I’ve seen some branding mistakes in my time, but the biggest and most common is copying what your competitors are doing.
As a health coach, if you copy your competitors you’re never going to get ahead of them. And there’s a lot of competition to get ahead of. But, you must forge your own path and find your uniqueness.
Being unique is what differentiates you from other brands and builds loyalty. Lots of brands offer the same services and products, but people choose brands that stand out.
Being unique is difficult when everyone around you is trying to do the same thing, and that’s not even the tricky part! Most branding mistakes stem from the impression that being unique is enough!
Being unique is a must, BUT it should be in a way that is relevant to your target audience and that creates an advantage over your competitors.
In short, branding is tough! In the continuous search for the competitive advantage, you might inadvertently kill your uniqueness by making these other common branding mistakes:
#1 Trying to fit the norm
There is not a single way to be a health coach. There is no normal, so don’t try to do things the ‘normal way.’
Instead, find what makes you an original: Find your unique value proposition! It’s the single most important part of your whole branding message!
Your brand’s value proposition tells people they should do business with you and not your competitors – it’s what sets you apart from them.
Remember: Your value proposition is also a promise to your customers, so make sure you can deliver!
Unfortunately, oftentimes the value proposition ends up being a meaningless slogan or buzzword that can be applied to any other health coach.
To be truly original, you must go further: don’t just think about what sets you apart from other health coaches, but also get inside your ideal customer’s head!
Learn what they want, how you solve their issues, and what motivates them to buy some products over others. If you already have clients, think about why they stick with you instead of your competitors.
Simply stating “Because I’m better” doesn’t really answer the question why. The best approach: ask your customers the problems they need fixing!
#2 Not understanding brand positioning
Your value proposition and brand positioning are closely intertwined, and your competitors are the deciding factor here.
Not keeping a close eye on your competitors is among many common branding mistakes. When was the last time you took a peek at them?
You might not find value in using them as templates for your brand, but what they are doing influences the success of your brand heavily, so analyse them in-depth!
- What services are they offering?
- What marketing strategies are they employing?
- How active are they on social media?
- What topics are they publishing on their blog?
- Do they have guest appearances?
- Are they hosting events?
There’s a TON of things you can find out about them, and for each of those things, you want to determine:
- What are they doing well?
- What aren’t they doing well?
- What aren’t they doing at all?
Oftentimes, in their quest to be unique, they will start “borrowing” tactics from each other to try and win the audience over. You can easily identify that when you find similar patterns, strategies, and ultimately, the same strengths and weaknesses in different competitors.
This gives you the opportunity to differentiate yourself.
Identify a weakness – for example, a segment that has been ignored and left behind. Can you provide a solution? If so, it gives you the opportunity to position yourself as a brand that solves a pain point that no other competitor solved. And this uniqueness will put you at the top of the list to beat out the competition.
#3 Not being consistent
Having figured out the value proposition, you must now work on your delivery.
And this is another area that is often forgotten about, even though it makes a huge difference! Consistency. You must be consistent in your:
- Visual identity
- Tone of voice
- Appearance and frequency in all channels
- Internal and external communication
- Marketing efforts
That seems like a lot of stuff to handle, but it’s easy when you are sticking to the same branding ideas for all of these things.
Your tone of voice and visual identity are the building blocks for everything else!
- An inspiring tone of voice is what sets you apart and conveys your brand’s personality. It elicits an emotional response from your audience, and that’s what you’re aiming for here: the meaningful connections that stem from that response are what makes people choose your brand over others – it makes you unique.
- Your visual identity helps people easily recognize you, just like Coke’s font and the red and white colours immediately make you think of them.
- Psychology of colours plays a big role in the palette you should choose for your health coaching brand. Find one that you like and that makes sense for your brand and stick with it throughout all the channels you use.
Consistency is about frequency and communication too! You can’t treat your social media pages and blogs the same way you treat your private profiles.
For your brand social media pages, make sure you post new content frequently (even daily!) and communicate with your followers and fans. People love brands that are responsive and easy to reach on social media. Be one of them!
Don’t forget about your blog and have at least one post every week or two! You can prepare in bulk and simply schedule posts to go live when you find they perform the best. I know how hard this is and how much time it takes, but it’s worth it! It gives you something you can share on social media, and is also something that will generate traffic to your site. (Done correctly it can also bring you clients too!)
#4 Not staying true to yourself
That’s one of the worst branding mistakes you can make, one that has the power to tank your brand immediately. Because it makes you come across as fake.
Would you work with someone who changes their messaging every week or doesn’t seem genuine? I know I wouldn’t.
Just imagine the following:
You find a local indie creator that supports a healthy and environmentally conscious lifestyle and offers handcrafted goods with powerful messages that truly resonate with you. You love that they are trying to minimise their environmental impact and are supporting the local community. You order a few things and you really love the whole experience.
A few weeks go by, and you see that a local retailer you bought from on occasion is launching a new environmentally conscious product line too! You’re excited to see other local businesses are catching up on the issue, only to be sorely disappointed when you realize you’ve seen their “new” designs before.
They are on board only because it’s trendy now, and worst of all, they wanted to take a shortcut and simply copied all the designs from the local indie creator you love and support!
Would you be okay with that? Of course not! You’ll never want to do anything with that retailer again! This is exactly how people will react to your brand if you simply take values, goals, and beliefs from somebody else!
You’ll come off as dishonest, as someone who’s just trying to get money from their customers without being truly invested in the cause. Never do that, especially as a health coach when your business is all about making personal connections.
#5 Not getting help!
It’s perfectly normal to have knowledge gaps, and branding isn’t an exception. After all, you’re a health coach, not a brand or marketing professional. But many health coaches try and go it alone and waste time on strategies that won’t work for their target audience.
If you’re struggling with your branding, find help! You can start with reading some marketing guides and branding basics that will give you a general idea on best practices. Whenever you’re unsure about a branding decision, you can fall back on these to reassess your decisions.
The problem with this approach? Finding time for it.
When you’re immersed in health coaching, it can be difficult to find enough time to get to grips with branding practices and what helps. In this case, it’s best to find a professional to help you (oh, hello!).
Branding is tough, but you don’t have to do it alone
Branding is a tough task and it never really ends. You must be true to yourself, but different enough from others. You must use your personality as the basis, but also take hints from what your competitors are doing to find a good position for your brand!
It’s normal to make some branding mistakes when you’re starting out, there are lots of things to think about. And even when you nail it, your competitors might simply start copying you, meaning you must always work on staying unique!
If you’re a health coach and want to avoid making mistakes in your branding strategy, (as well as many others), get in touch!