What led you to where you are today? How did you get here? What has happened along the way that has shaped who you are?
That’s your story. That’s what makes you stand out. But how do you share that story, and how do you use it to connect to your people? That’s where your brand story and message come in, and that’s why I knew I had to connect with the one-and-only Suzi Gray.
Meet Suzi Gray, Brand + Messaging Expert
Suzi helps entrepreneurs captive more clients by helping them build a brand that truly expresses who they are. She’s got a special ability to bring the personality and integrity out for the quietest brands — you don’t have to have a big, bold, loud brand or personality to really lead from a place of values.
I think this is a really important distinction, especially in the branding world. You don’t have to be an extroverted, colorful person to have a brand that resonates with people or that serves as a vehicle for your story. Branding is simply about building a business that is totally in alignment with who you are.
As Suzi and I talked, we discussed how the most important part of a brand is not a logo or identifying your ideal client. You have to start with you first — and shape your business in a way that is most in alignment with who you are and how you want to serve.
This is so counterintuitive — and quite contrarian to what most business resources out there tell you.
So here’s your permission to think about yourself and what you want from your business before you start to think about what you offer.
What do you want your lifestyle to look like?
How do you want to work?
What sort of relationship do you want with clients or customers?
Don’t be afraid to dig in and dream.
The most untapped part of a person’s message
Part of digging into what you want also means understanding how you convey that to the world. If you start with you, how do you bridge that gap between you and the people you want to serve? That’s why messaging is so important, and it’s what Suzi specializes in. As she said during our chat, the message is what you’re wanting to be known for, and storytelling is the vehicle you use to share that message.
People often get hung up on their messaging, thinking that it has to be set in stone and it has to be 100% perfect. There are a few things that you’ll want to nail down, like your vision and mission. But the rest of your actual communication may evolve.
Your message is likely the foundation of your business — it’s not going to change wildly overnight. But your stories might. You may have different experiences or interactions that lead you to share your message with new stories. That’s where your communication evolves. It’s just really rooted in the core of your brand and message.
You do have stories, you are a storyteller
Suzi and I have found in our branding work that most women business owners don’t think they have a compelling story. If they haven’t had something traumatic happen in their lives that led them to start their business or change their life, they think their story is too bland.
That’s just not true. Your stories are the most unique thing you can leverage in your business. What you need to do is find ways to turn those stories into something that relates to your business and that resonates with your audience or ideal client.
Think about the point you’re trying to make, or the connection you want to build with your audience. Do you want them to know you’ve been where they are? Think about a story that shows them that.
Even if the story hasn’t happened yet, simply thinking about that point you’re trying to make will help you craft stories after certain experiences that really show your unique view of the world with your audience.
The biggest takeaway? Be brave. Share stories (even small ones). Make connections.
Of course, there is a line to toe with telling stories. Especially if you do have traumatic events in your life like Suzi and I do, the way you share those stories needs to be very intentional. It’s not about having an online therapy session, it’s about approaching your experiences from a place of transparency and honesty.
It’s important that you show you’re human, and that you feel comfortable in your corner of the internet. When you’re brave and you share your struggles and show up anyways, it builds connections and that connection keeps you top of mind when someone needs your services or whatever you offer.
That’s how Suzi and I connected! Suzi’s story was so impactful that I knew I wanted to work with her, and we know exactly what it means to have a life-changing moment. We’ve had to ask ourselves whether or not to share the hard parts, the ugly parts… but we know that these stories reflect our bigger vision. We have to own it and know that it’s a huge part of our WHY, and it’s why people work with us.
Disclaimer: You don’t have to share your story, you don’t have to highlight your pain. It’s up to you. It’s not about airing all your dirty laundry. You get to decide what parts of your life should be reflected in your brand story.
Tell captivating stories
What you stand for becomes what you’re known for, as Suzi says (isn’t that so powerful?!).
Captivating brands don’t just turn heads, they hook hearts. They don’t just get noticed, they get remembered. They don’t just invite you inside, they make you feel like you never want to leave.
Want to know how to build one? Great, because Suzi has an amazing offer you have to check out: It’s called the Captivation Code.
The Captivation Code is a 10-week program designed to help you build a brand you feel completely at home in and nail your message so that best-fit clients + opportunities come knocking. Check it out here.
For more insights on how to feel more rooted in yourself, your business, and your brand, make sure you’re subscribing to the Brave New You podcast!