Branding, Business, Yoga

Branding: Getting Authentic with Just One Word

I usually update my blog on Mondays or Tuesdays.  There’s no hidden social media secret to this choice,  I just like to let my words marinate over the week. It gives me 6 days to think about the comments posted and how to address them in the next post if I need to.

Last week Two weeks ago I chit chatted about Yoga or a New Coach Bag.  I also said I would follow up the post next week talking about conversion and how to create a sales culture without feeling like a total slime ball.  Then I went and posted something else two days later and Monday was a holiday and blah blah blah. Long story short, my blog schedule is totally jacked!  I have been derailed!!

So rather than whine over my own undoing on Wednesday I sat down on my lunch break and thought about yoga + sales culture. Yoga + Business and Yoga + Profit.  I have a lot to say about all of it, and unless you’re new around here, you know I’m not usually at a loss for words.  But sales. Fuck. I just can’t stutter it out right now.

Wanna know why?  Because it all starts with branding.  I can’t talk about sales culture until I talk about branding {and mission + vision + values and all the other big picture creative dreaming things that make me jizz}.

Your Brand *ahem* right.

It ALL comes back to branding… And I haven’t blogged about branding at all!!  The irony of all of this is that I am currently in the middle of the visual branding for my new gig, The Darshana Collective. Going through this process has created light bulb explosions of insight.

And I definitely want to talk to you guys about it – but it’s going to take a while for me to collect my thoughts, reflect on them and then process them back out to you. It’ will be juicy though, I promise.


Before we talk conversion (as I promised nearly two weeks ago and so woefully let you down)  I want to start digging into branding.   Not your logo, not your color palette, your BRANDING. Whether you want to or not, you have a brand. It’s experienced through the eyes and mind of your students, members and clients. Your brand is more than your logo and color palette. It’s the sum of all your parts. The great stuff, the ugly pieces and the juicy bits. It’s the personality of your biz and that personality is what attracts people to you.

If you can tap into your personality, you will build your brand.  Try to come up with one adjective for your business, and then begin to build your brand from there.  Make sure everything you do to brand your business relates back to that word – your logo, your copy, your voice, your mission. Everything. The more it relates back to your one word, the more authentic your brand will be.

Lets play make believe and put this little idea into practice.

You on a yoga studio. You’re totally type A. You’re determined. You’re confident. You’re bold and you’re ready to change the world yesterday. Your chosen word is fierce.  At your studio, you have two types of ideal students.  The first are men. They’re coming to yoga because even though their CrossFit training has them ripped their quads are in knots, the IT band is ready to pop and they’re looking for just a little bit of peace.  The second are women. They’re feeling a little lost a little run down. They come to your studio to practice yoga because they want to feel empowered, confident and bold. They want the prowess of their youth.

It wouldn’t be in line with your brand (personality) to develop a logo based upon a water lily, utilizing a color palette of soft greens, pinks and yellows. A word like fierce deserves a powerful logo – a tiger in bold colors.  Your messaging should be powerful, bold and determined.  It should reflect your personality and speak to your PRFs!

Your brand a reflection of YOU, make it authentic. <~~~ TWEET IT!

Just start with authenticity.  Let go of the fake.  Who are you? What do you do? Who do you do it for? Why do you do it? What do you want people to know about you? What are the key messages you want people to know about your biz?  Let go of trying to advertise and be something you’re not.  Dig in to what makes you + your studio tick.

Figure out your one word.

Branding, Business, Yoga

Yogini Stylin + Geeky Virgo Post-it Notes

Today I was wasting precious morning moments on Facebook.  (Yes, it’s a time sucker, but it’s also an integral part of growing your business, and this social media junkie loves it).  I  am a member of a ton of Facebook Groups (probably too many) but I am pretty active in a couple of yoga ones. Some I use for networking + marketing, some I use for masterminding + collaboration and some I use for learning + continued education.  Today in one of my Yoga Mastermind groups a fellow yogini asked:

What about you sets you apart from other yogis? What do you do/not do, think/not, or feel/not that is less than typical? Anything? ((Here’s a lighthearted one from me, just to provide an example: I do very few -if any at all- sun salutes in my personal practice.))

It really got me thinking – what about me makes me different?

So I made a little list in my head. (Ok. I lied. I actually wrote out the on pen + post it. I am a Virgo and we do this a lot, lists + organization is a turn on.  We’re weird, but you couldn’t live without us. You’re lucky I didn’t color code the post-it!)

Virgos dig lists + post-its
Virgos dig lists + post-its
  • I don’t look like most yoga teachers.
  • Most of my yoga is practiced off the mat.
  • I  am influenced by many but don’t subscribe to any one guru’s philosophy.
  • I am influenced by many but don’t practice any one style (ie Bikram, Ashtanga, Kripalu, Jivamukti) I’ve developed,  practice and teach my own style, Darshana Yoga.
  • Music and intuition are integral to my style of asana practice at home and in studio.
  • I am a little silly, a little organized, and usually more sassy than fluffy.
  • I am touchy-feely. You will receive multiple hands-on adjustments, massage and pressure points in my class (if you don’t object).
  • I teach classes to evoke emotion and hopefully transformation. You’re not coming to church when you attend my classes, but you’re definitely getting more than just a little exercise, breathing and stretching.

Then I responded:

As far as my studio teaching is concerned, I don’t look like your average teacher.  I am known for my very non-yogic, quirky play lists (ie: Tribe Called Quest followed by Tony Bennett), tailoring my classes to musical themes (ie: all song about sunshine in a solstice class, all songs with the word “heart” in a valentines day class etc.) and mixing Yin style of sinking into postures with Soul Sweat . It’s really all about connecting the breath + movement with the music whether it’s upbeat or mellow – to create transformation of some kind for me. I spend a LOT of time on play lists. If the music changes, I may just have you SINK into virabhadrasana ii for 10 even 20 counts. And nope. I am not a trained dancer.

 How the heck did I develop my style of teaching? Why do students try my classes? And why do they come back? It all boils down to one thing, personality.  I bring my authentic personality to everything I do whether it’s teaching yoga, negotiating a contract or running a business. Who you are is essential to your success. We can certainly ‘fake it until we make it’ but we cant pretend to be someone we’re not.  Developing your voice as a teacher is the essence of what attracts students to your class.

(knowing WTF you’re doing and keeping students safe is also a bonus)

If you’re a new teacher or even a seasoned teacher that is struggling with class numbers, take a look at how you live your life and interact with people (friends + family) off the mat. Is it drastically different than how you teach (and speak) on the mat?  Why? How can you take your yoga off the mat and what can you do to infuse your on the mat with your off the mat personality? Your students want to be guided in an authentic way. They will see straight through you if you rely on the personality or words of someone else (or even your own favorite teacher).

Find your Inner-Superstar
Find your Inner-Superstar

Developing the signature style of your voice isn’t quite as easy as it seems. Teaching metaphors are an art form.  Developing them takes practice.  I’ve heard a few teachers of a certain style of yoga use  “puff your kidneys” and “blossom your buttocks.”  Seriously. I snorted typing that last one, do you think I could personally get away with using it in class? NEVER. I’d end up in a fit of laughter or go off on a 5 minute tangent about my flowering asshole. (We all know I secretly have the sense of humor of a 14 year old boy). Totes not cool.

The point is, that language wouldn’t be authentic to me. I didn’t come up with the metaphor. I can’t really relate to puffing my kidneys (they filter, they don’t breathe!) and I would never use the word buttocks.  Yeah Dave wouldn’t have the following he does if he didnt gush about how much he loves chocolate + wine and every so often craves a Parliament Light after a few cocktails. Can you imagine Snatam Kaur talking about wanting a smoke ever in this lifetime, let alone after a few cocktails?  Preposterous! Think about, connect with and develop your own yoga script. Use imagery, descriptive words and music that you’re comfortable with.

Just be you.