Are You Building a Business or a Brand?

In this episode, Brandi Matthews discusses the difference between building a brand versus building a business. And debunking the notion about creating a perfect image of your brand based only on colors and fonts. And why you should strive to create a values-based personal brand. 

  • Why you should think about your business as a baby. 
  • Building a business versus building a brand.
  • What does building a personal brand means to a therapist and why it is very important.


Today's episode is all about the concept of building a brand versus building a business. Stay tuned to hear about what I feel like the real difference is in creating a brand versus business, and why we want to strive to create a values-based personal brand.

Thank you so much for joining us. Today, we are talking about building a business or a brand. And I really wanted to look at the way we think about our business or our brand, and the terminology that we use to describe what we do and why we choose those words. Because as therapists, even as an attorney, there is a great deal of importance attached to the language that we use.

And the words that we use to describe something has a lot of meaning, and many words carry a lot of emotional weight to them. And so I think it's important for us to choose our words carefully. And that also comes into play when we are talking about our business and what we do.

So first of all, I want to talk a little bit about the concept of our business as a baby. It was something we hear all the time. We hear people talk about something that is very important to them that they have put a lot of labor into. That they have worked hard to create and refer to that as their baby.

And it makes sense, especially for those of us who are parents. Obviously, parenting is very challenging, very difficult. And there are a few things if any in the world that we care about more than our children. When we talk about our business or our brand being our baby, I think there's some truth to that common analogy. So the truth is that it does feel like our baby we put a lot of time a lot of effort, a lot of vision that goes into creating this and dreaming what we want it to be and what we want it to look like after we put into ensuring that all of that comes to fruition.

But here's the truth that I think we sometimes neglect to acknowledge. And that is babies grow up, right? Our children don't stay our children forever. They grow up, they become increasingly independent as teens as an adult, they become hopefully completely independent, right? And so we get to the point when parenting and raising children, we start to do a lot less hand-holding and we start to feel the fear of I hope I guided enough, I hope I instill enough wisdom that now they're going to be able to make their own decisions and be independent and do the right thing.

And then we start to step back and through the teen years, we start to be a little bit more hands-off and move into a little bit more of an oversight and a role of guidance and then into adulthood the relationship changes again, right? And we aren't necessarily telling our adult children what decisions to make.

So when we think of our business or our brand, we need to think of it in those terms that someday it's going to become self-sustaining something independent of us that it will be a legacy that we created, but it's not our baby, it's no longer our baby, it's not reliant on us.

So let's talk about the terminology of building a business versus building a brand. And I think that there's a lot of talks these days about building a brand from a marketing perspective. And I think oftentimes this is looked at in terms of aesthetics, whether that branding, colors, funds, etc, but creating this image other brands. And that is not necessarily what I am talking about right now. What I am talking about is building a brand that stands for something.

And this is why I say that we want to build a brand, not a business. Business is a term that I think of as being very logical and analytics-driven. It's a numbers thing. We can have a business in a lot of different industries. Building a brand, particularly a personal brand, is something I think is really important to us as therapists because your brand stands for something. When people hear that name when they see your information, they associate something with you that is your brand.

So what do you stand for and as a personal brand, in an industry such as therapy, which is incredibly relationship-based right? This isn't something where someone is having a relationship with a company, they are having a relationship with a person. And it's a very personal and intimate relationship at that.

So when you're building a brand, I think a lot of thought goes into what you want your brand to stand for, whether that's integrity, whether that's family, whether that's rock, solid relationships, any number of things, but I think that is so important for us. Because then all of our messaging should really convey that brand. It should convey what we stand for.

And that should be the guiding principle for the impact that we want to make. And it should also relate to who we want to serve and how we serve them. So ultimately, our brand is going to be what sets us apart and what makes us unique and we can have five or ten therapists with the exact same niche, and the exact same modality, and there's going to be something about each of those therapists that makes them unique.

And that is going to be what they want to base their brand off of because that's going to resonate with certain clients in a different way than another therapist who does the exact same thing is going to resonate with other clients. And so I think we want to really zero in on the idea of creating a values-based brand as opposed to just creating a business.

Now, that's not to say that the logic piece and the analytics piece, as far as looking at our profitability isn't important because it is that's incredibly important, but we need to look at something bigger than that is not just about business. It's about the brand because what we do is personal. It is meaningful. It is emotional and relationship-based.

So when you're thinking about creating your brand and your impact, I think the question becomes what do you want to be known for? And how do you want to do it? What is going to be the values that your brand is associated with? Obviously, to have an impact, you have to get your message out there.

But you're going to want to do it in a specific way that feels good to you and aligns with the values that you have and feels like it's integrity with who you are, and what your brand stands for. And that's the question I'm going to leave you with today. And that is what do you want your brand to be known for? And what values do you want people to associate with your brand?

I think once we can get clarity around those two questions, everything else as far as building our personal brand starts to really fall into place. And I think that's whether we are working on growing our practice, or whether we're working on moving on to things beyond the practice. I think if we've got extreme clarity around our brand, all the other pieces fall into place as long as we focus on what aligns with our brand.

So I'm going to leave you with those two questions today. And I would love to hear your feedback on what you feel like your brand stands for and what you want your brand to be known for. Thank you so much for joining us today. Make sure that you subscribe so you can join us in the future as well. Bye, all.

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