What’s in a brand?

Time and time again we as business owners are told by the marketing experts we are never going to have a successful business unless we have slick and sexy branding.

And whilst I agree we need to have a professional look and feel to our business to instill trust in others, being ‘too professional’ and ‘too branded’ can be a massive turn off for a lot of people.

As you will see from my newly made over website, my business has gone through an upgrade, and it took a lot of soul searching for me to do this.

Why?

Because when we go ‘slick and sexy’ it gives many people the impression we are too expensive for them to be able to work with us.

As someone who works with women starting over, as well as working with women who are already well established, I needed to find a middle ground; and in today’s world of online marketing finding that middle ground can be incredibly difficult.

The number of people who contact me wanting to work on my branding is interesting to say the least.  To many I am just another name on a list, and I feel they are only looking at the surface level stuff.

And I don’t do surface level stuff, far from it.

I am deep person, and a deep thinker.

A deep diver into my own soul, as well the souls of my clients to enable them to create the breakthroughs and the resutls they want in their lives.

I’m also spontaneous. I never used to be, although I did plan to be spontaneous, if that is even a thing.

Can you plan to be spontaneous? Hmmm… I wonder.

Anyway, I digresss…

Back to branding….

Do we have to?

Do we have to put out an image of ourselves which is so slick and sexy, polished and perfect when we as humans are all a perfect unperfect mix of emotions, order and mess?

Is it truthful?
Is it real?
And is it really a good thing to have the ‘same meat, different gravy’ solution to branding?

Looking at the website makeovers I have had in the past 3 years, the first one was very white, very ‘Google-esq’ but really quite masculine.

The second was more colourful and ocean inspired but it wasn’t positioning me where I wanted to be; it wasn’t going to win me the clients and exposure I wanted to take my business to the next level.

So it was time for another makeover; colours of the ocean, feminine, clean and clear, not so busy and easy to read, as well as being the shop window I wanted it to be; and this time I am really truly happy with it.

Branding a product or a service is one thing, but branding yourself, something completely different.

It takes a lot of soul searching. You have to see yourself for a start, and that can be a challenge for even the most successful and aware individuals amongst us.

As coaches and authors, many of us have a fast evolutionary pace. With each client call, each call with our own coaches, and with each book we write, we evolve fast.

We have to; and if we don’t, are we even present to the work we do?

I don’t do fake, or vanity metrics, and I don’t work with shallow people who can’t see beyond the obvious.

Wanting to work with more incredible women, sell more books and have more clients on my courses, I knew I needed to up my game when it came to branding and marketing myself.

I kept thinking of the quote “You can sell a bad product in great packaging, but you can’t sell a great product in bad packaging” and I knew I had to change the way I did things.

As someone in the PR and Marketing arena has recently described me ‘a very talented lady…. with soooo much to offer but … not represented well on line”

Hiding my talents with poor branding wasn’t doing me, my family or my business any good.

Being an online entrepreneur, having to have photos taken is something I had to get used to; and fast.

Up until 4 years ago you would not have found a photo of me anywhere.

Creating audio and video content is my next branding challenge, and yes, for me, it is a challenge.

Surely sharing all this may be detrimental to my professional image, but at the end of the day, I may be a business woman, I may be a brand, but I am also human.

Having feelings, a family, and a private life which I love, is something I am very protective of these days.

Remembering to grab my photo and take photos and videos all the time is not me, has never been me.  I love being in the moment and enjoying it.

In the world of fast paced consumerism, instant gratificaton and “now, now, now” video is essential for those wishing to get their message out to the masses, to get the sponsorship deals and all the sparkly ‘things’.

But is life really all about the sparkly things?

Hitting 42 a couple of weeks ago, I sat on the boat in the middle of the Southern Atlantic Ocean looking out at the horizon and realised, I don’t want the fast paced life.

I don’t want the ‘things’, I want real human connections, experiences and I am done with the shallowness of life that is becoming all to common place in today’s society.

Slowly down gives us perspective, and it’s good to be reminded that when it comes to branding and marketing, we can actually ‘over brand’ ourselves.

We can get lost in the world of ego, of being perfect and what others want us to be for them.

We can lose ourselves and our perspective on life, and there is nothing worse than losing yourself and all that you stand for simply for the sake of the online vanity metrics.

What are your thoughts? Let me know.

And if you like what you see, just know it is real, carefully considered and from the heart.

With love and gratitude to you, and for you,

Dawn x

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Getting present

Getting present to where you are in life, who you are for others and how you live life is essential.

Yesterday I woke up with a headache, but with an overhaul of this website needed to bring it in alignment with who I am now, the work I do and where I am going, I forged ahead.

Working late into the night, not even realising the time, because I love what I do, I fell asleep with my head still pounding.

This morning I woke up with a migraine, and I realised it was time to get present to what my body was telling me. Get present to everything I have achieved so far this year, especially in the last month.

Arriving home in the UK unannounced was a great surprise for everyone, myself included. Having said that the surprises that followed were intense.

Losing two friends, attending funerals, ending a 3 year relationship with a man I loved deeply, quitting alcohol, becoming vegan to get my body in great shape for the ocean races coming up and sorting out family issues, clearing out my stuff from my old apartment… Lots shifted.

Starting a new coaching relationship with my new coach, coaching new clients and existing ones, and starting the process of launching The Mermaid’s Locker (news on this shortly) I wasn’t giving myself down time. I just do what I normally do, keep moving forward, keep rising and keep smiling.

Leaving my boys, or rather my young men and my dogs this time was harder than when they flew home from New Zealand when I kick-started this ocean journey. I was present to their lifestyle changes, and although I don’t like a lot of them, I know they are old enough to choose for themselves.

I know I have to allow my ex husband to parent the boys in his own way. It may not be my way, and their stanadst of living may not meet mine, but they are his children too; and he has to be the father he chooses to be without my interference. His actions will lead the boys to love and respect him, or they won’t. Like they say, you make your bed, you lie in it.

Leaving the UK I headed to Gibraltar to do my STCW95 and a few other courses to enable me to move forward in my obtaining my RYA Ocean YachtMaster certificate, but arriving in Gibraltar, I didn’t like the energy.

I worked on my business, got things in place, walked around the rock visiting Europa Point Lighthouse, read lots and then left, without completing my STCW95. It just wasn’t the right time. So I headed to Morocco to see my Moroccan family.

Whilst there I allowed myself to grieve, to release, to be loved on, and then carried on working on overhauling this website so you all get a much better experience from visiting and understanding of how I can help and support you, or those you know personally and professionally.

Joining the Women Who Sail The Med group in Facebook, I jumped on and introduced myself. Within hours of joining a fellow ocean nomad and female sailor reached out to me. I had wanted to meet Suzanne van der Veeken because of the journey she is on, and the work she does in this world.

I left Morocco after just a few days, travelling by train across the country so I could cross the Atlantic into Spain. When looking at trains I chose to take a later train than I would have done previously, before getting present to really honouring myself.

On the train I was chatting with a young woman from Saudi Arabia. Explaining why I had so much luggage with me, she was inspired. She enabled me to get even more present to the work I do with women, and just how important my coaching work is, and the books I write.

Shortly after the journey was underway, we were informed there had been a train crash. We were all to leave the train and find alternative transportation.

Heading into the station dealing with the situation, I got present to just how well I speak Arabic, even though Moroccon Arabic is quite different to the Middle Eastern Arabic I speak.

With news of the train accident coming through, and the number of fatalities and seriously injured being reported, I yet again got present. I got present to how lucky I was to escape injury. I also got present to how much my life has changed by simply not rushing, by listening to my body.

With delays running into the next day, I was blessed with the love and support of the family and friends of my Moroccan family rallying around to make sure I was taken care of; as well as the kindness and generosity of fellow travellers.

I went to sleep feeling very blessed and grateful for being alive, a chance to continue with the positive impact I am making in this world.

I arrived in Spain a day later for the Ocean Nomads meet up, which was organised by Suzanne, who is the author of Ocean Nomad, an impressive book on how to hitchhike across the Atlantic, a book I wanted to get my hands on.

We are now living together in Spain, working on our businesses, our projects and raising awareness of the environmental issues affecting our beloved ocean and planet, all whilst looking for our Atlantic Oocean crossing to the Caribbean.

With so much happening, there was no wonder I had a migraine. I have had to process so much. My body is releasing so many toxins by choosing to no longer drink alcohol and for choosing a vegan lifestyle.

My heart is healing from the neglect I allowed myself to be subjected to in the relationship I just ended. My heart is healing from grief of friends passing away.  I am adjusting to not being with the beautiful humans and fur babies I get to be mother to.

I have released so much emotionally with my new coach. Got present to my new business vision, releasing the old version of myself and stepped up to embracing this new version of self.

I have hired a new team member to help me take my businessto the next level, making sure I honour myself and my purpose by focusing on what I am great at…  Positively impacting the world with my coaching, writing and public speaking… Whilst delegating the rest to someone else who is showing up in her passion and purpose.

After resting, I went for a walk along the beach… Of course I did! Getting present yet again to all I have achieved in the last month, the last year and the last five years, and in my life.

I had ‘Pinch me moments’ and expressed so much gratitude for all the opportunities I have had in my life, and for the passion and purpose I live into daily.

And now here I am, able to share my journey with you, which I know continues to inspire so many of you.

If you are ready to live your dream life, getting present to who you really are and your full potential, email me using hello@dawnbates.com and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

With so much love and gratitude to you, and for you,

Dawn xx