Rose, Brooke, and Melanie are all certified life coaches.
In fact, they are all certified from the same school of training.
They’re all hovering around 40 years old, they all have kids in elementary school, and they all practice yoga. They all like to blog from their favorite indie coffee shops, and their coaching businesses are (so far) all one-woman shows. No Virtual Assistants (yet), no web designers hired and paid for. Rose, Brooke, and Melanie are that PTA-going, DIY-blogging, Anthropologie-scoping, kicking-back-in-sweatpants-with-the-hubs-on-a-Saturday night kind of solopreneuring women. [Hat tip to Hannah Marcotti and her Friday blog posts for the construction of that last sentence.]
On paper, these women’s lives appear quite similar, and (one might assume) their values with regards to being coaches are similar, too. To boot, all three women move in the same online space, share overlapping blog readerships and Twitter followerships, and are ‘known’ by the same crew.
So how, pray tell, do Rose, Brooke, and Melanie begin to make their brand conversations stand out from each other’s?
First, let’s think about standout brands: what do we know about them?
They feel authentic.
They look unique.
They deliver consistently.
They act in integrity with what their brand promises.
And true standout brands sound only like themselves. They’ve got an unmistakable voice — not one that appeals to everybody, but one that appeals to its Right Person.
Think of the Superstar Brands you yourself know about in your niche, or in related niches. They have their imitators, but no one pulls off moxie/madcap/sexy/vulnerable/hilarious/ballsy/intellectual quite like they do.
Luckily for Rose, Brooke, Melanie, and their respective Right People, they’ve discovered their Voice Values.
They have words for what makes them sound only like themselves, when they’re being themselves. When they’re writing from a place of true conviction, a point of empathy with their Right People readers and prospective buyers.
Their brand conversations have handles that their Right People can hold on to, to pull themselves up with.
They know how to layer their Voice Values in a way that makes their messaging stand out from all the rest.
Let’s take a closer look.
When it comes to the coaching process, all three women say that they value mutual trust, openness to the process, and a spirit of inquiry. All of them create a safe space for their clients to do the deep work of personal transformation. All of them say their clients are engaged in a process of getting to know themselves in a new and important way, and really stepping into whatever work in the world is theirs to do.
All three women like and admire each other, but are scared to death that they will never be able to blog about something other than what the other two are blogging about, and Brooke is by far the strongest writer, so her articles will blow everyone else’s out of the water. Rose is the funniest, so she’s a blast and a half on Twitter and Facebook. And Melanie is beautiful and charismatic and has a really compelling video presence, so she’s a favorite of interviewees.
Fortunately, their Voice Values, even with some Values overlapping between the three of them, shake out differently enough that they can have three very different-sounding, different-feeling, different-landing brand conversations with a similar readership, without fearing that they’re losing any of the idiosyncratic stuff that makes them them.
- Rose’s Top 3 Voice Values are Clarity, Helpfulness, and Playfulness. Her brand conversation is clear, easily accessible, focused on being a resource for readers, and full of humor.
- Brooke’s Top 4 Voice Values are Love, Transparency, then Intimacy and Innovation, which are tied. Her brand conversation is heartfelt, soft, and nurturing, shot through with bolts of exciting inventiveness.
- Melanie’s Top 5 Voice Values are a two-way tie between Audacity and Helpfulness, followed by a tie between Intimacy and Depth, and in fifth place, Clarity. Her brand conversation is bold yet supportive. She moves in close and goes deep, focusing on presenting ideas as simply as possible.
Understanding how and where their Voice Values naturally and spontaneously occur when they’re writing, dreaming up content, and sharing their message with potential clients goes a long way.
Understanding how to layer their three, four, or five top Voice Values across their whole brand conversation goes even further.
And finally, understanding why their Right People are drawn to them for the specific Voice Values they have, well, that right there is a huge part of each woman’s differentiator. And their differentiator is what sets Rose, Brooke, and Melanie apart from each other, in the eyes of Twitter followers, potential clients, and even (yes) search engines. Naming this differentiator and why it’s a selling point for your Most Likely To Buy People is part of the big work of Empathy Marketing.
I hope it goes without saying that because these coaches lead with such different Voice Values, they’re naturally going to draw a different sort of Right Person. And that means their visual brand identities must necessarily look quite different from each other’s (no defaulting to ‘vintage with a modern edge’!). The offers they create are going to speak to different core needs, and point to different results. This, too, is work based in empathy.
If you haven’t yet discovered your Voice Values, now’s a great time.
Subscribe to the site below with your best email address and click Go. We’ll send you our complimentary Discover Your Voice Values assessment, and you’ll be on the road to what Rose, Brooke, and Melanie are figuring out. It’s good stuff.
photo credit: ilmungo via photopin cc