I had a conversation with a potential client recently.
We were talking about my process as a brand strategist and copywriter, and I found myself saying something I’d never ever said before to describe my work. It actually took me by surprise as it came out of my mouth.
I help wellness entrepreneurs define the soul of their brands.
So many times I’ve used the word “core” or “heart” or “focus” to explain how my brand clarity sessions work or how I go about crafting copy. But the word “soul” is so much more fitting.
Because a brand is nothing without a soul—the part of it that makes potential customers, website visitors, and Instagram followers feel something.
It’s beyond creating the perfect logo, a nicely designed website, or getting a few headshots done.
What it comes down to is something much deeper and way less material: the “vibe.” The energy of realness and thoughtfulness that lives beneath the surface of the fonts, color schemes, and beautiful photos.
Let’s consider some brands that do this really well.
One of my favorites is Everlane, an online retailer that designs simple, high-quality clothing and is dedicated to radical transparency about their manufacturing. They have built a brand that is rooted in integrity and goodness that elevates the experience of fashion. While their website and products are wonderful, their inner mission is so key in setting them apart from the rest.
Another great one is Ritual, a new multi-vitamin for women. It was created by a woman, who after having her first child was unsatisfied with the quality of multi-vitamins on the market. So she created one with a qualified team. The website design is simple, honest, and straightforward and most of all, trustworthy.
And lastly, but certainly not least, a personal brand I adore is Nitika Chopra. As a talk show host and self-love guru, Nitika brings her whole self—flaws and all—into her brand and has rooted it all into her unique definition of self-love: being more committed to your happiness than your suffering in every moment. Her web design is vibrant, loving, and vulnerable.
The point of me sharing these examples with you is that creating a brand with soul—your soul, your vision, your gifts—is what will set you apart from others and help you create a brand that goes beyond a website with a tagline and an outline of your services. Instead, it’s a full expression of YOU.
Without doing the work to solidify that “soul-foundation”, your brand will feel incomplete to you and will likely fall flat for others.
That’s why when I start my work with a new client, I always begin with the soul part because it informs everything else.
I ask questions like…
Why does this work matter to you?
Why do you want to help others?
What is it about wellness that makes your crazy passionate and inspired?
What impact do you want to make?
How do you want your website visitors to feel when they land on your site?
When we root into the answers, everything becomes easier to create, especially your visual and written brand identity.
Now, you may be wondering…
Once I determine the core or the soul purpose of my business and brand, what do I do next? Do I start with web design? Or should I dive into copy?
I always recommend starting with copy because it’s what brings your brand to life. Figuring out how to communicate what you do in your own voice, and in a way that’s going to resonate with your target audience, is absolutely essential before deciding on the visual elements of your website.
Here are a few things to do to ensure that you write copy from “the soul” of your business and craft it in a conversational tone.
- Create a sacred space to get clear on your vision. Tuning into you “why” and the vision you have for yourself and your business is always step one. Sit somewhere comfortable with a notebook and start writing out why this work matters to you, what impact you hope to make, and what you see for yourself in the next 5 years. Dream big here and consider all possibilities. Then, read it over and highlight the things that really excite you.
- Define your brand’s mission + personality. Now that you’ve clarified your vision and the impact you hope it will make, it’s time to put that into a mission statement. This is what will keep you connected to your “why” and also be something you can share publicly on your website. Then, it’s time to define your brand’s personality, which should be a complete reflection of your own. Write down a few sentences about yourself and how others describe you.
- Determine the details of your ideal customer. Once you’ve rooted into the soul, vision, and personality of your brand, it’s time to consider the most important piece of your business: your customers. Remember, you are creating this for them and it’s essential to have a deep understanding of who they are, what they want, what they struggle with, and how you can help them.
- Write the way you would speak to a client. When it comes to writing the copy for your website there are two things to always keep in mind: 1) Taking your target audience on a journey. You want to meet them where they’re at, then take them by the hand and show them the transformation that’s possible when they work with you. 2) Write as though you’re having a conversation with one of them. What would make her feel comfortable, seen, understood? What does she need to know? What is going to inspire her to keep reading? Allow it to flow honestly, and the way you would speak to her. If this is a challenge, I recommend recording yourself on voice memo first and then typing it out.
Remember, the goal with all of this is to define the soul of your brand and allow everything else to be an extension of that soul: the visual design, the copy, etc. It should act as the foundation of everything you create while also keeping you rooted in the most important piece of all: why you’re doing this work in the first place.
Now I’d love to hear from you. How would you define the soul of your brand? What is your vision for it?