In today’s episode, we have Sabah Ali with us and she is going to talk about how you can create an unforgettable brand for your business.
You will also get to hear the differences between internal and external branding, her three-step framework for creating a long-lasting personal brand, and how to refine your message to fit your brand.
In this episode, you will hear...
… Sabah’s story before joining the online business world and how she got started in branding.
… helpful steps on how you can create an unforgettable brand for your online business.
… the differences between internal and external branding
… how to find out how your audience perceives you and the importance of having a strong personality as an entrepreneur.
… Sabah’s three-step framework for creating a long-lasting personal brand.
… how to refine your message to fit your brand.
… why Sabah says people buy for clarity of steps and accountability, not information.
… how to find the gap in the market and how to position yourself to succeed with your online business.
… Sabah’s marketing tips on how to successfully gain clients and engage with your audience.
… Sabah’s number one piece of advice to any entrepreneur in the early stages of their business.
Hey, everyone. Thank you for checking out the podcast today. We have Sabah Ali from Brands That Sell. And I'm super excited to have her on the podcast today because we're going to talk about a topic that I really enjoy, which is branding.
And if anyone's been following me for years back into my old Udemy days, I actually created some branding courses back then. And so I love this topic.
And I'm excited to have you on the podcast today. How are you doing?
I am doing good. I'm doing good. I'm so excited to be here. And yeah, whoever knows me, I love, love love to talk about branding. So I'm so excited to be here today.
Okay, very cool. Yeah. So before we dive into the branding and how you can help those out there listening today, if you could just give us a little bit of a story about how you got started into the online business world. And how did you get started into branding?
Yeah, for sure. So my story stems back actually cheese from my college days, so probably about five years ago now.
So, I actually started documenting and sharing content online when I was 19 years old still in college. I was a sophomore back then.
And basically, what happened was I actually met one of my mentors, coincidentally, by going to a speaker just for extra credit for one of my classes in college, not knowing he was an entrepreneur, and he was actually looking for interns for a company that he ran.
So long story short, I reached out to him became one of his mentors. And he really got me into this entire world of entrepreneurship. And as I started to work alongside of his companies, basically all I was doing was documenting and sharing my story online.
You know, I would work with high-level influencers and entrepreneurs. I started to learn about PR branding, marketing. I was flying across the country going to red carpet premieres. And I was documenting the entire thing, not necessarily knowing quote on quote. I was building a brand without really even knowing it.
So fast forward a few years, I grew an audience, I wrote a best-selling book, got the opportunity to speak on stages, got featured in publications. And at that point, people started to come to me asking for help, right?
Like, "How are you building your audience? How are you creating content? How are you speaking on stages? How are you, you know, how did you create this brand?" So I basically got into coaching and helping people create an unforgettable online brand that sells just kind of by doing it myself for the first few years when I was still in college.
So I graduated about three years ago now. And I've been full-time since then.
Oh, that's awesome. I love that story. And it seems like you've picked up a wealth of knowledge.
I've been following you now for, I don't know how long within this past year, maybe a couple years. You know, we did the friends thing on Facebook, and I get to see your posts pretty often.
And you just have a really great way of presenting yourself, your branding your images, the things that you actually say in the post are just so packed full of value. And yeah, I would love to dive deep into all of that if you want to talk about that today.
Yeah, for sure. Whatever, whatever you want to ask. I always say I'm an open book when we do these types of interviews.
Awesome. Very cool. Well, I love asking questions. So this will be a good relationship here.
So if someone comes to you, and says they already have a business, maybe they have an online business. Maybe they're doing coaching, or they have an online course, but they don't have a brand at all. They haven't worked on that. They haven't built that.
What are the first steps that you walk someone through with that process?
So the way I love to describe branding, for one, a lot of people think branding is all about the visuals. So there's basically internal branding, and there's external branding.
So external branding is all like the colors, the logos, the website, the visuals, and the graphics that we see. And then there's internal branding, which is basically the message, the story, the identity, and the way that we're positioning ourselves.
So if we were on camera, I would, you know, have you visualize a triangle in your head, and the way that I like to describe branding is a combination of knowing the identity that you hold, the perception and the marketplace, and the way that you're positioning yourself.
So those are the three core foundations, I would start with someone who, you know, came to me, and they're like, "Oh, I don't have a brand at all." The first phase of identity is understanding and knowing what type of identity and personality you want to display online.
So identity basically stems from your personality and the type of persona and voice you want to create online.
So you know, for an example, if you are a coach, do you want to be the type of coach that is more like a best friend to your client? Or do you want to be that type of coach that is kind of, you know, in your face, you know, just get stuff done that type of coach, right? What type of persona do you want to create online.
And then, the second phase is perception. And before you can create a good positioning your brand in the marketplace, you want to get clarity on A, how people are perceiving you right now, and B, how you're perceiving yourself.
The misalignment that happens when it comes to marketing is we think people are perceiving us a specific way without knowing exactly how they're looking at us.
So for an example, when I first got started in the marketplace, I thought people saw me as a leader. But more than anything, people just saw me as someone who was kind of, you know, going through the process, learning, I was adventuring, I was a college student, but I didn't have the authority of a leader. Therefore, people wouldn't really invest into the products that I've first put out there.
So if we don't know how people are perceiving us, we can't necessarily fix that sort of perception. And then the third phase is positioning. So once we get clarity and identity and how people are perceiving us and how we're perceiving ourselves, we want to find the gap in the market where we can place ourselves in.
And so one of the best ways that I like to take my clients through and understand identify how to position themselves is looking at your unique factor, whether it's in your personality, whether it's in your framework, and what you teach, or maybe in the process of how you even got into what you're doing right now, which stems from your story.
And the positioning is how you place yourself as authority and someone of credibility in the industry that you're in. So to recap, all of those things, those are the first three phases: Identity perception, positioning that I would go through with somebody.
Okay, so the first step in the identity phase, so you said, figuring out what is that personality that you want to display to others? And I guess a logical answer is it's going to be what your personality already kind of is.
But do you feel like this is something that you choose? So if I wanted to show myself as someone who you know, has high stature and is really friendly? I mean, are those things that we're picking? Or are you just doing an assessment on what that person's personality type is?
Great question. So, it's a combination of both of those two things. However, also, a great example, when I first got started, a lot of people don't know, I used to be extremely shy and extremely quiet, and extremely introverted. But that wasn't the person I want to create online. I don't want to be that individual.
So for me, I had to create a new identity even for myself to become the leader that people truly do love to follow and be inspired by. On this second hand of that all, it also depends on the type of ideal client and target market that you are targeting with your content with your services.
So a great example is for me, if you guys follow me and look at my stuff, I rarely share things about my family, my intimate relationships. And that's by choice. I choose not to.
Versus another coach who might do the exact same thing with me and their entire identity online is all about their family, they are going to attract an entire different type of person versus who I'm going to attract just based on kind of the principles of identity that I'm creating online.
So it comes down to the type of person that you want to attract. And then also, yeah, it does come down to the type of personality you want to create online. But it doesn't necessarily have to be the personality you have right now. If that's, once again, not who you want to become when it comes to your business. Does that make sense?
Yeah, definitely. It makes perfect sense. I really enjoy that analogy because I myself am very introverted. You take me into a social setting, and I clam up.
But when I'm doing online business, when I'm doing the podcast, and I'm In front of a camera, I kind of have that, you know, a persona that I'm lively and outgoing. And it's easier for me to talk to people on the one hand. So, I really, I really liked that.
Then the second phase, you said, was the perception. So getting clarity on how people are perceiving you and how you perceive yourself. Now, how do you go about doing that?
Because if I'm out there, I'm naturally introverted. And maybe I struggle with communication and talking to people. And then I put myself out online. And I think that I'm being friendly and outgoing, but other people are seeing that as negative or maybe annoying. How would I know that? How do you judge that?
Yeah, so one great exercise that I take my clients through and something you guys can implement, whoever's listening to this right away, is going make a post, or you know, whether you want to jump on do a live, do a video on it, and ask your audience why they choose to follow you.
What's going to happen is you're going to get insight on exactly why people choose to follow you. I've done this a few times. And it's quite interesting the type of feedback I get. You know, people say, "It's inspiring," or "You have a lot of knowledge on this area. You're entertaining," you know, "You're just really fun to be around. I'd like to be your friend."
So you'll get a lot of different responses. And it'll give you a better idea of how people are perceiving you. Typically, if you get a lot of responses under, "Oh, you're very knowledgeable about like your expertise and the business that you've built around," people are seeing you as an authority within that niche.
If you get something the opposite, then you kind of see where your audiences at and how they perceive you. That's one way that you can go about it. It's really simple. Just make a post and ask people why they follow you. And then from there also, like overtime, when you are having a conversation with your audiences when you are getting on the sales calls.
And this kind of dives deeper into strategy. What are, like, objections people are coming up with when it comes to conversations, and on those sales calls, why aren't people buying? And they'll give you a better idea of, "Okay, do they not see you as a credible person enough to, you know, hand over their credit card?"
And from there, it'll be easier to shift that perception. So it aligns with the type of authority that you do want to create and develop.
Okay, so you're kind of using that data, that feedback from people to change your identity, or to match your identity and kind of get into a better position that you're striving for?
Okay. And then the following one is the position and finding that gap in the market. So when you talk about that position, it would seem like most people want to have, if you're doing an online business or an online course, you want to have kind of that leadership, that entrepreneurship position.
But what are some examples of positions? What are some different ways you would go about finding the gap in the market and how you would position yourself?
Yeah, so finding the best two way to position yourself, it goes into actually looking at the work that you're doing and the transformation that you're providing your clients.
So for an example, if you do have a specific process or framework you're taking your clients through to get an end result, you want to highlight that specific process or framework, so people know you for, you know, someone may know you for the like goal framework. I'm just making something up like, they know you for the goal framework, or they know you for accelerated framework.
Like you have a signature IP for the process that you're teaching. So when you are placing yourself in the marketplace, it's not just the generalized, "Oh, I'm going to help you get more clients. I'm going to help you, you know, with organic marketing. Or I'm going to help you with ads," you're helping them with a signature process that's accustomed to you.
So that's one way that you can position yourself. Another way you can position yourself is your entire methodology behind how you structure your business. So for an example, for me, I'm all about branding.
I'm all about attracting clients versus a lot of other coaches in the market space. You know, they're focused more on like numbers and outreach, and you know, webinars and ads.
And I'm like, you don't need any of that. It's all focused around creating a persona and perception online, where you are attracting a high vibe premium clients to you and only clients that you want to be working with.
So with positioning, there are a few different ways to identify that, and it really does come down to what, like if a client were coming to me, it comes down to what they already had to build out in their business and identifying by doing some research also in the marketplace to see the best way to make that position.
But yeah, if you were to do this, you know, on your own and take a look, look at your own framework, your own processes and see, "Okay, this part of my process, no one's done that at all. I haven't seen that anywhere in the marketplace." And that's something that you can amplify and emphasize through your market.
Oh, that's awesome. I love this. And I like to be, you know, very open and honest with my audience on the podcast and my Facebook group.
And I feel like this is a part where I've been struggling a little bit because I know I teach online courses. And I know, I'm good at, you know, organizing, structuring, outlining, creating the content and production, but I've never dissolved it down into some type of framework.
And I feel like that might be where I've been lacking is if I had a framework that I could attach to and that people could see, "Okay, this is how he does it," that would help my position is what you're saying, correct?
Yeah, absolutely. Because yeah, at the end of the day, like people don't buy into information anymore, right? They buy into clarity of steps and that accountability.
So when you do have that, you know, signature framework, you can also, you know, have that as like a freebie for people to opt. And they get to learn more about your process, your framework as you create marketing and training around that it'll stick in their mind and in their head.
So repeatedly, when someone follows you and listens to the podcast, eventually, they're going to want to learn the steps to that framework to get that specific end result. So yeah, that's why it is so important to have that specific framework.
So for people that are kind of top of funnel their code in your audience, they get to really learn on you know, quickly about your service, your product, whatever you're offering at the moment.
So we do this kind of analysis where we're figuring out the identity, the perception, and the position. And let's say that we've got that down to where we like it. We have an equal balance, where we feel we're positioned comfortably in the market with our own framework and processes.
We are being perceived as a leader and someone who has the answers. And then we have our personality, where, in my case, I would probably be attracting the families and the people with the kids since that's what I'm posting often.
Once you have that framework dialed in, what's the next process? What do you do with that information?
Yeah, like from there, once you have the branding piece down, of course, every single one of my clients, we still go through and really refine that offer and the message.
So when you have the branding piece down, if your message and your offer isn't aligned to the type of identity perception position you've placed in the marketplace, then that's the misalignment that happens, right?
It's like we know, the type of people that we want to attract, we know what we stand for. But when we start to create marketing material, the message is off.
So that's the second phase that we go through, is clarifying what that message looks like and starting to create content that resonates and attracts those ideal clients and those buyers to us.
Over here, we've built our business and what we teach our clients 100% organically, all based on content marketing. So that would be the second phase that we go through with our clients and clarifying those two things.
Okay, okay. Very good. So we've got your framework for identity, and then we have this phase where we're going through, and we're figuring out that messaging and that offer and making sure that's aligned.
That makes perfect sense. I mean, because like you said, if if you are trying to be one thing, and your messaging is saying something else, you're gonna attract the wrong people, and everyone's just gonna be miserable. Right?
Okay, so what comes after that phase? What would be the next process?
Yes, then after that phase, once again, depending on what you're selling, you're either pushing people to a landing page, an opt-in, or you're pushing people to book a call with you. Right?
So this is, you know, hypothetically, if you're a coach, you probably would have a high ticket offer, and you would be taking calls. So that's where in your content, you have a specific call to action for people to come to you.
And it's easier for you to also start conversations with people that are engaging on your posts through stories. They're liking, commenting, sending you a message, it's so, so simple and easy for you to either book a call with them or have them, you know, sign up with whatever front-end marketing event or promotion you have going on.
So for us over here, like, you know, we take calls for all of the inquiries for people that want to work with us. So all of our content, it's revolved around a specific call to action for either A, them to come to us or B, you know, they comment a specific word or a specific phrase.
And we start that conversation, qualify them a little bit, and book that call with them to, of course, see if they're a great fit for programming.
Also, on the front end is something that we do give or take around every four to six weeks is front end promotional events, so whether that's a workshop, a free masterclass, a free challenge, providing a lot of value on the front end.
And then, of course, back end, they know, like, and trust you over the course of few hours or a few days, they're going to want to learn more about how to work with you. So that's a little bit more strategy when it comes to marketing. But yeah, after that marketing phase, it's all about that sales process.
Okay, perfect. Yeah, I think you laid it out and a great format. I think this makes a lot of sense.
And, you know, like you said, In the beginning, when people think of branding, they do think of those external things, the logos, the colors, you know, they don't really dive deep into the story and the message. And I think that that's where there's a major disconnect.
And so the I really appreciate you coming on and laying this out for us today, just thinking about the person out there. I mean, you gave a great step-by-step process, but just thinking of the person who's kind of are in the early stages of their business, and they want to get started on this.
What would be one good piece of advice that you could offer to that person?
I always think back to what I would have told myself when I first got started when I was 19.
I want to say the number one piece of advice that I would tell someone is just to start. You don't have to have everything figured out. I always preach to my clients that clarity comes from action, not thought. The quicker you take action, the more clear you'll become.
So a lot of times what happens is we get into this, like analysis paralysis, where we feel like we need to get clarity and all the steps of, you know, brand and marketing and messaging and perception identity, everything that we talked about that we've kind of just become stagnant.
Just write something down and start taking action. And as you have conversations, as you create content, as you do sales calls, you'll get a lot more clear on what that looks like for you.
Oh, that's perfect. That's such a wonderful answer. And I just think that that is just great. And I appreciate you coming on the show today and sharing this knowledge.
And if people wanted to find out more about your business, what you have going on, or any courses or anything like that, that you'd like to share, where can they find you?
Absolutely. So the best place to stay in touch connect with me is probably actually on my Instagram. Instagram more than Facebook.
Instagram, if you type in my first and last name, I'm gonna you know, I'll pop up on there. Within Instagram, there's a link in my bio that links out, you know, freebies to some of my trainings.
I do have an online course and also where to book a call with me if you guys are interested in learning how to create an unforgettable brand online.
Okay, perfect. And you sent me some of that information beforehand. And so I'll make sure that I plug that into the show notes of this episode. So if anyone wants to check that out, they can go and click on those links.
And yeah, just thank you so much for coming on the podcast today. I appreciate you giving your time and coming on here, and sharing this wealth of information.
Of course. Thank you so much for having me, Jeremy.
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