Staying True to Yourself in the World of Personal Branding
For many yoga teachers, spiritual practice and self-promotion do not mesh well. The term “personal branding” can be particularly off-putting, as it tends to spark negative connotations ranging from “corny” to “contrived”.
A different kind of marketing is entirely possible, though. And AUTHENTICITY is the key ingredient.
Personal branding can be a gift. It can help you reach a broad audience and share your skills, and services with people that need them the most. It can shine a light on your values and goals, and connect you with a like-minded client base.
Personal branding is not just about presenting a perfectly-polished image to the world. It’s about communicating WHO you are and WHAT you stand for.
“Your personal brand is a promise to your clients… a promise of quality, consistency, competency, and reliability.”
Jason Hartman – Real Estate Entrepreneur
So, how do you formulate a personal brand while staying true to yourself?
Personal Branding vs. Professional Ethos?
Product design leader, Trip O’Dell, suggests that you think of your “personal brand” as your “professional ethos”. While the former term may feel “artificial and phony”, the latter refers to “an authentic expression of your values and identity as a leader.”
“Ethos includes your accomplishments, mastery, reputation, knowledge, and credibility.”
Trip O’Dell – Product Design Leader
Highlight and Utilize Your Attributes
Self-awareness is integral when it comes to building an authentic personal brand. But even if you have a pretty clear vision of who you are, it can be helpful to dig deeper into your history.
What are your skills, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses?
What special knowledge or experience do you have?
For example, if you have been endowed with impressive writing skills, you may want to set up a blog or newsletter, or produce an e-book to bolster your brand’s marketing strategy.
What makes you unique and sets you apart from other teachers?
Make a list, write it down, talk about it with a friend – whatever it takes to peel back the layers and pinpoint areas that can help reflect your identity to your future clients.
Communicate Your Core Values
What are your core values? It can be tricky a question to answer without steering towards clichés, which is why authenticity is important.
Be specific about what MATTERS to you, and what guides your decisions as a teacher and business owner.
A simple exercise involves writing down your top 5 values. E.g. honesty, integrity, commitment, quality, growth…
Ask yourself: which of these do you want to be remembered for? And select the ones that are most important to integrate into your brand story.
Then, brainstorm how to effectively communicate these values to your prospective clients in a way that taps into your strengths, skills, and interests.
- A logo design
- An acronym
- A tagline
- A promotional film
- A real or fictional character
Entrepreneurs who define — and live and breathe by — their core values will resonate with the right client base.
By letting your audience know that you share the same purpose and principles, you can win their TRUST and LOYALTY in the long term.
“Values should be actionable, digestible (i.e. less than 5), and integrated into your daily rhythm, conversations, and long-term goals.”
Morgan Chaney – Head of Marketing at Blueboard.
Here is an example of a brand successfully demonstrating its core values through an ad.
The social media management solution, Buffer, wants to be known for its transparency.
Share Your Story in a Meaningful Way
Your “personal brand” should be a meaningful and honest story about YOU.
Rather than trying to concoct an “alluring” story based solely on the intention to “sell”, aim to cultivate a voice and identity that is personal, genuine and consistent with who you are.
Questions to think about this week:
What are your attributes and core values?
How can you authentically communicate your values and identity to your audience?