Building an Effective and Memorable Brand as a Coach
Branding is a critical component in marketing your coaching business – it shapes your audience’s perceptions of who you are as a coach. An effective and memorable brand is one where your target audience perceives your coaching business exactly how you wish it to be perceived. This takes intentionality, strategy and honoring your signature strengths and brilliance as a coach. When executed masterfully, your coaching business’ brand will resonate on an emotional level with your target audience, so much so that they are drawn to you and your offerings and become advocates for your brand.
I’ve created the acronym R.E.A.D.Y. as a guide to ensure that the brand you design for your coaching business is well–positioned for success.
Many coaches think their brand is all about social media presence and website design. While these are certainly important aspects of marketing and branding, the heart of your brand should be centered around your audience’s needs and what you bring to the table to meet those needs. This involves understanding your target clients with a specificity that enables you to know:
- What their struggles are.
- How those struggles make them feel.
- How your coaching services address those struggles tangibly and emotionally.
Your brand should be built on the solid foundation of your business’ values so that the impression you create in your target audience’s mind is indelible. And regardless of what trends come and go, your brand identity must have a relevancy that stands the test of time. A coaching brand that establishes a strong persona – and maintains it consistently over time – develops credibility among its competitors and trust among its clients, positioning it to stand out memorably.
Authenticity is one of the hallmarks of a stellar brand. The main goal of branding your coaching business is to market your services to your ideal clients in a way that addresses their challenges while highlighting how you specifically are equipped to solve them. This feat must be accomplished in an authentic way for it to resonate.
Authenticity matters particularly when you are crafting your brand’s personality. This is how your brand expresses its vibe, energy, persona and other key attributes that reinforce its distinctiveness. These attributes are largely communicated through your logo, website, photos and messaging. For example, a coach targeting “Mompreneurs” will connect more powerfully with that audience by speaking their language, and demonstrating that their struggles are intimately understood, which casts a realistic vision of how their coaching equips them to launch their business. This credibility translates to a greater likelihood that the coach will connect emotionally with their target audience, gaining their trust and business.
A well-differentiated brand stands out, leaving a memorable, positive impression that makes customers want to engage with it repeatedly. Your differentiation as a coach is an important component of your brand strategy as it showcases why a client would want to do business with you instead of anyone else.
For example, if you are targeting professionals, you’ll want to niche down much further to differentiate yourself from other coaches targeting professionals. If you have experience in the legal field, for example, you can use that to differentiate yourself by targeting legal professionals. You can niche down even further by targeting “burnt out” legal professionals. The key is to leverage the salient aspects of your experience, interests, passions and skills and demonstrate how you bring them to your coaching business. Doing so will make your coaching practice stand out by speaking directly to what you have to offer your targeted clients.
When you offer a good service, you generate customers. But if you build a powerful, memorable brand, you generate advocates who not only become loyal customers, but also act as champions for you and your business. This is the “Yes Factor” that every brand craves because with advocates, you build a community of supporters who also participate in growing your business by driving clients to you.
The new year is an opportune time to re-examine or develop your coaching brand. When I help coaches with their branding, I start with their “why” and help them clarify their key points of differentiation. The richness of words and associations that emerge from these sessions are then used as focal points when fleshing out the rest of the brand identity—the look, feel, personality, tone, voice, colors, etc. This is not an overnight process nor a superficial one. It takes intentionality, clarity and strategy. But when you lay a strong foundation for your brand, you are positioned to craft one that is memorable and impactful for your target audience — one with a clear, relevant purpose, a distinct visual identity and one that engenders trust and loyalty.