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What is something you want your brand to stand for? Whether you want your brand to be more accessible or inclusive, it will take more than just listing these items on your website for others to see. Brand values and brand messaging are a way for you to not only create connections and build trust with your audience and clients, but it’s also a way for you to create more of an impact in your community and to create further change. Your core values and messaging should align with how you do business daily. If you are ready to have clarity over who you are, what your business is, what you stand for, and what you want to achieve, especially as an introvert, then let’s explore the power of brand voice and brand messaging for your business.
Our guest on the podcast today is Ashlee Sang. She consults conscious and caring business owners so they can grow their impact and their revenue. Through Ashlee Sang Consulting, she equips entrepreneurs to take confident, meaningful action in alignment with their values. She believes business can feel and do good when it’s rooted in values and propelled by purpose.
Like many others in the online space, Ashlee is an accidental entrepreneur. She has a background in international development and all things communications. She previously lived in Senegal, West Africa, where her husband is from. That is also where she learned about all of the different facets of communications like internal communications, media relations, donor relations, or board relations, and being able to take a boring field report and turn it into a blog post that someone would want to read. Ashlee started freelancing on the side when her husband applied for his green card to get into the United States.
She realized that through this process for her husband, she should have something lined up job-wise since American immigration doesn’t tell you when to move as you get your green card.
So freelancing is what Ashlee began doing, and she kept doing it even after moving to the US. Her full-time career after moving was with the local Habitat for Humanity, doing community outreach and communications. Still, she loved the variety of her freelance work so much that she jumped into her business full-time, Ashlee Sang Consulting, in 2019.
She loves the freedom that comes with it, the exploration that comes with it, flexibility, and the ability to ask why and dig deeper.
The common thread in her business has always been sharing messages that matter and putting more good into the world, leading Ashlee to work with conscious and caring business owners.
What are brand values, and how can they help your business make an impact? Brand values are the foundational beliefs and overarching principles that you want your business to stand for. They are also what you want to be known for, especially concerning partnerships, pricing, audience, and marketing platform. These values inform your messaging and the types of people you aim to reach. Many people tend to skip over this step or just let their values live in a Google Doc. Instead, you want to show what it is your business stands for.
Your brand values are how you make people feel and how you feel about your business. It’s something that can be super obvious, for example, in terms of authenticity, a lip syncer who promotes doing a live show but only lip syncs. They aren’t acting in their brand value of authenticity.
Sometimes brand values aren’t as apparent, and you feel it in your gut instead.
That’s the beauty of brand values; sometimes, it’s obvious, and sometimes that soft build brings forth trust in your brand.
You need to do three things for your brand values to be known. First, you need to define what your brand stands for. The second step is that you want to establish them for your business and put them into place after determining what those things are. The third and final step is to apply them in your daily life, as it is super crucial for you as a business owner and your business as a whole.
Unless the actual value of being helpful is a part of your brand as a business, then most of the time, the word ‘help’ is a qualifying word that waters your copy down.
Are you really helping people, or are you equipping them? There are other dynamic words that you can use to qualify what you do for others and how the relationship is built. The same can be said for using the ‘I help’ statement on social media. It is a generic statement that waters down what you do for your clients or customers. So the clearer you can be with the people you want to reach, the faster it is for them to know if they’re in the right place or not.
Ashlee, for instance, uses the word equipping for what she does with her clients because she is at a strategy level, which equips her clients to implement her brand messaging strategy. What she does for her clients allows them to be then able to hire a copywriter, a website designer, or a systems person to implement that across their entire brand experience.
They become self-sufficient to use this high-level conceptualization and put it into practice by taking confident, meaningful action, as Ashlee calls it.
So how can you make what you do more dynamic, direct, and concise? The fewer words you use for your statement or your copy in general about what you do, the better off you will be.
Relationship building, especially for introverts, is a beneficial way to talk to other business owners about their story and vision behind what they do and why. You can build relationships with peers for the sake of them being in the same boat as you, people you want as referral partners, or even clients. Whatever the relationship is, you get to see a behind-the-scenes peek at someone’s business and vice versa. It can be an authentic way to get your message out into the world.
Specifically, this year for Ashlee, she has leaned into creating strategic referral partners to serve her clients more broadly and deeply than she could for them alone as a solopreneur. So even though she could figure things out on her own, some things are better suited for experts in their field, which spreads the business love and money around to everyone. It’s the best way for everyone to make good money and do good things.
Let’s make connections! Diving further into the topic of referral partners, if this is something you want to implement for your business, you want to find a way to make those connections first. You can make connections on any social media platform, like using Facebook groups, group programs, or masterminds, but Ashlee found that using Slack groups to find her community was best. However, the more in tune you are with your values, audience, and business model, the easier it is to spot good referral partners from a mile away. So in these Slack groups, she would look out for keywords like social impact, conscious business, or business for good for people who already seemed values aligned and were in some peripheral service offering to hers.
Depending on your service, you want to think of other areas that support that because your ideal client can’t just come to you for all their needs. They may also need someone after your services to fix something else that goes along with what you have done to finalize all the moving parts. These services are things you aren’t good at or don’t want to take on.
Now, it’s just a matter of reaching out to those people genuinely or authentically to see if that aligns with them.
How would you like to receive this kind of message or invitation? Once you do that, you can send off your opening message to start trying to build that relationship with them.
If you express your love for the offering they are putting out into the world, you can slowly build a relationship with them. Or maybe they won’t answer at all – which can happen, and that’s okay. These relationships can become instant friendships, as well. As long as you love to serve the same type of clients, they could be an excellent fit for you and your business.
There’s something to be said for being in a community, whatever that looks and feels like to you. Whether you create it, find it, or somewhere in between, there’s something to be said for it. Business can be lonely, especially for solopreneurs; it can be overwhelming. So whatever it is that you need from relationships, whether it’s just that business bestie to bounce ideas off of or a mastermind where you come together every week and support each other, whatever you need, and season of business you’re in, it’s important to seek that out.
However, as introverts, sometimes you can get stuck in your home office shell and stuck in your head. Outside perspective is one of the most valuable things for you as a business owner. If you are an overthinker and get lost in your thoughts, but your goal is to take confident and meaningful action to inspire others to take confident, meaningful action, you cannot do that if you are always living in your head.
When you can say something out loud to a business bestie, your life partner, coach, a consultant, whatever your needs are, it’s so important to get that outside perspective to have things reflected back to you, validated, or to ask probing questions, that outside perspective is essential to growing your business.
[1:32] How Ashlee moved out of the non-profit sector and became a Brand Messaging Strategist
[5:24] What brand values are and why they should be the foundation of your business
[9:13] Getting rid of the word ‘help’ in your copy
[14:55] Building relationships as a way to get your message out into the world
[22:21] Finding and making connections with people you want to be your referral partners
[27:46] Equipping yourself with an outside perspective to take meaningful action towards growing your business
If you enjoyed this episode, I invite you to drop a five-star rating + review with your biggest takeaway. Let’s help other introverts find this podcast for guidance and support through their introvert entrepreneur journey!
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