I’ve written before about moving beyond the basics of color palettes and logos and truly branding your business from the ground up; this week, we’ll cover the reason and mechanics of brandscaping your business.
Brandscaping: landscaping your business to match your inner game.Britney Gardner
I want to break that down a bit to lay the groundwork for the mechanics of brandscaping.
As a personal brand, your business is an extension of you. It’s why one of the first questions I ask in brand foundation work is, “Who are you?” This isn’t a question asking what your name is and how old you are and where you live. It’s a question asking, why do you matter?
Heavy, yes. What are you bringing to the table in your work? Who are you as it relates to the work you do?
I’ve used the example of realtors many times in explaining this concept because it’s easy to understand. If you’re a first-time homebuyer and you’re unsure of the process, you don’t know all the steps, and you know you’re going to make assumptions you shouldn’t make and ask questions others might think to be dumb questions, what kind of realtor would you choose? Would you go for the flashy realtor with slick marketing but little bedside manner, or would you choose the nurturing realtor who takes time to educate you?
A few years ago, my husband and I hired a lovely realtor named George, who took the time to show us a few things to look for as we were looking at houses, some of them fixer-uppers. One of the items was walking across an empty room’s floor to see if there were any noticeable dips in the flooring, as it could indicate a foundation issue. I can tell you; this is not a question that would have occurred to me. He took the initiative to educate me, and I appreciated it.
In this realtor example, the inner game is nurturing. The brand is warm and inviting to match their inner game.
Let’s talk a bit about landscaping.
Every home, every building, has landscaping. In that context, you understand exactly what I mean. The affluent neighborhoods may have more extensive and expensive landscaping, sure. Still, even apartment complexes show signs of landscaping with doormats and wreaths that add character to the unending beige hallways.
You landscape your front or backyard the way you choose to be seen. It’s a statement of who you are.
Without getting judgy, can we agree for the moment that everyone has the ability to landscape? I’m not talking about elaborate flora and fauna that requires round-the-clock care, because that’s a small percentage. Basic yard care requires a small amount of time and minimal money.
Therefore, if you choose not to landscape, it’s a matter of priorities.
When you landscape your home, it presents an image for the world. It invites people in… or not. It says you’re modern and eclectic, or it says you like privacy hedges to separate your home from public space, or you want to blend in with the crowd and not stand out from other houses on the street. It says you appreciate craftsmanship, or you’re a bit tired these days, and maybe a few weeds are unattended even though the rest of the yard is in good shape.
Brandscaping your business is the same.
You can boldly proclaim what you stand for and show the true you as a part of your business, or you can blend in with a watered-down message that sounds exactly like the next coach down the road.
You can quietly push your agenda and build upon a branded foundation and create small waves in your industry with a brandscaped business. It doesn’t have to be an intense portrayal of everything to make an impact. Match your business to your goals and values to make it happen!
The landscape is everything you can see, everything one can observe. Ensure everything your best clients see or touch in your business is “on brand” and aligns with your values.
In her book Mindset, Carol Dweck retells the tortoise and the hare parable from her perspective of fixed and growth mindsets. She says, “As children, we were given a choice between the talented but erratic hare and the plodding but steady tortoise. The lesson was supposed to be that slow and steady wins the race. But really, did any of us ever want to be the tortoise? No, we just wanted to be a less foolish hare.”
She says this sets up a false idea we teach children that the slow and steady only wins when the talented people slip up. Talented people will always win unless they stop trying because “after all, everyone knows you have to show up in order to win.”
Her premise: those with a growth mindset realize they can always become better with grit and work.
Brandscaping is based on that premise as well.
When you put in a solid brand foundation that answers the questions, who are you, who do you serve, and how do you serve them, that’s the slow and steady work.
If you’ve been in business for a while and you’re not making headway and not achieving your goals, it’s almost always a brand clarity issue. And you can address those issues by going back to your brand foundation.
It feels like going back to basics, I know. And it IS the basics. But if you either skipped those basics when you were in bootstrapping startup mode, or you glossed over them and didn’t answer them with depth, those foundation cracks will grow larger over time.
Your brand has to match your inner game to attract the kind of clients for whom you can do great work.
You can replace the word brand with business, offer, program, and marketing. The statement is right for them all.
But to be the smarter hare, you have to brandscape and apply your brand foundation in the next three branding questions: what to say, where to say it, and how to show up visually to attract your best client.
How do you brandscape? What are the mechanics?
You turn your words and pictures into a code. This code is a filter. The filter lets your best clients through, invites them into a brandscaped business they are attracted to. The filter also tells other potential clients who won’t be a good fit for you to keep looking.
The most important job your well-defined brand does is act as a gatekeeper.
Those who respond to the words you use are most likely to receive your guidance, your instruction, your products, and services. The same goes for photos and graphics. When you have a mindset match with clients, you lean into the same things. You’re more likely to continue communicating in the same ways as you work together.
There are also people out there, potential clients who are looking for the service you provide and they’re not a good match for you. It could be for big huge reasons, and it could be for small, seemingly petty things. But sometimes those things you and I would consider petty–say, they don’t trust people who look younger than them–lead to trust issues that will undermine your ability to help them. You can’t create the impact you desire if they don’t trust you to lead them.
In cases like this, your photo of you with two braids a la Pippi Longstocking is part of your filter. A potential client sees it, clicks away, and ends up finding someone who can help them elsewhere. Your filter gently releases them to a better outcome for both you and them.
It takes confidence to brandscape.
You must, absolutely must understand that you will lose some clients along the way. And that is okay. It’s not only okay; it’s what you need.
If you are currently hurting for money, this is not sitting well with you because you know you could have helped one more client and received money need from that client, if you hadn’t posted that photo.
Courage here because you need to understand deep within you–that client will be better served by someone else.
Courage here because while you spent 150% of your effort with this client, trying to find a better way to reach them when your normal methods weren’t hitting the way they usually do, you could have been working with better-match clients.
I’ve collected a list of “petty” reasons I’ve seen on FB and IG over the last few weeks. These are all reasons a person wouldn’t hire someone, didn’t trust their opinion, or complaints.
- they posted a picture of them drinking a glass of wine
- they don’t have kids, so they don’t understand my time constraints
- I’m a Christian, and she’s a witch and can’t be trusted
- they said “all lives matter”
- They posted a known hoax and FB and didn’t fact-check
- he’s fat
- I don’t buy from people who can’t use they’re and their properly
- She’s too pretty to work hard at this
You might agree with one entirely and laugh at another, thinking it’s a ludicrous reason to unfollow someone. But know this: while it’s silly to you, someone else believes in it enough not to buy. And if the beliefs are strong enough to affect their ability to learn from you, they are NOT your client.
Brandscaping is to take what it feels like to work with you, and put it into words and pictures your best client will resonate with so that they pay more attention to you.
Building your know, like and trust factor depends on them hesitating before they continue scrolling. Moving along the know, like, and trust journey requires their interest and attention. Staying on that journey requires brandscaping.
Ready to level up in who you’re working with? It’s time to brandscape your business. The Biz GPS Intensive helps you answer all 6 of the Brandscaping Method questions AND put them into a 6-month marketing plan.