The other day I was sitting with a colleague over coffee and it never fails. They want to drill me like an oil field for more and more marketing advice. It is seriously why I am considering coaching. But I love this girl so much and I was dying to dig into her brand. And she asked. So almost two hours later, I told her that I was turning this conversation into a blog post — tomorrow — while it was still fresh in my mind.

She was looking for honesty. We pulled up my laptop, which I now carry everywhere (I never know when a social media 911 will happen!). Her branding is adorable, first thing I notice. I would love it… if I didn’t know her. It’s basically what everyone else is doing. Not cookie-cutter, but you’ve definitely seen this before. It simply doesn’t capture who she is and the problem she is trying to solve for her customer.

We love to look at other successful entrepreneurs and build on top of their brand, not ours. I am a big believer in authenticity because when we are in our Higher Self, we thrive. We have to be what we were meant to do. So the important take-away is to absolutely STOP looking at what other people are doing when it comes to setting up your business. It doesn’t matter when it comes to what you do.

We identified her branding (don’t worry, she wants an invoice for this) and selected colors that speak to her business, her persona and her line of work. We nailed it. We actually found a font that is so close to her iconic penmanship — let’s just say that you can totally tell that she went to private school!

Next on to her message. The subtitle was generic and needed a powerful punch. It took some time but we grinded it out after a little wall staring and guessing.

About me. Blah. Blah. Blech. To the point… make “about me” about the customer. What can you do for the customer? If it’s about you. What is it about you that can help the customer? Period. We love that you were a figure skater in your teens — very cool. But what can you take about that and use to help the customer? We made a terrific analogy about figure skating and business precision and boom!

All of the widgets. The moving widgets on her website that are not aligned with her business? That? I asked her who her ideal customer is. No answer. If she connects her website to her social media, they must be singing the same tune. In harmony. She’s got some homework. Her LinkedIn, which was connected to her entrepreneur website, was reflective of her former corporate position. No bueno.

The conversation went further but the bottom line was powerful. Once the ideal customer has been identified, not just shooting targets in every direction hoping for customers. She must keep it laser focused and crystal clear. Make all of the efforts continue to move in the same direction. Your brand and your message need to be the same. Take those and weave it into the fabric of your overall vision and you’re gold. I am so excited for her! xo

Jane Grismer develops strategic brand vehicles infused with compelling content and engaging graphics.

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