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Building Block #4: How Branding Puts Wind at Your Back

We have been making our way through my free ebook, You Need a Holistic Business: Learn the Six Essential Building Blocks. You can download that here if you happen to like having the the downloadable PDF version of the whole ebook. If you're more of an audiobook person, you can listen to this on the podcast here.

Moving on to building block #4, let’s talk about how branding puts wind at your back. If you're rolling your eyes, hang with me because I have rolled my eyes as well at just the word branding. So let's unpack the word and what it means a little bit.

We often think of branding as logos- and we usually imagine the logos we see everywhere all the time: Nike, Target, Coke, Apple- that kind of thing.

When we picture branding as the iconic imagery that goes along with massive multinational billion dollar brands, it can feel hard to understand why we, as super small service businesses, need to even think about branding.

So first- let’s talk about what branding is and is not. It is NOT a logo.

A logo is one part of it (a tiny part of it). And in our cases- super small business owners- we are not trying to come up with a singularly iconic image which will be splashed all over stores, t-shirts, shoes, ads at the Superbowl, etc, etc. We are not in the market of mega capitalism where the game is about “dominating market share”, and using our brand imagery towards furthering those ends.

Branding is the cohesive voice, vibe, and flow of how your business communicates what it does and what it’s all about, so that prospective clients can find you and can“get it” how you can help them, in as clear a way as possible, and they can be interested enough to take a next step in developing rapport with you if, in fact, you provide something they have been looking for.

Side note: We are not in the business of dominating market share through flashy iconic branding, and we are also not in the business of coercing people to do anything- something else we associate, rightly, with giant corporations. As small service-providers, we actually provide useful things people need, and so branding is about being visible to those who need our work. No arm twisting required in branding…

Back to what branding is:

Branding is really about the cohesiveness of how all the communication pieces fit together in a holistic way to give people an instant feel for who you are and what you do- It is what easily and effectively communicates what your work is all about.

I broke down branding into 3 things: voice, vibe, and flow earlier. Let’s go through each:

VOICE is how your brand identity is accomplished through words in copywriting like your value statement, or how you describe your services on your website. This can also extend to how you speak if you do other marketing activities that involve teaching in some way- like actual teaching of webinars, or podcasting, article writing, writing a book- all of those about the voice of your brand.

VIBE is how your brand identity is accomplished through visual design; The whole tone of your imagery, colors, typography, and, yes, a tiny piece of the puzzle is the logo, so that the prospective client can begin to experience the quality of what you do, and to get a felt sense of your work.

Design is so uniquely powerful in conveying the feeling of you and of what you do in your work. When I work with client to create their branding (which includes building and writing their website), my favorite thing about it is that I get to deeply listen to them talk about why they do what they do- which almost always includes a deep love for their work- and to translate that into visuals. And yes, this is shameless self-promotion for my services. Need a new website that will actually put wind at your back- email me!

Lastly, there is FLOW: Branding puts wind at your back by making any information you put out to into the world- and the core hub of this is your website- easy to navigate so that in the firehose of information that is the 21st century, prospective clients can intuitively and easily know how to find out what you do and how you help- and how they can take the next step in working with you.

It is easy for websites to be cluttered and confusing and we are all already cluttered and confused! So when prospective clients are seeking out specific help, having a website that is crystal clear to navigate for the people you serve, makes a huge difference.

Branding done well for super small businesses helps to make how you communicate what you do to prospective clients cohesive, succinct, and felt.

In short, people think of branding as a nice add-on if you have the time and money for it, but in actuality it is the holistic vehicle to express your work. When you have branding that articulates your businesses offerings, core values, and distinct vibe in a glance- that's an awful lot of wind at your back.

Thoughtful branding that is cohesive through all your marketing and sales materials- for example through your website, business cards, presentation slides, social media posts, etc. - It also demonstrates a level of professionalism that begins the process of building trust with prospective clients. And I’m not saying you need a ton of stuff- as you all know, it’s right there in the name, I’m all for keeping it simple. And also, I broke up with social media long ago…

Note: "cohesive" and "slick" are not the same thing. I am not advocating that your branding should look any certain way. It should be true to you, because in our cases- people who have tiny service providing businesses where you are likely to be the person working directly with your clients- people are trying to get to know you, because you are the person they are going to be working with- through your branding.

Because branding is my main speciality and design is my deep love, I could go on and on. But this is not a course on how to be a designer! So, for your purposes, the best options for getting a cohesive brand identity (without trying to become iconic like Nike or Apple lol) is to either hire someone to do it for you, utilize really good supported DIY options, or learn how to do it yourself.

I'll break down each one in the action steps:

Building block #4: action steps

Hire someone: In our cases (tiny businesses) we don't need to pay someone 6 figures just for a brand identity. However, I also don't like services that design just logos for people, because this is not a brand identity- it is just an image. Starting with a disconnected logo usually creates a Frankenstein-ed brand identity, which does the opposite of its intended goal of cohesively communicating what you do while demonstrating that you are a professional.

So what to do? Look for people who work holistically- they can give you a brand identity, brand guidelines, and also your copy, your website design, talk with you about cornerstone marketing piece, etc. (*cough* I do this for people at *cough*)

Having someone deliver all of that for you can be supremely worth it (provided this is not an arm-twisting big ticket type business where you have to pay them 6 figures or sign away some portion of your profits or anything like that- if someone feels shady to you, they probably are! )

Use good supported DIY options: If you don't want to, or are not currently in a place to spend the money to have someone do it all for you, then I recommend seeking out do-it- yourself options that are not do-it-by-yourself options. Supported DIY would be buying a website template from a designer, which has guided support on how to make it your own. Or a coach who will work with you, or who has a guided course, to write your marketing copy.

Again, always, I am a fan of keeping everything as holistic as possible, and supported DIY put together piecemeal can also get Frankenstein-ed. (I do dream of a day when I will offer holistic supported DIY templates, but for now, I work in a done-for-you model. Shameless plug again- do you just want it all done, gorgeous and clear already? Send me an email at!).

Learn how to do it yourself: There are some people who would love to learn more about design, website creation, and marketing.

If this is genuinely interesting to you, you can certainly tackle things yourself with tools that are much more user-friendly these days than they were back when you had to always know how to write code or to create a vector image.

If you have the desire to learn how to do this stuff and you have the time to dedicate to that- go for it!

For ease of use- I recommend either Squarespace or Wix templates for website creation, and Canva for the creation of all other brand identity and design materials- things like your business cards, presentation slide shows, social media posts, etc.

I hope that helps you to get started with branding or re-branding- or just generally thinking through how you are presenting your work in the world.

A reminder that you can get the free ebook version of this, and all 6 other building blocks, at


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