Brand messaging coach, copywriter, ferocious ice cream eater (not necessarily in that order...)
I'm here to help talented female coaches, consultants, & subject matter experts to roar about what they do with unwavering confidence.
In today’s episode I share some questions that are a great starting place if you’re finding it hard to figure out what makes you different to others in your industry.
CONNECT WITH ME
On Instagram @hayleymaxwellwrites
PEOPLE AND RESOURCES MENTIONED
Peep Laja, CXL: https://cxl.com
Well hello my friend and welcome to episode 13 of the Fierce Impact podcast. How are you doing? I hope all is well in your world and wherever you are, whatever you’re doing at this moment – I so appreciate you hanging out with me.
Today I’m continuing the theme of the past couple of episodes, looking at how you can create a brand that stands out from the crowd.
Because I don’t know about you, but feel like the message “stand out from the crowd” has become a buzzword in the marketing industry, and to be honest it drives me slightly wild because it’s a really important message.
BUT I see so many posts online about the need to stand out – but yet so few of these posts actually provide any real advice or examples for small service based business owners like you and I, on how to actually go about standing out from the crowd.
And if you google something like “brands that stand out” – you’ll get the typical big name product based brands like Nike, Apple, Coca Cola, – being referenced in articles about standing out from the crowd.
And while I absolutely believe we can learn lessons from these big brands that can be translated to our own brands, we also have some very big differences in terms of budgets and resources available to us.
So that means we have to be prepared to get scrappy. To look within, to think outside the box, and ask ourselves as part of our brand and messaging strategy – what am I going to actively do to make sure that I stand out from the crowd.
The online space is a hella busy place these days. There’s over 200 million businesses on Instagram alone. Which means there’s a lot of noise.
So my belief is we need to cultivate our “stand out” factor from the inside – out.
We can’t just leave it to chance.
There’s a quote I love from Peep Laja, who’s the founder of CXL, and he says:
“What stands out gets picked.”Peep Laja, Founder CXL
And it’s true.
We have to make it as easy as possible for people to remember us.
So today I want to share some questions I ask my clients when I help them to develop their messaging strategy and copy. These questions are all designed to help my clients explore what makes them different.
And my belief is that when you’re looking to differentiate your brand you have to first start with internal reflection.
Because when your point of difference and the message that you’re sharing is rooted in who you truly are, it makes a massive difference in your ability to stand out. It will help your confidence and courage to grow, which in turn helps you to stand out.
There are 5 Ps that I use to guide some of my questioning:
So if you’re struggling to figure out how to differentiate yourself, this is great place to start.
Ok, let’s jump in with the first P.
You have to know what your purpose is.
And I’m talking your purpose beyond covering your basic needs like paying your bills, keeping a roof over your head etc…
Your purpose beyond making a profit.
I’m talking about why you do the work you do?
Why have you chosen to build a business around the work you are doing?
Put simply – why do you give a shit about doing this work?
Why is it important to you? To the people you work with? To society, the world at large?
And we have to be careful not to confuse our purpose with our mission.
Your purpose is, broadly speaking, your why.
Your mission is your “how.”
My purpose for example is: “Empowering women in business to show up with clarity, confidence, and courage.”
Note there is nothing there about copywriting or messaging, or brand strategy. Because that is the “how.”
A purpose that one of my clients has is to: inspire people to grow.
For another client, her purpose is creating: generational change among women.
So, what is your core purpose?
Spend some time working through your why, because this becomes a powerful part fo your brand differentiation story.
The 2nd P is for Perspectives.
What are YOUR perspectives?
So here you’re looking for the talking points and perspectives relevant to what you do that can position you as a thought leader.
When you look back at all the notes you’ve made on this point, what are the unique and/or bold perspectives that others in your industry aren’t talking about?
Or, what alternative perspectives or rich narrative can you add to current conversations that others are having?
What are the beliefs you have that you know will make people say: “thank god someone’s finally talking about this.”
Because when you start sharing perspectives you really believe in, you’ll find you start to attract people to you who resonate with that perspective.
For example, I’ve attracted clients because of thoughts and perspectives I’ve added to other people’s Instagram posts. I wasn’t adding the comment to get clients, but people have read those comments and it has resonated with them, leading them to me.
Because remember, people are always looking to work with people who share similar values and perspectives. So we need to let people know what our perspectives are.
We need to stop watering down our perspectives and beliefs because we’re scared of what people might say or think about us.
I find that one of the biggest barriers people have about sharing their perspectives, isn’t necessarily what potential clients might think – many of us are actually worried about what our industry peers, family or friends might think, or what complete strangers on the internet might think (and I know for sure that I struggled with this in the past and
honestly still do on occasion.)
So when you’re noting down your perspectives and beliefs, also take note of what worries, concerns, fears are coming up for you.
Ask yourself if it is just your brain trying to keep you safe, in your comfort zone, or is there a true reason why you shouldn’t share a specific belief?
The next p is perception.
What is the perception you want people to have of you?
When it comes to your brand, how do you want people to perceive you?
People will form a perception – the thoughts, feelings, attitude they have towards your brand based on every interaction they have with you.
So you can either intentionally curate your brand perception to the best of your ability, or you can leave it to chance.
And I know which I’d prefer.
That’s why it’s important to clarify how you want people to think and feel about your brand.
Because that way you are able to create an experience that supports the perception you would like to create.
This definitely takes time, it’s not an overnight fix, it takes time to build the perception and reputation you want to achieve in the minds of your audience.
Understanding how you want to be perceived also affects your brand positioning strategy – which is a whole episode in it’s own right, so keep ears open for that one coming up…
So for now, I want you to ask yourself, how do you want to be perceived by your audience? Your clients?
Then think about the various touchpoints that people have with your brand. What are you doing to make sure that each touchpoint creates an experience that evokes the feeling and/or attitude you want people to have about your brand?
So, if you want people to regard your brand as a fun brand – what are you doing to infuse fun, joy, and delight into the different touchpoints? Will you use fun copy? Playful memes? Send fun gifts? Ask fun questions? Add humour into your social media strategy?
So you can see how focusing on the perception you want people to have of your brand can help you to stand out:
The next P is personality
What is YOUR personality
One of our greatest points of difference as a personal brand, solo/small business owner is our brand personality. Because as the face of your brand your personality inevitably becomes your brand personality.
But we can still be conscious about what aspects of our own personality we want to emphasise. What elements we want to turn up the heat on.
So standing out from the crowd doesn’t mean putting on a personality. It doesn’t mean trying to come across as extraverted if you are an introvert. It doesn’t mean trying to be something you’re not.
It simply means harnessing your unique personality strengths and leaning into them unapologetically.
So think about what your personality attributes are – ask your closest friends and family to describe your personality. Ask your clients what part of your personality attracted them to you. Then list the key personality attributes.
Then I want you to answer the following (fun) questions as a way to shape up your
I know these questions might seem a little kooky, but what we’re trying to do here is to create a full picture of your brand personality.
We’re trying to come at it from different angles.
And the final P…
What is YOUR prowess?
What are your personal and professional strengths?
From a personal perspective:
What life experiences have you been through that impact the way you think about and approach the work you do and the relationships you have with your clients? How do these positively affect how you work? How do they give depth to your work?
What hobbies or interests do you have that you draw from from (knowingly or unknowingly) in your business?
For example has a hobby taught you greater patience or empathy that when you think about it you bring those traits into your business without maybe realising it?
Or is there simply an interest that you are fanatical about, that brings you great joy that you can weave into your brand?
If you were to ask those closest to you about your strengths, what would they say your core personal strengths are? If you don’t know – ask!
The same with professional strengths – ask your best clients, your business coach, your business besties what they see your professional/business strengths as.
What professional qualifications, skills, and experience do you have? How does the knowledge and skills you have gathered over the years, even if or when you worked in a different industry, or students jobs, how does the variety of knowledge and skills you have gained influence the way you work?
What is your unique mix of professional strengths that you have developed? How do you approach business, client relationships, your work with clients because of this unique mix?
So, those were the 5 Ps.
As I say, if you’re finding it difficult to figure out what makes you different use these questions as a starting point.
They are all designed to get you thinking in depth about what makes you, YOU. So that you can then draw out some of your unique differences to begin applying them to your wider brand and messaging strategy.
Well my friend, that’s it for todays episode.
If you have any feedback at all about this episode please feel free to send me a DM via Instagram @hayley maxwellwrites or leave me a review. Your feedback is important to me because I want to make this show as interesting and useful to you as possible.
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Until next time, go forth and be fierce.