If you are serious about becoming a successful C-Level Executive, Trainer, Consultant or Speaker, then you might want to consider building a corporate brand that establishes your expertise and creates instant credibility and trust with the people who are looking to hire professionals in your industry.
Because your corporate coach brand will enable your reputation to precede you, and attract the kind of contracts you have a passion around.
You see, if you have a great reputation, and you are viewed as a subject matter expert, you don’t have to do much heavy lifting for doors to start opening for you. In other words, it’s going to take less time, effort and expense to open and close contracts.
It all goes back to building a brand that positions you as an educator and advocate for the success of the people you have the deepest passion around and that you can help the most.
The stronger your brand, the less time and effort it will take to establish your credibility, and to gain the trust of the people tasked with hiring you.
However, even with that said, there are still many ways you can drop the ball when building your Corporate Coach Brand.
You face an almost infinite range of pitfalls and mistakes and that all fall within five major categories.
But here’s the good news. It’s not too late to turn things around.
And it starts right here, right now, since you’re about to get a clear idea as to what those mistakes are, and more importantly, how to avoid them.
So with that said, let’s get started…
Mistake 1: Copying another Trainer’s Brand
The key to creating a personal Corporate Brand is exactly that. It is personal. It is never a copy of somebody else’s brand.
This is going to sound obvious, but it must be said…
“Copycats will always fail.”
Because all markets tend to favor people who are innovators or are perceived to be.
If you are perceived to be just a copy of somebody else, your brand is without doubt going to suffer. You are never going to be as good and as cutting edge as somebody who is perceived to be the originator.
This is why it is extremely important to avoid the tempting mistake of copying someone else’s brand.
Yes, I understand. After all, it is very tempting.
You can save a lot of time, effort and money.
Why reinvent the wheel, right?
Why not just copy a Tony Robbins, a Dave Ramsey, or an Oprah Winfrey even?
Sounds silly right?
I am not against copying brands per se.
What I am against is sloppy copying.
It is OK to understand the principles that drive a particular trainer’s brand in your industry and to use them to build a distinctive brand that encapsulates your own principles.
Compare this with the often used technique of simply copying another brand where all the elements are the same, and even the simulated graphics can be misleading.
Even if you don’t copy your competitors enough for them to successfully file a legal case against you, your reputation will suffer.
You don’t want to be perceived as an “also ran” or a “me too” brand. You have to be original. You have to be an innovator.
This is why you should focus on what is distinctive about how you do things.
Is it your vision? Is it your processes? Is it something distinctly about your character?
Find something that makes you stand out from the crowd, and build your brand around that.
You can use principles borrowed from other trainers, coaches and speakers, but the complete package must look original and must be rooted in what is distinctive about what you bring to the table.
Mistake 2: Telling Your Audience What They Want to Hear
Successful trainers, coaches and speakers speak from a distinct position. This is what gives them authority. This is what makes them stand apart from the competition.
If you are going to bend over backwards trying to tell your audience what they are already hearing from everybody else, your message is going to fall on deaf ears.
Think about it.
Why should they listen to you when they can get the same stuff everywhere else?
Unfortunately, many trainers, coaches and speakers don’t get this. They end up basically parroting what other brands are saying.
They are essentially conveying the same constellation of values that other brands are communicating.
It is no surprise then that these brands fall short when it comes to being chosen.
There is nothing distinctive about them, at least when it comes to first impressions.
Your brand has to speak from a distinctive position.
It has to bring something to the table that makes it look different.
Even though you may have a thoroughly conventional brand, you should at least create the impression in the minds of your prospects that you go against conventional wisdom, and that you go beyond what everybody else is saying.
Why do you need to do this?
You will earn more respect when you stake your claim and stand your ground.
You have to find something that is distinctive, and position your brand around that.
Maybe it is a better focus on product research?
Maybe it is a higher emphasis on customer experience?
Whatever it is, make sure that it makes your brand sound very different from the competition.
Of course, you won’t be able to pull this off unless you have thoroughly researched what is out there, so do the time, and pick apart your competition’s brand message.
Figure out what they are doing right and figure out what they are doing wrong. Build on their strengths by offering the same things that they are doing right, but play up the fact that you are offering something they are missing.
This is how you are going to make your audience aware of your brand’s values, and you will do it in such a way that you will gain a competitive advantage, and avoid the mistake of merely telling them what they want to hear.
Mistake 3: Embracing the Herd Mentality
In any niche, there will always be trends. There will always be conventional wisdom. There will always be certain patterns that everybody seems to be following.
It’s not a problem for you to follow trends that give you a competitive advantage. In fact, if your industry is heading in a certain direction that will modernize your industry, it can be a good idea to follow the crowd.
However, the problem does occur when corporate trainers, coaches and speakers follow trends just for the sake of following trends. In other words, they don’t want to feel left out.
They don’t know why they are following. They don’t have a firm position or principle that explains why they are following a trend.
This is herd mentality, and it will only erode your Corporate Trainer Brand.
Instead, you should focus on setting trends.
As I have mentioned in mistake #1, if you are viewed by your audience members as an innovator, you gain a competitive advantage.
Instead of following trends, you set them.
If you do this enough times, people will come to you first regarding a hot issue and will try to figure out what you have to say first before they make a decision. This is exactly the level of authority you should aspire to.
Real brands stand out from the herd by riding the herd, not following the herd.
Just as a cowboy rounds up the herd and directs the herd of cattle where the cowboy needs the herd to go, your corporate brand should do the same for your industry. Stand out and lead, instead of merely following blindly.
If your brand is perceived as a mere follower, there are really less incentives for your prospects to follow you or take you seriously.
Because if you are offering the same direction as everybody else, they probably would be better off with a better known trainer or more established brand, so it’s imperative for you to avoid the herd mentality at all costs.
Mistake 4: Trying to be Everything for Everyone
You can’t be all things to all people. It is just not going to happen.
This is true on a personal basis, and it is definitely true when it comes to your branding.
You can’t position your brand so that it is the Swiss army knife of your industry. As the old saying goes, “Jack of all trades, master of none.”
In this day and age, you establish a higher degree of credibility if you are micro-specialized.
This is why it is extremely important to finely tune your brand so that it is closely associated with a tight range of subject matters.
The sooner you do it, the sooner your brand becomes successful.
This all really takes one simple step.
Stake out a niche.
Figure out the rough borders or outer perimeter of that niche, and stay within that niche.
Own that niche.
Once you have established credibility and trust and you are the undisputed authority in that niche, then and only then should you start thinking about expanding your niche coverage.
I have seen it time and time again. People who try to establish a Corporate Trainer Brand in one particular area get really comfortable and try to scale up. Nine times out of ten, they fall flat on their faces.
They didn’t really become fully established in their original niche.
Not surprisingly, when they try to branch out, they don’t have enough crossover credibility to create much of an impact in the new niche they are branching out to.
Solidify your position in your current niche. Own that niche. Dominate it, and for all the tea in China, stop trying to be everything for everybody, as you’ll end up being nothing for nobody.
5: Establishing Your Credibility through Simple Definition
I have interviewed many professionals, and it really breaks my heart to see how some of them try to build a brand through simple definition.
It really is sad to see.
They simply tell people why they are credible.
They simply tell people why they should be taken seriously.
I am telling you right now, telling is worthless.
You have to show people.
You have to use actual case studies, testimonials, statistics, and hard numbers to show in no uncertain terms that you know what you are talking about.
The problem with telling people that you are a credible authority is that anybody can make a claim. Anybody can whip out their resume. Anybody can rattle off a long list of supposed accomplishments.
However, unless you relate those accomplishments to the basic needs of your audience, you have failed to establish credibility with them. You have failed to build a solid brand with them.
What to do?
I recommend using the power of case studies, number driven testimonials, and other data heavy methods of establishing credibility and trust for your brand.
Otherwise, as I keep repeating, you would just be another voice in the crowd. You would be simply playing the game the same exact way failed brands in your industry are playing the game.
You don’t want to play a losing game. You don’t want to play the game to lose.
You have to show people why you are credible, instead of merely telling them. Otherwise, it is just going to take too long to get to where you need your brand to go.
You now know at least five mistakes to avoid when setting out to build your Executive Coach brand. If Harvard University handed out “Mini PhDs” in the field of Corporate Coach Branding, you’d have one by now!
Yes, just knowing these insights is quite an accomplishment. But the truth is, storing away all this information in your head won’t do you any good if you don’t put it to use.
And that’s why I suggest you take action – starting right now – by writing down the five mistakes we talked about today.
Cross reference them against what you are currently doing to build your brand, or what you intend to do to build your brand, because the sooner you get started, the sooner you can turn this “Mini PhD in Corporate Branding” into real results!”