One of the first things I do when I start working with new clients on their personal or business brand is to ask them to consider what mood or energy they consciously strive to bring to anything they do. In other words:
What is it that you can be counted on for in terms of your presence? Not what do you do (the description) or even the how (the mechanics) of what you do, but the way you do it.
You can think of this as the style, the energy, the mood you bring to any situation you are a part of. Clearly identifying and consciously practicing the inspirational aspect of your brand is key.
For example, one of my highest goals is to always bring creative inspiration to my clients. No matter what I'm doing -- be it a speech, a writing assignment, a consulting session or a strategic off-site -- I aim to leave my clients with creative inspiration about who they are and what they do.
A good deal of the marketing and branding I see out there today is sorely lacking in inspiration. The marketing spin may be an accurate description of the service or product being offered, but it misses the boat in terms of the essence of the brand.
So how do you breathe inspiration into your personal or business brand and marketing? To begin, let's look at a few meanings of the word and how your business might bring this into the way you express your brand in the world.
• To affect, guide or arouse by divine influence. When you think back on what your past and current clients say about you, what is their experience of how you have guided, influenced or affected them? What words and phrases have they used? Consider integrating these into your marketing message.
• To fill with enlivening or exalting emotion. While this may seem like a high bar to reach, in what ways are you going beyond simply providing a service or product to enliven your clients? Learn how to talk about this when you present what you do. Speaking to the higher ideals of your client (keep in mind Maslow's hierarchy of needs) helps to connect them to the bigger purpose of why they do what they do.
• To stimulate to action; motivate. In what ways does your business get others into action? A big part of my brand is that I help entrepreneurs and executives overcome inertia and make their personal brand, goals and objectives manifest in the world. How do you inspire others to go from talking, thinking and hoping to making something happen?
• To affect or touch. Are your clients and customers ever deeply touched by what you do? If so, how? What is the difference that you make personally in the lives of your clients? Think about what you generate emotionally with your products or services. Is it peace of mind, confidence, certainty, love, creativity?
• To stimulate energies or ideals. How do your clients or customers expand their thinking by working with you? The more you can articulate the specific ways in which you enhance and expand your customers' world by what you do, the bigger an impact your brand has.
Remember, in the end, people do business with people they like and trust. By breathing inspiration into what you bring to your clients, you elevate your brand from business as usual to a higher plane of purpose -- and that's a marketing message you can take to the bank.
Karen Leland is a best-selling author, marketing and branding consultant and president of Sterling Marketing Group where she helps businesses implement modern marketing, hone their business and personal brands, and create winning content. Apply to win a free 30 minute Lightning Strike Strategy Session by filling out the contact form here and letting Karen know why you think your brand needs some inspirational polish. For questions or comments, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.