I may be a yoga teacher, but there’s no denying – I’m a brand groupie. Fonts are stories, colours are feelings, mood boards are energies – and when it all ties together…yes please. I’ll eat that vibe for breakfast any day.
But as fun as playing with design is – we all know that it takes more than a logo and a colour board to be a “brand.”
Add to that the fact that as a wellness expert – you are your brand. And somehow, that makes it even harder, not easier. If you’ve ever had to do the “elevator pitch” exercise, you know – there are a thousand rabbit holes you can go down to explain what you do and who you are.
Maybe it’s because we’re more than just one “thing.” Because we have so many angles and facets and sides to us. Or maybe it’s because we’re constantly evolving. Maybe it’s because really – how can you quantify and qualify a whole human purpose into just one sentence?
I recently went through a full brand refresh. It was long overdue, but I’d been procrastinating for so long because I felt overwhelmed.
Do you start by choosing a colour swatch? Do you start by creating a an audience persona? What’s a brand tone of voice? Squarespace or Showit for a website? Do you need a website, anyway? Isn’t instagram enough? And, speaking of Instagram – what’s a bio and why do I need one?
All those questions are well and good – but whether you choose to work with a designer or DIY on your own brand suite – my one recommendation is that you start at the heart of it all: YOUR VALUES.
I know, I know, it’s more exciting to look at typefaces and colour swatches than it is to sit down and make a list of what you stand for. But – especially for wellness experts and yoga teachers – knowing what you stand for is essential.
So essential, in fact, that my designer included this quote in her first presentation to me:
“Standout brands balance newness and surprise with a feeling of deep, intimate connection, It never seems like they’re trying to sell you something…instead, it feels that you’re in a relationship based on a shared set of values. “
Your values do more than just determine the look and feel of your brand. I might be pushing the envelope here – but I believe knowing your values are even more important than knowing who your customer is. Your values are what help you define your North Star, your mission, your big dream. When you can clarify that, the rest of the dominos can start to fall into place: your tone of voice, your brand persona, your chosen platforms to work with.
What’s really important to you, as a human? While your own values and your brand values will definitely have overlap, it’s good to be clear on what you uncompromisingly do (or don’t) stand for. For example: One of my personal values is freedom – it’s what made me leave home at 15 and it’s what has kept me from ever working in an office job. In my brand, that value translates to adventure – the decision to always be open to new ideas, new possibilities, new ways of transformation – to explore multiple lifetimes in the span of one.
Or if you are your brand: what’s your story?Stories are what give our brands heart and depth. They take it from being just another option to the only one that feels right. Stories are what make us human, and they are what makes us feel connected rather than alone.
The million dollar why. What impact do you want to leave on the world? If you’re in the wellness business – I’m pretty sure it’s not solely to make big bucks. Not that there’s anything wrong with that at all – but logically speaking, there are often faster ways to make money than to be a yoga teacher or a wellness coach. So why are you here? What drew you in to starting your brand? How do you want to heal?
Don’t be afraid to catch feels. In fact – look for them. If someone couldn’t remember what you looked like, what your name was or even what you did – how would you want them to feel? What energy, what vibe, what mood do you want as your signature scent?
Have you ever climbed a mountain and drunk water from a stream at the top? If you have, you’ll know – the hardest earned rewards always taste the sweetest. When you think of things that are really meaningful to you, chances are you’ll find direct pathways to things that have been really f£@king painful. Mine those experiences. They are your USP.
BREVITY OVER BRAVADO. Everyone wants world peace and equality for all. But what are you actively trying to impart to the world? Keep whittling down until you have 4-5 values left that underpin everything you do, and leave the rest at the door: they’re meant for someone else.
Remember: your values are your signposts. They are the arrows that point you forward towards your North Star. They’re the roots of your tree, the base of your building: and if you take the time to clarify them in your mind – it will allow you to show up as your most authentic self so you can impact the world exactly how you were meant to.