How Yoga Instructors Get Branding Wrong

Gone are the days when all yoga teachers did was teach classes at a studio. Nowadays, the modern yoga teacher has all kinds of lucrative opportunities to build their business, from hosting yoga events in barnyards surrounded by goats to leading retreats at tropical eco-estates. The options are endless, creative, and ridiculously fun avenues of introducing all types of people to the practice of yoga. The key here, however, is that in order for an instructor to host these types of yoga events, she or her must market and brand their offering. And in order to sell out classes, programs and events, they must do this well.
Here are the biggest branding mistakes we see yoga instructors make (and how to prevent them!):
1) Brand Resistance (aka not having a brand)
Sometimes yoga instructors forget or ignore the importance of branding.  Or, the idea of branding doesn’t sit well with them because it feels too ‘business-y’. This is a big mistake! Branding is the style in which you convey your message to the world; it’s how you attract the students who will resonate with your offering. A brand does the talking for your offer when you can’t explain it in person. Think about all of your favourite yoga instructors. Can you picture their logos? What colour comes to mind when you think of them? How did you know, at a first glance, that you were going to love what they had to offer? Branding. Now, how are your students going to know that they’ll love your offer at first glance? How will you persuade them to take your class if you don’t have the opportunity to talk to them?
Resistance is futile… you need a brand.
2) Lack of Clarity
Having a brand isn’t enough – you need to be sure the brand is sending the right message. For example, if you’ve built up a yoga business around women’s wellness weekends then everything about your branding should be clearly feminine. You wouldn’t use big bold shouterly fonts with black and blue and grey to invite people to your ‘Nourish the Goddess Within’ retreat, would you? It feels wrong. That’s because the message and the brand style or look are at odds. So, get clear on what your brand represents and who you’re talking to. Once you know these two things, you can design your brand with total clarity.
3) Consistency
Branding doesn’t have to be in-your-face to be effective, it just needs to consistent.  Inconsistency around what the brand stands for leads to inconsistency around sales. When we skip being consistent with our brand message, we risk creating confusion around our offerings and what we stand for as a brand.  Remember, creating the brand was all about sending visual message about who you are and what you represent. Those things don’t change that much so neither should your brand. Plus, it takes time for people to recognize your brand so the more consistent you are, the sooner you’ll build brand recognition. When people are more familiar with your brand, they are more likely to trust your messaging and to buy into your offering.
4) Ego Branding
Having a personal brand does not mean that the branding is about you. A personal brand just means that your brand represents an individual not a corporation or business. All to often when a yoga teacher is branding them self, they focus on what they like and who they are. In some cases this works but only if your offering matches that directly. For example, if a teacher really loves dogs and the color green they might be tempted to have a logo with a cute green dog face. That would work if they offer outdoor yoga with puppies. But, if they’re primarily teaching power yoga to busy executives then the cartoon puppy face might not send the right message. The brand needs to attract your ideal client (heck, a whole community of them), not merely represent who you are as a person. Hopefully, these things aren’t too far off but it’s worth double checking that your logo isn’t about you; it’s about what you have to offer your tribe.
One last caution (not necessarily a mistake). Figuring out your branding is not something that will happen overnight. It takes time to create a style guide that can translate across all of your offerings. Getting it right is worth investing some time in. If you want some help figuring out what that all looks like and how to use it efficiently and effective in marketing, check out our online workshop: Marketing and Branding for Yoga Teachers.

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