Today we’re talking all about branding. What is branding?
When I say branding, did you think of a logo and maybe some colors? Most people think of the outward-facing assets when it comes to branding. I’m going to be focusing on the strategy behind your brand.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, said,
“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room. People’s responses to brands can be as emotive as they are human beings.”
Your brand is so much more than your logo. Let’s talk about it.
Inner Versus Outer Branding
With branding there is inner branding and outer branding. It’s kind of like two sides of the same coin. Inner branding is brand strategy. This includes your brand story, values, target audience or ideal client, your product suite, your business name, and competitor analysis among other things.
Let’s Dive Into Inner Branding
I’ll give a brief description of each of these, but like the title says this is branding 101. This is a surface level dive, not a deep dive.
Your brand story is why you are in business. People hire you for your why. They emotionally connect to your story and relate with you.
Your brand values are a set of guiding principles that shape every aspect of your business. It’s what’s important to you.
For example, my brand values are
- Creating authentic intimate connections
- Everything even in business should spark Joy
- Trust in the process
- Uniqueness is wanted and valued
- Meet people where they’re at
- No one-size-fits-all
- Doulas make a difference
These values are extremely important to me and guide me as I am developing product offerings, designing my website, or doing a coaching call. Since my business is ME, it’s very personal, and my brand values are what I inherently value in my personal life as well (with the exception of a few). They come naturally.
Your target audience is your ideal or dream client. This is who you would be so happy to work with. It’s like your soulmate client, made just for you. Basically it’s who you want to help and why you want to help them.
Creating an ideal client Avatar is so important to your business. It will direct the words that you write on your website, the kinds of pictures that you take that will attract that dream client, the different product offerings that will fit your ideal client’s schedule and budget.
This is basically the different ways that you want to work with your ideal client. How do you specifically want to help them? Do you want to do one on one work? If so, are you wanting to do virtual or in-person work, or both? Do you want to offer online products?
For example, like a childbirth education course, e-books, postpartum planners… The list is endless. It’s important to make sure that your product Suite is targeting your dream client.
It’s a good idea to have low, mid-range, and high-level offers.
Sometimes having a doula is out of people’s budget. I would consider 1:1 doula birth support to be a high-touch or high-level offering.
If you’re like me, you still want to help people and you’re okay if you get paid a little less. Just make it worth your time. Maybe create an ebook for preparing for postpartum. This can be under $100 and is a low-level or low-touch offer.
Low touch means passive income – they don’t have one to one contact with you, and is an easy yes for a lot of people because it’s more in their budget.
A mid-range offer would be something like a course. You get a lot more in-depth information, but it’s still not 1 to 1 high-touch service.
So just think about that when you are trying to figure out how you actually want to serve your ideal client.
Naming Your Business
It’s important to name your business with your ideal client in mind. If your ideal client is a crunchy mama who is all about holistic services, a business name like Harley Boyer Medical Services is going to turn them off. A name like holistic birthing services, will be totally right up their alley and they’ll be interested in your business and what you have to offer them.
The first part of analyzing your competitors is actually looking at yourself.
- What is your unique selling proposition?
- What makes you unique?
- Why should they go with you versus another Doula?
While working with other doulas, I’ve seen doula’s who specialize in working with mothers who have experienced sexual trauma, doulas who specialize in teenage mothers, or unwanted pregnancies just to name a few examples of ideal clients.
Just this last week I worked with a client who, while working with me on website strategy, realized that her dream client is second time mothers who are confident and know exactly what they want, which is the opposite of what they experienced in a hospital setting. She wants to work specifically with second-time mothers seeking a home birth.
That’s what makes her special. She’s had hospital births and home births and she knows her ideal client inside out because it’s basically herself a couple years ago. That’s her unique selling proposition.
Take a look at yourself, and decide what makes you special. Every single one of you has something unique and special about you to offer to mothers. I promise you.
Now that you’ve done that, take a look at your local competitors, or if you have online offerings, take a look at people who offer a product similar to what you are offering. You need to identify what is working for other doulas, and how you can incorporate that into your own brand without copying.
Copying product offerings is not going to work for you. You need to already have your own stuff figured out before you do this competitor analysis. Otherwise it’s going to get in your head and it’s not going to leave, and copying is not complimenting.
People will find out, and like I said in an earlier episode trust is everything in this business. Your reputation is everything.
I strongly recommend not copying anything from another Doula, whether it’s her website, her product offerings, the way she does her one-on-one service, Whatever it is. Come up with your own stuff first, and then check out what other people are doing and make sure yours is different.
I follow a doula from Australia, who makes these little welcome gift baskets when she goes and visits her client for her first prenatal. I think that is such a cool brand touchpoint. What’s a brand touchpoint?
“A brand touchpoint is anything that your audience comes into contact with while working with you.”
Katie Proctor, Wildflower Design Co.
This can mean anything from the start of their journey with you on your website, to that last postpartum visit where you bring them a homemade meal or something.
“Surface-level touchpoints like your social media page and website are key in establishing who you are as a brand. But if you want to connect with your audience on a deeper level and ensure loyalty and repeat purchases or customers, then it might be time to be more considerate.” – Katie Proctor, Wildflower Design Co.
In my experience, brand touchpoints that hit on a deeper level are physical, tangible things. Like a welcome box, like the doula I mentioned before, a postpartum survival kit included with your services, or a pregnancy self-care gift.
These kinds of touchpoints can be built into your pricing and can really create a unique customer experience. Tangible brand touchpoints connect you and your client on a deeper level than just texting or a client portal or local resources list.
These are all just ideas. You don’t have to do it. I just think it’s helpful to talk about these things so you know it’s even an option out there. And maybe it’s not the right time for you to incorporate touchpoints into your business, but you can know about it down the road.
and finally, Brand Strategy
For brand strategy as a whole, I think every single doula should do this. Being aware and intentional with your brand instead of just hiring someone on Fiverr for a logo or designing it yourself on Canva means that your clients will recognize that and will trust you more. People who care about their brand strategy get more clients, I promise!
Let’s move on to outer branding. In my opinion, this is the easy stuff, especially after you have done your brand strategy. Your brand strategy will point you towards the types of visuals that will attract your dream clients and set you apart from your competition.
So what are these visuals? These are logos, fonts, colors. that’s it. You can dive in deeper and have brand marks or icons, sub mark logos (which are mini logos), and more. But like I said, this is Branding 101, not advanced branding.
Professional branding means you probably need to hire a brand designer and/or strategist (unless you have a background in branding yourself of course). Look for someone who does focus on brand strategy, as that will mean your branding is going to sell and doesn’t just have a pretty face.
All of this is taken to an account and results in your customer experience. What it’s like to work with you. I think it’s so important to not only do all the work to get the client, but to also provide a stellar experience after you book them. Word of mouth is so important to doulas and you do that by having raving customers who just love working with you.
We’ll talk more about what to do after you book a client (aka CRM or Client Relationship Management) in another episode, but this is Doula Branding 101 episode!
Your branding is essential in getting the clients to book you.
– So here’s your takeaway –
Any Doula listening to this should think about your own brand strategy (reviewing the different sections above and applying them to your own business) and then focus on visual assets like logos, fonts, and colors.