As you have probably heard about by now, at The Social Brand, we break everything down into two categories - branding and marketing. To learn more about this breakdown and what this means, check out our blog on The Cycle of Promoting your Business by clicking here.

Branding is broken down into three major columns: market position, messaging and your brand's look and feel.

In many cases, these three things are the difference between your brand getting to work with a certain customer and your competition getting to work with that customer.

Your Brand's Messaging

Messaging is a lot more than the words on your website or what you say on social media. Rather, it's the overall tone that you use and really, it's how you set expectations of how your company will interact with your customers. I've found over and over again in working with brands that by adjusting your messaging is probably one of the most important things you can do.

Content is everything from the words, pictures and videos put out by your brand. Together, content makes up what we call messaging. It's the common themes that are present in all of your content, in all of your photographs and videos.

Messaging is how you talk to your customers online and in-person. It's probably the one thing that is the difference between you or your competition getting the sale. That's why it's so important. We're really talking about the strategy about you project yourself and your brand into the world.

It's how you tell your story and it's how you connect with people you want to do business with. It's also how you attract leads and good community partners.

Your Brand's People

The first thing I tell people when we talk about messaging is that you have to start with your people. "Everything about business is social." It's our tagline here and I really, really believe it. I see it proven it over and over again working with brands. How can you decide the tone of your business or really even what to say when you have no idea who your people are? That's why we recommend starting with your customer personas and really begin to understand who the people you want to work with are. Think about the following:

If you're doing business with a bunch of mama's in the south - having a bit of a Southern twang to your messaging probably isn't a bad idea. However, if you're doing business with mainly Millennials who love clean lines and sarcastic humor - you know how to talk and you know how your imagery should look as well! See how easy this is?

A lot of people get caught up on this, too! "How will I know? Do you have resources you can recommend to learn this? What should I Google?!" Yes, I have a fabulous resource to recommend! Your customers! Take your clients out for a cup of coffee. Tell them, "Hey, I really like to do business with you. I'd like to do business with more people like you- do you mind if I take you out for a cup of coffee and ask you some questions?" (Most people will say yes, every time!) Or if you're in a faster pace business - ask people questions as you check them out or as you deliver your products to them. Conversation is your most valuable tool in getting to know your people.

Once you've identified who your customer is, what's important to them, what they respond to and what their pain points are - it should be fairly easy to choose the proper tone and voice for your business. Should you be:

Once you've identified the proper tone of your brand, coming up with the correct messaging becomes a much easier process! Now, we know what perspective we're telling your story. Of course, I'll recommend "Building Your StoryBrand" by Donald Miller here because this book teaches exactly this. If you haven't read it (or listened to the audiobook) do it now, trust me.

The Ideal Employee

The next tip we recommend when it comes to messaging is a mental exercise of constructing the ideal employee in your head. Answer questions such as:

If you can construct this ideal employee in your head (or on paper), you've really identified your messaging guide! It's as simple as that.

I hope this was helpful, but as always - if you have questions, reach out. That's what we're here for!

Physical Health + Mental Health = Whole Health (in Life and in Business)

“No Body. No Business,” says Kate Northrup, entrepreneur, speaker and writer whose latest book Do Less, explores the lessons she learned about how to maintain or even increase the financial results of her business during her first pregnancy and the first year(s) of her daughter’s life. Penelope had a skin condition that kept her from sleeping. In pure survival mode, Kate had to focus on the few activities that were mission critical to her business that only she could do. And she also learned to work with her body, instead of against it. 

The image of the successful entrepreneur in our culture is one who is willing to sacrifice everything--sleep, food, exercise, relationships, and so on--with the hopes of a big payday at some point in the “imaginary future” as my yoga teacher, Cindy Dollar, likes to say. Even if you aren’t looking for a big exit from your business, the lines between business and personal can become easily blurred; particularly if you are passionate about your work. 

Chances are, you are wearing numerous hats and spinning what feels like a million plates at any given time. If you have a team, it is small and possibly stretched thin too. And, if you have a team, you feel responsible for their livelihood too. Anything less than 200% commitment to your business feels like you just aren’t serious (or so our culture would tell you). 

And if you are getting great results from a little effort, what could you accomplish or earn with MORE effort?!?! One of the important lessons I learned from my first professional adventure is that more isn’t always better. But that wisdom is so very easy to forget in the daily churn for revenue and results. 

So, back to Kate’s powerful statement. No Body. No Business. 

If you are like I used to be, you expect your body to do what you tell it to do; preferably without complaining. But that isn’t actually realistic. Or kind. 

And, if you are like me, you may have spent a number of years (or perhaps most of your life) operating as if your body and your mind aren’t actually connected at the neck. Like what happens in our head happens in isolation from our body; and vice versa. 

What is actually true is that our bodies and our minds are inextricably interdependent. If our body is not well, it will begin to affect our mental health. And if our minds aren’t well, it will affect our bodies. And if our bodies and minds are not well, then we cannot perform. And if our bodies and minds are not well, then what are we doing all of this for anyway?!


According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness:

1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year

1 in 25 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year

1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year

Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34 


The statistics for entrepreneurs are even more stunning. According to a study by Michael Freeman, entrepreneurs are 50% more likely to report having a mental health condition. We don’t yet know the underlying causality of such a statistic, but, according to Freeman’s study, company Founders are even at greater risk:


Mental health, just like physical health, exists on a spectrum. We can invest in our mental health just like we can invest in physical health. And when we invest in our mental health and our physical health, we promote our overall well-being and the well-being of our business(es).

Chronic stress, without adequate recovery, can become toxic for the body; resulting in a host of physical, mental and emotional illness and injuries. We have four energetic anchors: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. In each of these areas, we can build our capacity by stretching beyond our comfort zone and then engaging in adequate recovery activities. And, in each of these areas, if we continually stress ourselves, without adequate recovery, we can find ourselves burned out, injured, and potentially even chronically or mentally ill. I know a little bit about burnout and mental illness, because I have my own crash and burn story

While I am predisposed toward mental illness due to adverse childhood experiences, I was able to perform at an extremely high level personally and professionally for about twenty years before my body and mind collapsed under the weight of decades of stress and exertion without adequate rest and recovery.

Now, I understand that stress management, resilience, and well-being are muscles that can be built by small acts performed consistently over time. The strategies that work best for you, are specific to you. Even so, there are some powerful principles that you can build into your life and work, right now:


1. Acknowledge our HUMAN needs (including community and connection)

While our culture seems to reward those who appear (from at least the outside) to be superhuman, more and more celebrities and athletes are coming forward to share their stories. As human beings, we are biologically wired for community and connection. We cannot thrive without it. As Arianna Huffington writes in her book Thrive, we need to add multiple dimensions to our definition of success-- expanding beyond money and power--if are to truly thrive.


2. Recalibrate exertion/recovery across the four energetic anchors (mental, physical, emotional, spiritual) on a regular basis

Just like a muscle, which experiences micro tears when we put it under stressful load, and then gets stronger when we rest and recovery, we can build our capacity in all four energetic anchors by regularly stretching that capacity and then engaging in rest and recovery activities. Any time that I did spend investing in my own energy during my first two careers was focused in the physical realm. And the activities that I chose often added extraordinary levels of stress (e.g., crossfit and endurance events) to my already stressed system. For more on recovery practices within each of the four areas, you can download my one-page recovery cheat sheet here. 


3. Treat recovery strategies like your life and business depend on them (they do)

It is so easy for us to convince ourselves that work is more urgent and important than anything we might do to take care of ourselves. A wise woman told me once that a tree’s canopy is essentially a mirror reflection of its root system. If the canopy is lush, expansive, and healthy, so is the root system. If the tree is dying above the ground, so is its root system. Your investment back into your own root system and the nutrients flowing through those roots, will ultimately determine your results.


4. Periodic check-ins with ourselves and the support people in our lives (particularly as life circumstances change)

Change adds stress to our lives. Even “good” change, like getting a promotion, getting married, having children, or buying a home. Each time there are changes in your personal or professional life, give yourself permission to check-in with the people in your support system. Do you need to discuss the allocation of responsibilities? Take some things off your plate? Add resources? I used to act like I was supposed to take all these changes in stride, and that I didn’t actually need more resources or fewer responsibilities in order to restore balance and sustainability. Engage the people in your life to help you process how you can recalibrate for your overall well-being.


5. ASK FOR HELP--organization, family friends, professionals 

You are not alone. And you don’t have to go through this thing called life alone. Sometimes, the things we are dealing with in our lives are just bigger than us. And that is NORMAL. And HUMAN. I convinced myself for years that I had to go through the world (and face my mental illness) alone and it almost cost me my life. Restoring health or finding a path toward healing and possibly remission is work that happens over time and is best done with a continuum of care and resources. There is no magic bullet. But there is hope. I have linked some mental health resources below. Asking for help is one of the very bravest, strongest things you will ever do in your life.


September was Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and October 10th is World Mental Health Day.