If there’s one thing you and I know, with our extensive legal training (from watching All Rise and other legal dramas. . . and if you haven’t seen All Rise yet, check it out), it’s that when you cross-examine a witness, you need to lead them carefully with pointed questions that require specific, short answers.
We want yes/no, or we want very brief sentences that confirm what we already know. It’s almost like we train witnesses to fall into our mastermind ploy. They can’t help but answer us exactly how we want them to, which is amazing, because when witnesses drop those courtroom shock bombs on you, it’s no bueno . . . at least, not for your side of the case.
And that, my friends, is all related to brand statements. Obviously.
So much so that I bothered our legal team (okay…so it’s my brother) for several minutes trying to figure out if what I was saying was at least a smidgen factual.
Brand statements and courtroom strategy? We’d love to hear the connection, Regina.
So happy that you want to hear it, because I was going to tell you anyway.
Say you’re at a networking event, and you get asked: “So, what do you do?” If you answer with a trained, short, unengaging response, it might be time for a (new) brand statement—or even a new brand (but that’s a story for another post …).
In fact, answering this question like you’re being cross-examined is a clear, undeniable sign you need a new brand statement.
I wrote this post and developed a brand statement formula out of necessity really. I was so tired of answering, “I teach blogging and business?” with my head down, like it was something to be ashamed of or something that I just made up.
When we become embarrassed by, complacent with, or even unsure of what we do, or when we find it hard to proudly present our brand to the world, conversations go something like this:
Random person at a “networking” event: “So, what do you do?”
You: “Oh, I’m a vegan chef.”
Rando McLinkedIn: “Wow. Cool.”
Mr. McLinkedIn will barely remember this chef in five minutes, and tomorrow, no chance.
Why didn’t you give more detail?
“I design droolworthy vegan keto meal plans for bodybuilders who want train hard and eat clean. I also host a monthly weekend intensive online where I actually teach them how to cook – all on video! I’m Luna Reddington, TheVeganSuperChef.com. You might be shocked at how fantastic vegan food can be.”
“I work as a graphic design coach for female business owners who want to learn how to create shareworthy social media graphics by themselves. I run group online workshops and it’s the most fun ever. I’m actually finishing up work on The Viral Media Design Planner, which is a 200-page digital workbook. So excited.”
“I teach recent college grads about creating a personal brand for themselves and building a solid platform that can grow with their career. The market is not what it once was, and it seems more and more like people need something beyond, or something other than, a degree to find meaningful work.”
Sure, you have to judge the situation. Not everyone asking should get your full life story, but if someone answered you with one of the answers above when you asked the “What do you do?” question, would you be more likely to remember them? Or check out their website or Instagram later? Or remember to mention them to a friend/colleague in need of services such as theirs?
Brand statements, yo.
Which are, statements that define a brand. Kinda like mission statements. Brand statements are bite-sized collections of information that help people decide how serious you are about your brand, what your brand even stands for, why what you do matters, and how what you do is different from the 107 people they met (yesterday) who claim to do the same thing.
And. It’s not that the crafting of a brand statement is difficult (I’m gonna show you a formula below), it’s that we forget or neglect to do it. It’s that we don’t realize how necessary it is sometimes.
Today is your day. The day you build a brand statement. The day you stand up and stand out with your words—in a sea of people walking around with “I’m a graphic designer” and “I kinda sorta teach graphic design” responses.
What I’m about to share is neither rocket science nor Elon Musk-style business genius (which technically would also be rocket science). It’s a simple exercise we can all do to make sure we have a solid brand statement on deck. To make sure we’re answering people as completely as possible when they ask us about our work. To make sure we give our brand a chance to form a strong, memorable impression.
And now, it’s time to put on our bossy pants. Here’s how to write a brand statement. Follow these directions, now.
Get out four note cards. Or sticky notes. Or any moveable paper product. Write down the following things, one on each card.
1. Who do you serve?
Hint: After you write it down, cross it out and write it again. Be more specific the second time around.
2. Why do you care?
3. What service/benefit do you actually provide?
4. What do you offer that’s different from everyone else?
Once you have these items on notecards, all we have to do is move them around to the correct order, abridge some stuff, and make it work. I’ll show you what I mean. Let’s use our crazy vegan chef as an example.
Who do you serve? Bodybuilders who want effective vegan ketogenic diet plans to cut weight and preserve muscle.
Why do you care? Because when I transitioned to a vegan diet, I lost my muscle mass because I didn’t know how to eat properly. I either ate too much soy or too many carbs. It was hard to add muscle while reducing body fat. I want to help make it easier (and tastier) for others so they don’t feel they have to rely on protein powders and supplements.
What do you actually provide? An intensive online workshop with an option to upgrade to supportive weekly check-ins + meal planning.
What do you offer that’s different? Step-by-step guidance in a small group via DIY materials, a supportive Facebook group and video content to teach meal prep. Having pre-packaged materials helps me keep costs low and the community allows the group to help each other even when I’m not actually in the group.
Now, let’s try a brand statement in a few different orders:
I help bodybuilders and fitness competitors who want to achieve their fitness goals while following a vegan diet, since I had to learn how to eat for muscle mass when I became a vegan. I want others to have a simpler, guided process, so I offer DIY online group coaching, meal planning materials and tailored check-ins to help people through their fitness competitions. [who you help >> why you care >> what’s different + what you provide]
I’m a vegan ketogenic chef. As in, I help people, particularly bodybuilders and fitness competitors, plan delicious keto vegan meals, but I also do it non-traditionally through online workshops and DIY materials to keep costs low. It’s the service I needed but didn’t have when I became a vegan. [what you provide/do >> who you help >> what’s different >> why you care]
I use DIY vegan keto meal planning materials, online group coaching and tailored check-in meetings to co-plan meals and teach food prep to bodybuilders and fitness competitors. It’s the guidance I wish I’d had when I transitioned to a vegan diet. It was crazypants trying to figure out what to eat to cut body fat while building muscle, and I don’t want anyone else to have to go through it. [why it’s different + what you do >> who you help >> why you care]
In 2 – 3 sentences you can stand out, be firm about why you do what you do, show some personality, and clearly define your brand and who you serve.
I’m listening. Leave me your brand statement in the comments of this post, or come talk to me on social media. I want to hear.
Do it now. Okay—ending my bossy moment. For all the coders out there: </bossy>
Photo: Franz Navarrete