I’m seeing more and more coaches take a stronger approach to branding, graphic design and marketing. They’re not just setting up shop, their pushing the boat out to make sure that their seen as a unique operator amongst the crowd.
I started creating logo designs and then went onto complete corporate identities from web to print but today I’m performing more and more work for life coach businesses with fully interactive websites accompanied with sub-brands, e-shops and more printed material. The new innovative approach is definitely a step in the right direction but is the motive behind the progression the right resolution. Life coach businesses know they need a brand to step out from the crowd but which route should you take?
Problems of a life coach business.
Life coaches always make the statement that each of their clients have very different problems. I’ve learnt that so is every life coach. They each have methods for solving problems and its particular compared to the next coach. The average Joe sees life coaching as quite generic but each coach has their own twist, style, methods and resources.
This in fact is a unique selling point and possibly the making of your brand. Every life coach sells the same service but it’s you that makes your company individual. You’re selling yourself as apart of the service and you have to make sure that you portray some of that character in your brand.
When branding a life coach business add a little bit of you inside as well.
Your Target Audience:
Most life coach businesses I come across deal with this problem in a huge way and it takes some time to figure out the answer. The problem is that they’re trying to attract two audiences under one roof, the corporate clientele and the public.
The first thing to do is split up the groups into three or four because there’s a hidden couple of groups which emerge from the other two. It’s not a corporate customer and it’s not a member of the public, it’s the self-employed or small business owner. They want to focus their career or personal life but their circumstances don’t quite fit into either of the two. This group sits in between making the whole situation a blur. How should you target these groups?
– Should you have 2-3 brands to target each audience?
– One business with 2-3 sub-brands?
– Or a general appeal to all?
Having 2-3 brands is the best idea allowing you to create separate offerings without confusing the groups and not boring the other two audiences. The public don’t want to know about training courses and communication for profit they want to know how it will affect them personally. The corporate clients don’t want to hear about being happy but profitable.
But what about the middle group of professional individuals? They want to know how to do it all but not on a corporate scale, a personal one.
Having separate brands to target each audience provides a specialist and driven strategy allowing you to market the business effectively, drawing a line between the two with no confusion. This is however the costly option requiring most work from you (managing 2-3 brands, 2-3 firms, and 2-3 services).
The second option of having one brand with two sub-brands is the most approachable strategy for you rather than the client. It’s like the above solution except cheaper and manageable allowing your business to develop in your own time, however it must be done strictly keeping a clear indication of what services are offered to the different audiences. It’s 2-3 brands under a motherbrand, an all round solution which is effective but not as clear as the first one.
The third option is the cheapest but not the best as it confuses the audience. It can work but it must be clear and concise. Once you’ve done that it falls under option 2.
Whatever strategy you take, create a clear message to each audience and keep each service individual. Consider your mother-brand and services then break them down into sub-brands.
Targeting businesses with services is easier then marketing to the public. Businesses want something in-particular, a sense of professionalism, with clear benefits, results and a relation to their business. The public however are attracted by personal attachment and visual results which is hard to do when you don’t know the person or have a product.
The strategy to solve these problems is sub-grouping for your target audience because as large a variety the public are, they still fall into groups and effective design can target that particular group.
Effectively your packaging each solution and directing it at a particular audience, marketing the benefits and results of your sub-brand even though it’s still available to a wider audience.
With the above design strategy, marketing becomes simpler. Before you had the problem of attracting 2-3 audiences with one piece of communication, neither swinging here or there but with 2-3 brands focusing on 2-3 audiences you can create 2-3 documents, 1 focusing on each for a stronger and specified message to the recipient.
This leads to 2-3 forms of delivery. The previous distribution was sent to both audiences via the same strategy but can now be separated and delivered specifically to reach each target.
The fact is life coaching is not a tradesman, public body or product which offers visual solutions to a problem but it targets the same general public as a service provider.