Your consulting/advisory business is tooling along—you’re making money, your revenue trend is steadily up, you’re adding clients and buyers. But something is still missing.
You watch other “authorities” take advantage of media attention to drive everything from clients to program sales to book deals.
What do they have that you don’t?
More often than not, they’ve built a powerful authority brand—built from their carefully crafted expertise—with a compelling narrative that pulls attention in their direction.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get your turn in the spotlight. Paying attention to your own brand can pay quick dividends once you’ve zeroed in on what makes you uniquely appealing to your target market. Here are a few signs that you might be due for a makeover.
You want to appeal to a niche market. Say you’ve realized physicians are your sweet-spot—and you’d like to cast your net to reach more of them. Your brand—the images and the voice of your copy—needs to shift to focus more pointedly on the needs of your M.D. niche. And uncovering the linkages between your personal story and passions and your firm’s market niche is a powerful emotional connector for your audience.
You’ve created a thrilling new _______ (service, program, book, product) and are in search of the right audience. This can be a time when you need a pivot: not quite a 180, but more than a tinker. Your new fill-in-the-blank might be designed not for clients, but for the people who can’t afford you yet. Or it might be a deeper dive into a slice of your expertise. You’ll need to make sure your branding, your positioning and your collateral works for both audiences.
You don’t have a point of view. Think of yourself as a thought leader. What do you believe to be true about making your company successful? What do you believe about your clients and their dreams and pain points? How will you serve them in ways they value? This isn’t about lecturing to your audience, but about having a deeply felt set of beliefs that underpins all you do.
Your competition looks—and reads—better than you. How do your message and visual touch-points compare to what’s out there? This isn’t about losing 30 pounds or being a slick voice in the media. It’s about being 100% true to who you are and the tribe you’re building. It’s about telling the stories that demonstrate your mastery of your market and your differentiators. Be honest—how do you stack up against your main competitors?
You’re hard to find. This will be your on-line death knell. It happens when your name or point of view is forgettable—just another “me too” message that gets lost when your client is ready to belly up to the bar. Or maybe your big idea is too similar to one that’s already staked its claim on google’s real estate—in that case, only new brand positioning will deliver you a break-through. Invest in building and maintaining your presence so you (continue to) own your niche.
Your brand is stuck in time. Your website, your images (and especially photos), look like they’re from 2007. Your clients will sense it even if they don’t (or can’t) articulate it. Overly formal copy, stiff head shots and multiple old-style fonts are the first signs that you’re out of touch. Images that scream bad stock photography or are interchangeable with your competitors do you no favors either (if I see one more financial advisory site with happy senior citizens strolling the beach, I might gag). Review your site and marketing collateral at least annually and make modern updates at least every couple of years—more often if you’re making the kinds of changes in #1 and #2 above.
Undertaking an authority brand makeover requires some grit and a healthy dose of courage. Don’t pull the trigger until you’re ready to set your stake in the ground—to claim a piece of territory as your own and commit to building (and defending) it.
And choose your partners wisely—because this is about far more than a “pretty” website. It’s about consistently reinforcing the core messages that resonate deeply with your sweet-spot audience—to spark connections and grow your influence and revenue.
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