Branding: the missing piece of your yoga-business puzzle! 

If you’re someone who has been spooked by marketing because you feel like you don’t know what to say (other than promoting your classes and offerings), it might be because you’ve skipped an essential business step: branding. 
> Cue the sceptical thought: “But isn’t branding just colour schemes and logos?” 
Absolutely not, and this misunderstanding is exactly why I presume most people overlook branding. 
Branding is the heart and soul of your business. It encompasses your mission and vision (your ‘why’), and your unique professional identity. 
One of the world’s leading business and leadership coaches, Simon Sinek, teaches his globally renowned Why theory: ‘people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it’. 
This theory articulates the essence of branding: that people tend to look for more than just a product. They look for people, products, and services that connect them to something bigger than themselves; something bigger than the problem they’re trying to solve. In our case, people are looking for a yoga teacher who aligns with their values and ideals. This is because, as Simon explains in support of his Why theory, people tend to do things that prove what they believe. 
This is why it’s so important to be clear on why you do what you do, who you do it for, and the bigger impact you’re striving to make. When you have this clarity, your vision and passion organically permeate everything you do. It creates a unique presence and perspective that sets you apart from others in your industry, while simultaneously allowing your tribe-to-be easily determine if you’re the teacher they’re looking for. 
This is why when we fail to clarify our brand, we often struggle to create impactful, effective marketing. 
(I always remind yoga teachers, ‘first comes the branding, and then comes the marketing!’) 
Don’t worry if you don’t have experience in branding. The core of what you need to have in place comes directly from you — your experience, your expertise, your why. And, by being thoughtful about your brand, it will be easier to create consistent content and visuals that support your message and unique value, while allowing you to fully express yourself with clarity and confidence. 
Here are 5 simple steps to get you started in creating your brand foundations. Download and save your branding cheat-sheet as a business resource for ongoing use as your brand evolves. 

Step One: Develop Your Mission Statement 

A good Mission Statement effectively connects a business with its target market in one sentence. To develop your Mission Statement, think about why your business exists and what makes you different from other businesses in your industry. Create a statement that clearly describes why your business exists. 

Step Two: Develop Your Vision Statement 

Your Vision Statement speaks of your bigger picture intention. Where is your business headed? What is the impact you wish to make? There is no need to inflate your vision for the sake of marketing. Try to think, if you continue to carry out your mission, what will the long-term effect be on the world? Create a statement that clearly describes the impact your business is trying to make. 
Step Three: Define Your Solution 
When purchasing, we’re all just looking for a solution to our problems. People signup for yoga-related services for so many reasons: stress relief, connection, time-out, healthcare, community, the list goes on. What problem/s do your services solve? What needs do your community have, and how do you fulfil them? 

Step Four: Define Your Brand Persona 

Your Brand Persona is the voice of your brand. It includes both the way you say things as well as your boundaries about what you will or will not talk about. Your Brand Persona is usually defined by your beliefs, likes and dislikes, tone in communication, and how you portray yourself — the way you speak, dress, your customer experience, etc. 

Step Five: Create Visual Impact 
When creating your visual style, consider the following: which colours do you feel would represent your brand, and why? What do you want your logo to symbolise? Which fonts best represent your brand? What kind of imagery are you planning to use when representing your brand? Consider both photography and videography. 

Download your free copy of Branding Cheat Sheet 

By Samantha Hewinson, Chair of Yoga as a Business Working Group