love it. Yes, I believe in that so much. I’ve solved problems on my walks in the sauna or in my journal. Like I have a problem. I’m going on a walk. I did did that this morning.
I was in the pool swimming. And like one of the businesses I run I literally was thinking about how am I going to solve this? How many saw this and it completely new way to find a solution came into mind.
I was like, yes. All right, let’s go. I love that. Actually, yesterday, I was trying to figure out why I have these old forms on my website that aren’t working anymore. And for some reason my brain thought the only way to solve it was to fix the forms and sync them with my email CRM. But then I like wrote down the problems and the things I needed to fix. And I put it on paper.
And then I was like, wait, why wouldn’t I just remove the forms and embed directly from my CRM system? Like why was I thinking that, but it is so true. Like when you take a step back, you’re able to actually digest the situation. And I think the other thing is, you eventually you just have to come to a decision. I think there’s so much pressure to make the right decision and my colors, or you know, is this gonna resonate with everybody and or, you know, whatever.
And I think at some point, you just have to decide and make the best possible decision that you could have made. So, one other thing I wanted to ask you is when you’re deciding, like your colors, your tagline, etc. Can you tell us a little more about colors and like fonts and what they mean? Like, for example, red means, you know, bold and sporty or is there anything. Tell us more about the psychology? Yeah, and
I’m trying to think specifically for like health and wellness. Because that is such a broad spectrum, there’s a very big difference between somebody who’s like a high intensity trainer, versus a meditation or yoga coach. So you think about what each of those is trying to accomplish a high, you know, impact intensity, you know, personal trainer is trying to get you to burn calories and use your muscles properly and do that.
And it’s really like needs to be high energy, think of the music even that goes behind something like that. So that would be very energetic, happy, positive colors. So we’re talking like orange, maybe a little bit of yellow, because yellow is like an attention getter. Red, also very powerful. But then you go the other end of the spectrum where you’re working with someone who’s health and wellness that may be more focused on meditation, or yoga or even like essential oils and using those.
So thinking about that, that needs to be a more inward contemplative feel. For that person, it’s going to be those softer colors, the pastels, something calming or something very rich and deep, like a dark plum, or deep midnight blue, or something that’s really almost invoking that like, coming into your inner person and really more of that inner work.
So that that would be like some examples for I love it are great tips. Now for fonts, I see a lot of my clients wanting to use cursive fonts that are hard to read. And yeah, I have very strong opinions on that.
What are your thoughts on that? Okay, if people cannot read what you’re writing that it’s useless. So, um, every, okay, so every brand should have a cursive font that they can go to, if needed. Okay, so that’s always necessary. But they should also have a very clear, easy to read font for basic communication. Now, where the cursive font can kind of interject, is what you talked about the logo, a logo could have a cursive font in it, because it’s functioning as like a visual entity.
So that’s probably the one area I would say you could get away with a cursive font that you wouldn’t be as concerned with them being able to read it. But for most of the communication, I mean, don’t make people’s life or you want them to make a decision to hire you to spend money on what you’re doing. If they can’t read what you’re asking or what the call to action is. They’re never going to do it. spend that money. Yeah, great point.
Yeah, my logo is actually just my name. And it’s hickory nuts. I didn’t even think about that’s an excellent example of why it’s okay to do a cursive font there. Yeah, but it’s even even my cursive font is not like a hard one. It’s like hickory jackets, kind of like half cursive half knot. And I don’t use it, I actually purposely barely ever use it, I use the easy ones. Because you’re right, you don’t want to make this hard. And I also think you got to think about your ideal clients. And like, my, some of my ideal clients are older ladies, not not like not in bad way.
But like over 40, you know, and they want to start their business as a coach, health coach or something. And I know firsthand that they need a little bit bigger fight sometimes because they got the readers cater to that, like, Okay, we’re gonna make it a little bigger. And that’s all right, right. So keeping in mind who the reader is to, is also important. So really good tips today, Heather, is there anything else you’d say to a coach who wants to start building their brand, but you know, just doesn’t know where to start? Or maybe, you know, when one piece of advice you want to leave them with?
I think the best thing I could tell them is to reach out to their network, talk to their friends, the people who know them best. And, and be willing to listen to a live advice, don’t be afraid to go to a mentor or to approach someone to be a mentor. Because they’ve been there before. And most of the time, they are more than delighted to help you on your path.
I love it. Yeah. Yeah. And one thing, actually too, we could leave on with is get three adjectives that your people would describe you by like, a family. I think I did this once. And it was very, very interesting just to be because sometimes we think we’re a certain way, but other people see us very differently. So it would be a good exercise to maybe see. I’m wonder like, what kind of adjectives are they? Is it like, warm, caring? Or is it more like, you know, educational, logical, like, it would just be very interesting to get that feedback from your audience. So where can everybody connect with you, Heather and get your book and all the things.
A good place to start would be my website, which is Heather H bennett.com. Or you can find me on LinkedIn. I’m at Twitter at Creative brand ch. So easy to find me there. But we’re creativebrandcoach.net.
Awesome. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming today. And I love that you have a book on Amazon and congrats on your best seller, everybody. Can you check it out there? Right, and I’ll talk to you soon.
Alright. Thanks so much, Hailey. Thanks.
About Heather H. Bennett
Heather Bennett is a marketing strategist and personal brand consultant that helps people find and enjoy the work they love by simplifying their social media. She also assists them with clearly defining their product/service lines and helping them find ways to reach their ideal customer.
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You can find Heather H. Bennett on her website here.