Many aspects of your role models, the ones you draw your inspiration from, are actually qualities that you reflect. The difference is that they have learned how to draw it out of themselves and put it on display for the world to see.
When you are going through the process of discovering what you want your brand to reflect, one of the most helpful ways is to look to your role models.
The three aspects of a role model that I use to help create a client’s brand story are these:
Notice that none of these has to do with the look and feel of their website, or the graphics that they put on social media. What we are looking for is the heart behind the skin of the brand. Think of three or four role models, the ones that you devour every blog post or Instagram update, and follow along with me:
How does your role model speak/write/etc.? Are they mega-motivational with a kick-ass-and-don’t-take-names attitude, or do they have a soft-spoken and encouraging voice, taking your concerns and walking you through them until they aren’t a big deal at all?
The tone of your role models’ voices gives you some insight into how you get inspired and motivated. Some people need that kick in the pants to get going, and others get overwhelmed when presented with up front and in your face motivation.
If you are in the latter group, then you aren’t going to want your brand to scream and shout. Instead, your brand should be the strong and still type that makes people lean in closer to your message.
Lisa Butler from Elembee is a fantastic example of this. Her blog posts are very quiet and conversational in tone, but she walks you through intimidating things like setting up your first email list in such an easy way, that you end up feeling like it was no big deal all along!
What kind of atmosphere does their website/social media/Facebook community have? What draws you back there time after time?
If we think of a brand’s voice like a person talking, then a brand’s atmosphere is like that person’s home. It reflects the person that lives there with every picture, knick-knack, and design choice within its walls.
Let me give you an example…
Regina from ByRegina.com is a creative coach and all around awesome chick. I mean, anyone who calls themselves a ninja in their intro has to be a role model of mine 😉 Her website is put together in a way that lets you know that she takes her business seriously, but presents it with a bit of quirk and personality. It completely puts you at ease and makes you want to stick around for more.
If you spend any time reading her blog posts (and you should because they are amazing!) you will see that come through in the way she writes. Definitely more in the mega-motivational zone, you leave her post feeling like you can (and should) do everything she talked about, whether it is starting a freelance business or creating an entire mini-course from initial concept to ready to launch in 12 hours .
When you discover the kind of atmosphere you are drawn to, it will help you realize the kind of atmosphere that you want to create for your brand. You can take inspiration from the way the atmosphere makes you feel and expand on it to put your own special twist on it.
What is your role model’s core message? If you were to sum up your role model’s mission in one sentence, what would it be? Why does that message resonate so strongly with you?
When a brand truly connects with their core message, it becomes the foundation that you can build everything else on.Colors, fonts, and graphics are only the trappings that help everyone else connect with that message that you are sharing with the world.When a brand truly connects with their core message, it becomes the foundation that you can build everything else on. Click To Tweet
This one might take a bit to discover. Some brands put their core message right in their tagline, and others might not have it in print anywhere at all but it should be felt in everything they put out. The same should be said for your brand.
Why the message resonates with you is important. It is not about copying their message and making it yours, but about your response to their message and how it connects to your own life. Your role models might be in completely different lines of work, but their messages impacts you because they all want to help you move forward with your life in some way or another.
PULLING IT ALL TOGETHER
The answers for each of these questions can be vastly different for each role model because they are all different people, but when you put them all together and summarizing the qualities that stand out, you will see patterns start to emerge.
Some of my role models, the ones who I cannot wait to hear from and want to be like in some way are Emily P Freeman, Joanna Gaines, Lisa Butler, and Ree Drummond. Their careers range from authors to web designer/bloggers, from home designers to TV chefs, but in going through the questions above and summarizing them all together I found these threads all together:
They all have conversational and encouraging voices, ones that make you feel like you could sit down and have a cup of coffee with, not ones that sound like you are listening to a speaker on a stage.
Their communities are home-like, with a bit (or a lot) of quirk and personality that shows that they don’t take themselves too seriously.
Their messages are all different, but the core of them all is that they all share their passions and talents with the world, breaking them down in a way that is not only accessible but completely attainable for you to do as well.
I see myself in every single paragraph of this summary. In fact, this is exactly how I would want my brand to be summarized if someone else was working through these questions about me. As you can see, this set of questions is less about your role models themselves and more about how their brands make you feel.
Oh, this is such a neat topic. I’ve have a few bloggers and writers that I really admire, but I’ve never spent much time looking at why I admire them so much. It would be cool to spend an afternoon looking at these three aspects for a handful of role models and see what patterns emerge and how I can take advantage of that.
Thanks Robyn! As I was writing this post, I did exactly what you said and took an afternoon to really see what patterns emerged and what it said about my business. It was so cool to see how I could translate those things to my brand and make my voice stronger as a result! Please let me know what you find out with it!