This is the first article in a series I’m calling Journey to Brand Clarity. Over the coming weeks, I’ll be explaining each part of the Brand Discovery process in full detail. If you’ve been wanting to get serious about defining your brand, you’ll definitely want to follow along. Each installment will come with action steps you can work on during the week and you can count on a handful of worksheets along the way too.
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The first step in your journey to brand clarity is answering a seemingly simple question: what do you do? It may seem odd to spend a full week on such a basic question, but so many small business owners struggle to define what they really do. We are each a complex person with lots of interests and passions, and we’re naturally tempted to bring it all into our work. What we end up with is Instagram bios that read, “Yoga instructor, photographer, event planner, and crafter.” That’s fine for your personal social media accounts, but it’s not gonna work for your business. So, the first step toward brand clarity is sifting through that fog and focusing in on what you do and why it matters.
The best place to start is somewhere intimately familiar: your story. Most natural-minded businesses are born out of a personal journey or discovery. A frazzled stressed out mom discovers the calming effects of yoga. A chronically ill fast food junkie finds the healing power of good nutrition. Then, our desire to share that life-changing discovery with others leads us to start a business.
What’s your story? Write it down! How did you get here? What were you struggling with that lead your to what’s now your industry? How did it change your life? Having your personal journey down on paper makes it easier to identify the passion behind your business and narrow your focus in. Later on, it will help you identify the right audience, peers, and competition and serve as a guide for the rest of your brand.
Once you’ve written your story down, it should feel easier to point out what you do. There’s something about writing that helps us almost automatically narrow our focus. Resist the urge to get distracted from this focus by trying to somehow add in your love for photography or growing interest in knitting. You’re a wonderfully well-rounded person, but your business won’t benefit from the inevitable split focus that creeps in when you try to do too many things at once. Don’t chase the shiny objects!
Instead, run the other way and try to get as specific as you can. If you teach yoga, do you specialize in a specific style? If you’re a nutritionist, what type of diet changes do you tend to recommend? Getting specific can be a little scary because it means automatically saying no to a lot of things.But saying no to the things that aren’t a good fit for you frees you to say yes to the things that fill your heart.
At this point, you should be able to confidently say, “I am Laura and I teach restorative yoga” (with your own details instead, of course). That’s a long way from that confusing Instagram bio we started with, but now it’s kinda boring and doesn’t tell a full or compelling story. The final step is to return to your story and tap into the passion that led you to start your business. What makes what you offer important? How do you add value to people’s lives?
Getting clear about the value you offer should bring you clearer sense of purpose and help you identify the reason behind your business. The why behind your business is what will attract your audience and make them feel a connection with you. Once you have clarity about your why, you can take your bio from “I am Laura and I teach restorative yoga” to “I am Laura and I help busy mamas find peace and balance through restorative yoga.” And that’s something that will resonate with your audience.
Your action steps for the week:
- Write your story
- Narrow in on what you do. I am __________________ and I ____________________.
- Define your why. What makes your business important?
- Put it all together. I am __________________ and I ____________________ through _____________________.