How To Stand Out Online Through Signature Element Branding

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When I started my business, I was just an immigrant girl with big dreams. English was not my first language, I was embarrassed by my accent, and my super curly hair made me look very different from what I envisioned to be the typical successful businesswoman. I was afraid to be me, and that impacted my ability to grow my business. It was only when I said “enough!” to my insecurities and decided to build a brand around my "not-so-typical businesswoman" personality that things started to shift. (I've even added red lipstick to the equation for some extra confidence.)

Now everybody knows me as the girl with red lips, curly hair and a distinctive accent. I know that not everyone will like me, but at least they will remember me. And that should be your goal as well -- to understand and embrace your own signature element to build a distinct and memorable brand. Here’s how to do it:

Define Your Signature Element

How would you describe yourself in no more than three sentences? Think about what fires you up, what inspires you, and what your biggest dreams are. This kind of self-knowledge will help you infuse your coaching practice with your goals and desires. Remember back in high school, when the dream was to blend in, not to stand out, and to make sure there was nothing that made you seem weird? Well, forget that! As a business owner, being different is a huge bonus, so grab on to every chance to be a little different and hang on for dear life.

If you’re having trouble describing yourself, try asking five to 10 people to describe you, focusing on your personality, your vibe and even your quirks. Lastly, list the 10 things you can do better than anyone else, and 10 things that worry you. Often, the thing that worries you, that makes you the most uncomfortable about yourself, is really the little sparkle that sets you apart. Read back through each of these responses and think about how you can incorporate these pieces of you into your business.

Use Storytelling To Attract Your Ideal Client

Having a story to share is a really powerful way to attract your dream clients. A story that’s infused into your business will impact your day-to-day work, influence your marketing content, guide how you behave (both online and off) and, done right, create an instant bond with clients. These prompts will help you shape the arc of your signature story:


  • Why do you dream of running your own business?
  • What brings you true joy?
  • What do others say you’re good at?
  • What “breaking points” have you experienced in your life and what did you learn from them?

Next, try crafting what I call the Story Sales Pitch, which will help you transform your life story into the world’s most epic pitch. First, describe in detail exactly where you currently are in your life and business. Next, look back six months ago and think about what your life and business looked like then. Keep going back six months until you reach the moment when you first planted the seeds for starting your own business. Draft a narrative describing your journey and don’t miss any twists and turns and lessons learned along the way.

Remember, all of your clients are currently on one of those steps that you’ve already completed. Your experience will resonate with them and they’ll want to know the secrets to your success. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that you’re not qualified to coach because you’re not “the finished article.” Nobody is. Transformation is relative.

Let Your Clients Tell You What Makes You Special

Now that you know your signature element, and you’ve crafted your story, it’s time to reach out to your clients for a little market research.

Create a Google Form with the following questions and send it to your current clients, past clients, and even clients of other experts in your field:

  • What, specifically, would you look for in a _______ (the expert you are)?
  • What's your experience been like when you _______ (purchased the services you offer)?
  • If you could do it all over again, what do you wish was done differently?
  • What, specifically, influences your buying decision when it comes to ______ (what it is you're selling)?
  • What would make you feel special when it comes to ______ (what it is you're selling)?

List the answers to the survey on the left side of a document, and then list your signature elements on the right. Look for things from the left (survey results) that work well/resonate with/connect to things on the right (your signature elements), and cross out anything on the left that doesn't match with your signature element.

Now it’s time to build your brand around those items that are left, focusing only those things that are compatible with your signature element and forgetting the rest. Everything in your brand should reflect those elements to ensure you stand out and build an authentic business online. Remember, you are building your business around you, not vice versa!