5 Steps to Successful Branding for Consultants
One of the first questions any consultant ought to ask themselves is, “How am I going to set myself apart from all the other consultants in my field?” Because to build a successful consulting business, you not only need to be great at what you do, you need to be able to effectively market yourself to potential clients. You need to give those potential clients a reason to hire you instead of another consultant.
Chances are you have a unique blend of experience, expertise, and education that contribute to what you do, or how you do it. Perhaps you have developed your own unique approach or system. Or, maybe you specialize in a particular niche or type of client. These things should be taken into consideration when setting up your consulting business and developing your positioning, or brand platform.
I like to think of your brand platform as WHO you are and WHAT you stand for. It’s what sets you apart and it’s also what helps attract the clients who are the best fit for your services.
So, if you’ve never considered the idea of branding yourself, or you’re just starting out, here are five steps to setting yourself apart with a unique and compelling brand.
Step 1: Identify What Sets You Apart
It might be your unique combination of experience, or a proprietary process you’ve developed. It could be your personality or the way you approach your work. Identify what you stand for. Do an inventory to uncover what it is about you and what you do that makes you unique. Just make sure it’s meaningful to your potential clients.
Step 2: Brainstorm Brand Names
The more effectively you package your brand, the more effective your marketing will be. That means coming up with a brand name. It might be a business name, or a name for you. Either way it needs to memorable, and clearly and concisely communicate what you stand for.
Step 3: Research Your Brand Name
Before you adopt a brand name, make sure someone isn’t already using it. A simple Google search, trademark search on uspto.gov, or domain name search on any domain registrar such as Godaddy.com will help you quickly determine if the name you’d like to use is available.
Step 4: Implement Your Brand
Once you have a brand name, you want to implement it across your entire business. It needs to be more than just the name on the door (or website)—when your brand ends there, I call that “gift wrap” and it’s not an effective way to set yourself apart. Incorporate branded language into your website copy and other marketing. Give your products, programs, or services branded names that fit within the theme of your overall brand. Brand your ezine. Look at every touch-point of your business and ask yourself, “How can I incorporate my brand here?”
Step 5: Protect Your Brand Name
Once you’ve established your brand name, take steps to protect it. A brand name is only effective if you’re the only one using it. And the only way to ensure that is to legally protect it. Consider trademarking your brand name, creating a corporation, or filing a Fictitious Business Name Statement (or doing all three). Let the world know it’s your brand name. That way you not only protect your brand and enjoy the marketing benefits it can provide, you also protect the creativity, time, marketing, and money you’ve invested in it.
Disclaimer: I’m a marketer, not an attorney, so if you have concerns or questions about researching or protecting your brand beyond these basic steps, be sure to seek out proper legal advice.