Branding encompasses so much more than your logo, fonts, and brand colors. It’s also about your values, your core message, and what you believe in. And part of your branding could also be your unique niche.
This week on the podcast, guest Mallika Malhotra and I are talking about what this looks like and how to set boundaries so you’re only taking on ideal clients. We also talk about being more cohesive in your brand, creating the right culture in your business, and being more visible in a way that feels good to you.
As you start planning the new year in your business, this is a great episode to help you take a step back and really move forward more solidly.
Mentioned in This Episode
About Mallika Malhotra
Mallika Malhotra is an award-winning brand strategist, confidence-stirring mentor, speaker and founder of The Brand Attraction Society. After years of working in corporate advertising on brands like L’Oreal and Oil of Olay, Mallika now helps women entrepreneurs get clear on their brand message, show up as the face of their business and find their power niche. Her friends and clients call her the brand energizer because she is a strong believer in getting out of your comfort zone, taking action. and implementing ideas. When she’s not building brands, she’s at home in Maine with her three sons and husband, drinking coffee or red wine and dreaming about their next global adventure.
Abby Herman 0:08
Hey there, and welcome to episode 157 of The Content Experiment Podcast, a podcast that supports the idea that content and marketing are ever moving targets in any business. And it’s okay if you don’t feel like you’re doing it All right all of the time. you have permission to experiment with little tweaks and changes in your content, to find what works for you, what increases value for your audience and what grows, your business, and most importantly, what feels good for you.
Abby Herman 0:38
I’m Abby Herman, content strategist and consultant for online business owners who are ready to make a bigger impact online. And I’m CEO and creative director of the content experiment, a content marketing agency that offers full service content marketing, and podcast management. I firmly believe that success isn’t about what big marketing brands and so called gurus think is the right thing. It’s about you and your business, your lifestyle, and, frankly, your values and belief systems. You get to do business in a way that works for you.
Abby Herman 1:13
As we cruise into 2022 Soon, one of the things I hope you do is take the time to really look at your business closely to review your messaging, realign your marketing, check in on your offerings, and revisit your mission, vision and values. This is an important exercise and one that I love to do this time of year. That’s why I’m so excited to invite my friend, actually one of my very first business friends onto the podcast today to talk about this.
Abby Herman 1:44
Mallika Malhotra is an award winning brand strategist, confidence stirring mentor, speaker and founder of the brand attraction society. After years of working in corporate advertising on brands like L’Oreal and Oil of Olay, Mallika now helps women entrepreneurs get clear on their brand message, show up as the face of their business and find their power niche. Her friends and clients call her the brand Energizer because she is a strong believer in getting out of your comfort zone taking action, and implementing ideas, which is not building brands. She’s at home in Maine with her three sons and husband drinking coffee or red wine, and dreaming about their next global adventure.
Abby Herman 2:30
As we talk about branding, messaging niching down and more I want you to think about how you can tweak and adjust your own content to reflect who you are and will be in 2022. And if you struggle to know what to create and what your audience needs and wants. Don’t forget to grab the free five day Ask Your Audience challenge. I’ll walk you through how to survey your audience so they can help you generate your own content strategy. Go to thecontentexperiment.com/ask for access. All right, back to our guest listening to my conversation with Mallika Malhotra.
Abby Herman 3:10
Hi, Mallika. Thank you so much for joining me. I am so excited to chat because it’s been way too long.
Mallika Malhotra 3:17
Yes. Thank you so much for having me today. I’m excited to chat with you as well.
Abby Herman 3:21
Yes. And I think we were just talking before I hit record about how long we’ve known each other. I think that I’ve known you and still stay in touch with you longer than anybody else I know in online business when I think about it. I think that that you were probably one of my first online friends.
Mallika Malhotra 3:40
I’m the OG of your online Friends,
Abby Herman 3:44
yes, yes. So I know what you do. But can you share for listeners what you do and who you do it for?
Mallika Malhotra 3:51
Yes. So my name is Mallika Malhotra, I am a brand strategist and mentor and speaker. I’m also the founder of my membership called Brand attraction society. I work with female entrepreneurs who are ready to scale but really struggled with standing out in their saturated market. So we work on getting them focused on their brand message getting visible by becoming the face of their brand, and then also finding their power niche so that they can stand out.
Abby Herman 4:18
I love it. I love it. And it’s so important to I think that people really struggle with, you know how to position themselves and how to put themselves out there and just the confidence to do that, as well.
Abby Herman 4:30
So when you think about how you run your business and the offerings that you have, how does the way that you run your business and the way that you work with your clients help you to live the lifestyle you want, because photography is a pretty time intensive endeavor. So can you talk a little bit about that and how you’ve kind of structured things to make it work for you and your life?
Mallika Malhotra 4:53
Yeah, so you know, I’ve been a brand photographer since 2015. I did photography My business in photography was launched in 2009. So I’ve been carrying around a camera for a long, long time. But there’s a lot of burnout that comes in the business just because you’re working with one client at a time. And then once you finish with one project, you’re hoping that someone else is in your pipeline. And if they’re not, then you have to be, you know, doing all the marketing, all the branding, all the networking to get other people into your pipeline. And over time that can get exhausting.
Mallika Malhotra 5:29
And so I found myself at a place where I was almost at burnout. And plus, I also worried what may happen to my hands, what if something happened to my eyes, right? Like, I couldn’t have all my eggs in one basket. And so in 2017, after really niching my own business down and focusing on brand photography, I learned that the best photos were those that were grounded in strong strategy. And so I was doing just as much strategic work with my clients as I was doing creative direction and capturing them the photo sessions.
Mallika Malhotra 6:01
And then all of a sudden, people started to come to me with help about their Branding. And so I saw it as an opportunity then to not only have the one to one photography, but then also offer a group program where I would teach the building blocks of branding. And it was like a 10 week program was called Brand confidential. And I actually did that for about two years, probably had four to six iterations of groups. But I also found that that was exhausting, right, you know, a start and finish and then finding new people.
Mallika Malhotra 6:33
And then let’s be honest, the clients you have in that 10 weeks, some of them life happens, they fall off track, and then the results that you want for them don’t really come to fruition because of all the other things. So in 2019, I decided that I wanted to continue in the strategic arena, and really position myself as a mentor. And I thought I have the curriculum, I have the trainings, I’m going to shift that into a membership format. Because this will allow me to have people that come in whenever they’re ready. And they can also tap into the resources and the tools however they want. Plus have the layer of the live mentorship, the call the calls every other week. And that’s what people want, they want you to be to meet you where they need in real time.
Mallika Malhotra 7:22
So since that shifts, I feel like that has really fit really nicely in my lifestyle, because I’m not burned out anymore. I’m not one to one, now I’m scaling my brand, I can do it online, of course, we had a pandemic happen, right, which totally killed my brand, photography business. And so now I was still able to work, because I had the virtual component. And so that membership model really saved me. And I actually really love it. I love being able to mentor a group of people and it kind of keeps me on my toes. It’s a very dynamic type of format. And so that’s where I am right now, of course, I have other things that I do. But this membership format has been really, really good for me and my business.
Abby Herman 8:06
Yeah, and I am a huge believer in doing what works for you and making shifts as you need to I personally am in some doing making some behind the scenes shifts in my own business and preparation for 2022. So I think that that’s great that I mean, and and you were really able to maintain that branding piece and the photography and the visual piece in what you do and just kind of grow it into a membership. So so congratulations for for doing that. And for, I guess not necessarily knowing that you had the foresight to put together something prior to the pandemic. So good job.
Mallika Malhotra 8:45
I know I was lucky, you know, like the pandemic for a brand photography no one was doing and then I moved in a pandemic. So I moved to a new state from New Jersey to Maine and we’re no one no knows my brand. The culture is a little bit different here. And so that really had me thinking more strategically of where I want to go with my business. And so I’m actually doing much more strategy mentorship speaking about branding that I am doing anything for brand photography.
Mallika Malhotra 9:16
And so you know, 14 years in the business as Miki photo I’m actually going through my own rebrand right now where I will start positioning myself as my personal brand Mallika Malhotra and much more of a strategist and a mentor and kind of stepping away from the photography even though it’s like an identity crisis at times to be you know, 100% honest because I’ve had that brand for so long. But I do think you know when you think about the future of what you want for your brand, for me, it was less photography, so to carry the name Miki photo was almost misleading and it would be confusing.
Mallika Malhotra 9:56
Once I was able to you know, go to new markets and new clients who do didn’t know what Miki photo is, as they heard Miki photo, they’re gonna think photography. And so I’m sort of going to graduate Miki photo and step into this new place of being my own personal brand.
Abby Herman 10:13
And love that. So will you still be doing photography as well? Or are you just going to focus exclusively on the membership?
Mallika Malhotra 10:20
I know. So that’s the big question. I think, you know, I’m rebranding, I’m getting a new website, all the things, I think Mickey photo.com will always exist, but I won’t be pushing it marketing it. So in my new brand, I won’t have it on the website, it might be hidden in the bottom or something. Or I might only offer brand photography to the members of my membership or members of a mastermind that I also lead.
Mallika Malhotra 10:49
So it’s not going to be the main focus, it’s not the flagship, it’s almost like a supporting part, adding more value to what I’m already offering them.
Abby Herman 10:58
Yes, I do the same thing, I have certain services that I used to offer, and I, you know, air quotes, don’t do them anymore. But I do for my ongoing retainer clients. And maybe some friends that, you know, I if they asked me to help them with something, I will do it even if it’s not something that I necessarily do anymore, because I still enjoy it.
Abby Herman 11:23
It’s just and one of those one of those services is website copy, I stopped doing website copy several years ago, because I don’t like the one off arrangement, if you will, of what that looks like. I like having ongoing relationships with my clients. So I do write some web copy for ongoing retainer clients who we do their podcast management or their or their ongoing content marketing. And I feel like I’m able to do a better job at it because I know them so much. So much better.
Abby Herman 11:59
But yeah, like I’ll do and I do other little projects here and there too, for ongoing clients. And so it’s nice to have that extra little thing that you can do to add the additional value without actually having to worry about promoting it and selling it to other people who are outside of your, your regular circle.
Mallika Malhotra 12:16
Yeah, cuz I think it’s hard when you have so many things that you’re promoting, it could be so torn, right? Like, I think the brand photography with the strategy is what sets me apart, because I kind of do both. But then, you know, people that want just brand strategy, and in a membership model, what is the brand photography going to do for them. So it’s like, you have to sort of, you know, commit to what you want to be known for.
Mallika Malhotra 12:44
And that’s sort of the fork in the road that I’m at. I have been known for brand photography for so long. But what I want to be known for in five years is not brand photography. And so that tells me I have to let it go and not make it the emphasis. So you know, it’s, it’s what I teach my members, it’s like really talking about your brand vision. It’s so important, right? Where do you want to be in three years or five years, and that’s really going to help you set yourself up for success and make decisions about your brand, what you’re going to talk about what you’re going to sell what you want your reputation to be built around in what you’re doing right now?
Abby Herman 13:23
Yeah, so you’ve got some wheels turning in my head right now just thinking about that. And this is such a great time of year to consider that too. So, you know, late November, early December is the perfect time to start thinking about, Okay, what’s going to happen happen next year, and the year after that? Where do you want to go with the caveat of, you know, not planning out everything to a tee and exactly how it’s going to happen, and when and where and all of that. But just having that vision? I think that, yeah, hopefully this sparked some ideas and listeners and you know, thinking about where you want to be and what you want your brand to stand for. So I love that.
Abby Herman 14:00
Can you talk a little bit about just branding in general, and the importance of branding? And maybe if you could define it for us too, because I think that there’s so many different iterations and definitions of what branding is. And so can you talk about what is it from your perspective, and why is it so important?
Mallika Malhotra 14:20
Yes. So let me just tell you what it’s not what people think it is. So branding is not your logo. Branding is not your tagline. It’s not your fonts, or your colors or your website or your Instagram feed. Those are all expressions of your brand. Your brand is really the the core message and the essence of who you are, who you serve, what you stand for, what you deliver to your clients and how you’re different. Those are like the crux of the questions that I asked myself over and over and over again when it comes to my brand.
Mallika Malhotra 14:54
I also like to think about it as you know, not only the impression that your business is making in someone’s mind, but it’s an invitation, right? Like you have your brand and what you believe in, and what you want to do for your clients and who you are best meant to serve. And then you’re going on, you’re actually inviting people. This is what I want to do. Do you want to work with me? Are we in alignment? You know, are we a good fit? That’s what a good brand message does. It doesn’t talk to everyone. It doesn’t offer all the things. It’s very specific. It’s very specialized. And there’s a feeling that goes along with the brand, right?
Mallika Malhotra 15:30
So, you know, I think Jeff Bezos of Amazon says like your brand’s what people say about you when you’re not in the room. So what is that impression that you’re making? What are people feeling about your brand, when you’re not around? What are they feel when they’re on your website, or on all across all your touch points, all of that making it consistent and cohesive, is really gonna demonstrate what your brand means, what it stands for, and what you’re trying to communicate?
Abby Herman 15:57
Love that? Yes. So what are the important things that we need to pay attention to? So if we’re sitting here thinking about what our vision is going to be? What’s our brand vision for the next three years or five years? What are the things that we as small business owners, so whether we’re solopreneurs, or we just have a really a small team, maybe just a couple of contractors, or maybe a couple of employees? What are the most important things that we should be thinking about as we start planning ahead for that vision for five years from now?
Mallika Malhotra 16:31
Yeah, so I think it’s important to know your values, right for your brand, what do you really stand for, because this is what people are going to feel, and they’re gonna decide if you’re in alignment, they’re gonna choose you over someone else. So you actually have to do that work, right? You need to carve out some time and really think about like, what do you believe in? Like, of course, you know, the brand mission, the purpose, the why behind your business?
Mallika Malhotra 16:56
I know we have all the exercises all the prompts, if you’ve been in business for as long as we have Abby, like we’ve done the work, but it is important, because your brand needs soul. It needs depth. That’s how we differentiate from all the other people in our market. How many photographers are there? How many copywriters are there? How many strategists are there, but when you can dig deeper in that like underlying layer of I’m going to put the stake in the ground for this, I want to stand for this, I believe in this, that’s when people start to feel something. And even if it’s polarizing, the more polarizing the better, because then you’re going to repel the people that aren’t in alignment, and you’re going to attract the right people. So it’s really, really important for you to know what you stand for.
Mallika Malhotra 17:41
The second thing is you want to know how you’re different than everyone else. So do the exercise of seeing what the other competitors are and how they position themselves. But then put your blinders on and figure out what are you good at what comes naturally to you? Why are people coming to you know, people are picking your brain every five minutes, right, you get those messages, I want to pick your brain on this, write that down, because that is telling you what you’re good at what your reputation is built on, is there a gap in your market, you know, are people doing the same thing over and over again, and there’s an opportunity to be innovative, to do marketing in a different way, so that you can attract new eyeballs and you know, rock the boat a little bit, that’s gonna really help you build your brand, scale your brand.
Mallika Malhotra 18:30
And then again, knowing who you are meant to serve. So now’s a great time of year for you to audit that client roster, right, all those clients that you worked with, and the ones that you didn’t like to work with, put a big X next to them, and the ones that you love to work with the ones that paid you well, the ones that you had a great transformation, those are your ideal clients, create a profile and see how you can clone them.
Mallika Malhotra 18:56
Because you’re gonna burn yourself out next year, if you’re going to just keep working with everyone. A powerful brand is selective, it’s specific. It’s specialized, and it’s selective. And so that’s what I would want your audience to start thinking about as you’re looking to 2022.
Abby Herman 19:13
Yes, and I want so I want to comment on two things. So number one, so you talked about values, and figuring out how you’re different and filling the gap and then knowing who you’re meant to serve. And as you said, you and I have both been in business for quite a while. And that changes over time. The people I serve now and that I work with now are totally different from the people who I worked with when I first went full time in my business in 2013. And even the freelance writing that I was doing prior to that it’s going to change and and I think it changes because we analyze the clients who we work with.
Abby Herman 19:50
And so the other point that I wanted to make was just how scary but really good it feels when you do let go of those clients who are not Ideal, I’ve done it a couple of times. And I feel like the two big times I did it, those clients who I let go were my highest revenue generating clients. But they were also the ones who were causing me the most stress. And, and it was not filling work for me not fulfilling work for my team. And it was taking so much time and energy out of me, it’s really scary to do it, especially when they’re really high revenue generating clients.
Abby Herman 20:34
But it is, so it opens up like I’m really not woo at all. But I feel like just the energy that I’m able to get back from letting go of clients is able to attract those new clients that because both times I replaced the revenue within just a couple of weeks of letting go of those clients.
Abby Herman 20:55
So I encourage people to, you know, don’t do anything that’s going to break the bank, but really try to, to analyze who you’re working with and how it feels. And is that the kind of client who you want to work with three years from now or five years from now? Or is it going to breed more gray hair for you if you continue working with those people.
Mallika Malhotra 21:18
I mean, it’s a gradual process, I think, you know, if you’re new to business, you’re going to experiment, you’re going to do all the things, you’re gonna take any client, right, because you have to validate, you have to research you have to figure things out, but then you hit a wall at some point. Like, I’m spinning, doing all the things for all these different clients, I have to create systems for all these different clients, I have messaging for all these different clients, I have offers for all these different clients, and you’re drowning, right.
Mallika Malhotra 21:46
And so this is where, you know, finding that niche going from serving everyone being it trying to like be a generalist and doing all the things and walking away and saying, I’m going to be specialists in like one or two things, and really good, I’m going to be the master on the go to for one or two things. And I’m actually only going to serve a smaller segment of the market, because it’s a bloody red ocean here.
Mallika Malhotra 22:12
And I’m going to swim out of that and find my own blue ocean where maybe it’s untapped. Or maybe I have a different methodology that I can do something different. And I’m not going to have 15 offers, I’m gonna streamline and really do maybe two to four offers, because I’ll get the best results. That’s the whole niching process as to that. But you won’t know that until you do all the things and then you do this audit and assessment to see what is working.
Abby Herman 22:41
What are. So that’s such a great point, too. So what are some of the things that we should be paying attention to when we’re auditing, you know, how we’re going to niche down because again, that’s really scary to to say, you know, when I stopped when I took website, copy off of my website, and I was not going to offer that as a service to new people, new new clients anymore.
Abby Herman 23:02
It’s really scary. It’s hard to do that. Because it especially if your business is your livelihood. If your business is your livelihood, and there’s nothing else in your household, then that’s super scary to do. So how do we do that in a way that we can feel really good about it that we can do it without feeling like we’re missing something or missing out?
Mallika Malhotra 23:26
niching down is a gradual process, I would never say you like go cold turkey and you cut out all the bad ones, like you have to kind of go from, you know, ideal client. And let’s say it’s 20% and 80% are the ones that you’re just doing and then maybe your shift to 4060, then it’s 5050. Like you have to kind of feel it out. Because the more you say no and set boundaries, the clients who don’t want, then you’re opening the door for the ones that you do want. But how do you figure that out?
Mallika Malhotra 23:52
So one is looking at your strengths and your skill sets really understanding what you are very good at doing. And that means, you know, looking into how people perceive you, what are the jobs that people ask you to do over and over? What’s your reputation Phil’s around, really kind of assessing that, then it’s your passion, like what you are, like fired up to do you know what kind of change your movement you want to bring to the world you have to like match the skills with the passion in order for it to be sustainable?
Mallika Malhotra 24:24
And then of course, it’s the customer, the needs of the customer, what are they looking for that they’re not getting the help or the expertise right now? And how can you fill that gap. And when you can kind of overlap those three things. That’s the sweet spot where that’s where you can kind of pursue that niche and maybe add your messaging to kind of tailor for that niche. And then see how that goes. And sometimes you’re too niche and you have to kind of go broader and maybe you’re too broad and that’s why it’s so hard to get clients is there’s so much competition and you need to go more narrow.
Mallika Malhotra 24:57
But the point is, is that you have to make decision to do it. So many people are just like, Nope, I’m multi passionate, I’m not gonna do it, you know, I have, I love having so many offerings for every type of client. And honestly, you’re gonna get burned out, you’re gonna dilute your brand so that no one’s gonna know what you do. Like, you want to be so specific so that even if I’m not hiring you, I remember you for somebody else, you want to be referable. You want to be findable. You want to be shareable.
Mallika Malhotra 25:28
And so if you’re not that specific, no one’s gonna remember if you’re just saying, I’m a life coach, how many life coaches are there, but if you say, I’m a life coach, and I specialize in the empty nest stage of women over 50s life, whose children left, and they might need some help in finding out what their next step is, you and I are going like, I know somebody. In college, I totally get it. And so there’s that magic, right, of being specific being specialized. And then the beauty is the more specific specialized you are the more premium pricing you have for your services because you’re a master versus a generalist.
Abby Herman 26:08
Yes. And I would imagine that if you’re not niching down, it’s it makes your branding a lot more difficult because your vision looks different. Because your your messaging looks different. So yeah, I Yes, totally agree.
Mallika Malhotra 26:24
I speak from experience. I mean, and you know, me for a long time, there was a stage in my business where I called it the junk drawer stage. Because I was doing children portraits, I was doing teens and senior portraits and headshots, I taught Instagram workshop and vision boarding works,
Abby Herman 26:40
I remember that. And it was all overthe place.
Mallika Malhotra 26:43
And it was too much I couldn’t, you know, I couldn’t process how to create offers and systems for each of those markets. And my audience was confused. What does she do? Well, she’s doing everything. Is she an Instagram strategist? Is she a child photographer, or she a brand photographer, and then in 2015, I cut all that stuff out. And I said, I’m just gonna do brand photography.
Mallika Malhotra 27:09
And that changed my whole business, then all of a sudden, I got tagged in those groups, brand photography, talk to Mallika, you know, people wanted to do a podcast on brand photography, I was like, get flooded in my emails, I have an opportunity for you to speak about brand photography, because I made the commitment and it was scary. But it really then helps you focus. And it helps people remember you, and it’s a game changer.
Abby Herman 27:34
And you can get so much better at your craft to when you’re just focusing on one thing because photographing families and children is I’m assuming way different than because kids can’t take direction. I’m photographing, you know, women in business, who have a vested interest in making sure that these are the best photos humanly possible.
Mallika Malhotra 27:59
Exactly. And when I did that, then all of a sudden, I created like, I had a process for the women in business. And it was like rinse, I can rinse and repeat it. So I got better and better.
Mallika Malhotra 28:09
Because I created this methodology, I created a signature talk becoming the face of your brand, the six images every entrepreneur needs, because I was a specialist, right? When you’re doing all the things you can’t do the creation, you know, for all those different pieces because it gets diluted. So there’s just a lot of magic that happens. And I know there’s resistance because we don’t want to leave. We think we’re gonna leave money on the table. And we don’t want to say no, but you can focus and simplify and become a much more sustainable business owner if you do niche down at least one step more now than you are now.
Abby Herman 28:46
Right? Yes. So I encourage everyone to think about that as you are getting ready to plan out 2022? Or maybe you’re in the middle of planning 2022. So yes, absolutely. Can you share some of the mistakes that you are seeing people make in their branding right now. So I love that you mentioned already that your branding is not your brand colors, it’s not your photos, it’s not your logo, it’s way beyond that. And I know that people still think of branding in that way.
Abby Herman 29:23
Are there specific mistakes that people are making aside from, you know, using that old definition of of branding, that we can like maybe some quick tips on things that you can change?
Mallika Malhotra 29:33
And you know, there’s a lot of inconsistency that comes with branding. So you know, people will focus on branding because they’re launching their website. And then all of a sudden, you know, they kind of dropped the ball there where really you’re trying to create this cohesive brand that’s building reputation. So your brand messaging has to go across all of your touch points. From your Instagram to your Facebook all the social media your blog. your newsletter, like everything should feel like it’s coming from that same person, that same messaging, those same values.
Mallika Malhotra 30:09
And often, you know, because we were so busy, there’s sometimes a crack in the branding there, because they’re just not consistent, it just falls off track. So the more that you can be consistent across the board, the better you’re going to be able to build your reputation for your brand. The other thing about branding that I’ll say, as a photographer is the visibility part, we need to be visible as part of our brand, people need to see the person who is behind the business, you cannot just use your logo, especially in today’s world right there, we are flooded with options. There’s so many competitors in our market.
Mallika Malhotra 30:47
And so as part of your brand, you need to show up and step into the spotlight and say, you know who you are? What does it feel like to work with you? What is your value system? What is your vibe, and you need to demonstrate that through visuals or through video somehow, so that you can connect faster with your audience. And I know there’s a lot of fear with that, you know, it’s hard to be in front of the camera, but it is in 2021 2022, it’s a must, you can’t not be the face of your brand anymore.
Mallika Malhotra 31:19
But there’s a lot of people who aren’t there hiding, you can go through their just Instagram feed, and you don’t even know who the person is. It’s like graphics or other things. And it’s you have to connect to the heart of the business because it’s a relationship, right? It’s not transactional anymore. You hire a web designer, you’re working with that web designer for four months. So you want to know the person.
Mallika Malhotra 31:42
So that’s really, really important as well. And then I think it’s the biggest mistake is this generic approach to branding, not going deeper in terms of who you want to be a specialist in, again, who you want to serve, like a specific audience, and really diluting the messaging.
Mallika Malhotra 32:03
And just again, I keep saying it, but talking to everyone, we need to become specialists. And we need to position ourselves as like the masters of our craft. And it might be a confidence issue, but you just have to own it. Because that’s how you’re going to stand out. It’s you know, the pandemic showed us, everyone’s online now. brick and mortar, they closed, what happened, they went all online.
Mallika Malhotra 32:26
And so branding now is just more important than it ever has been. Because you can just get lost, and you can drown in this market. And so if you’re not being visible, if you’re not being you know, a specialist and just having this generic sort of bland branding, you’re going to get invisible, and you’re going to get lost.
Abby Herman 32:46
Yes, I totally, totally agree. It’s, you’ve got to put yourself out there, whether it being a guest on a podcast, or doing some Instagram stories where you’re talking to the camera or YouTube, whatever, yes, get yourself out there.
Abby Herman 33:03
So I have a question about creating the content and publishing it. So I mean, obviously, if you’re putting yourself out there, you need to be the face and the voice of the business. And it probably 98% of the cases of the people who are listening, you know, because it’s a small business, rather than a big brand. But how do you are? Is it possible to teach that brand messaging and to teach those values to someone else? So that you can hire out someone helping you because we can’t do everything in our business? There’s no way. Is it possible to do that? And what would something like that look like?
Mallika Malhotra 33:50
Yeah, I think so. I think it’s about having like standard operating procedures, right. So it’s not just about like how you run the business, how you want the business to feel it’s the culture of the business, it’s the values of the business. And so having kind of like your brand Bible, which talks about your mission statement, your vision statement, the values, the voice of the brand, the aesthetic of the brand, and having almost like a one shooter with that, again, your target ideal client, having a positioning statement of how you’re different than the others having that all as, like a one shooter when you’re onboarding someone on your team so that they understand the soul of your brand and your business is very important.
Mallika Malhotra 34:36
You know, I have a virtual assistant on my business, you know, that I work with, she’s been working with me for probably four years. And in the beginning, you know, you have to kind of handhold and you have to like, I had to really check everything that she wrote for my business, every blog post, but over time, because she knows what I stand for because we’ve worked on it together because I have these things in place. These statements my mission statement vision statement she has access to she understands the brand inside and out.
Mallika Malhotra 35:08
So now she’s at a place where she probably knows a better than I do. When she’s, you know, on her own and writing things for my brand, but, you know, that’s part of the process of onboarding. I think it’s it’s not just the tech and showing people where things are it’s, you know, what is the look the feel the soul of your brand, you have to share that with people that are coming on your team.
Abby Herman 35:31
Yes, totally agree. milega. As we wrap up, if listeners were to only take away two things from this conversation, what two things what two actionable things would you hope that they took away, whether it’s relating to branding, or niching, down or something else?
Mallika Malhotra 35:48
Okay, the first one would be that you need to find your power niche, you have to do the work to figure out what you are a specialist in today. What is your expertise, who is your ideal client that you’re meant to serve, and start there. So go from general to more specific. The second is, visibility is so important for your brand and will help you connect faster with your audience.
Mallika Malhotra 36:18
So if today, you can put a headshot in the you know, the profile pic instead of your logo or, you know, do a about me post somehow introducing yourself to your audience or a video sharing some tips while you introduce yourself do that, because it’s very important. People want to see you, they want to hear you, they’re going to be scrolling through all your content before they make the decision to buy from you. So it’s really, really important. So those are the two things that I would recommend.
Abby Herman 36:51
Awesome. And you have a brand visibility booster to help people with that. Can you share a little bit about that where people can find it?
Mallika Malhotra 37:00
Yes, so I have a freebie called the brand visibility booster, which is the six images every entrepreneur needs. After years of photographing women entrepreneurs, I came up with a framework of sort of six categories of the types of photos that you should have to give to your photographer or if you’re doing it yourself because it can feel overwhelming, right? Like what are the stories that I should be sharing about my brand.
Mallika Malhotra 37:23
So I break it down and I show examples. And so this will should make it feel easier to be in front of the camera and make you feel more confident. So that is coming your way it’s a bit.ly/brandVisibilitybooster.
Abby Herman 37:36
Awesome. Mallika Where else can people find you and connect with you? And and because you have a you talked about your mastermind and your membership if someone wants to join, where would they have to do
Mallika Malhotra 37:49
right now I’m in the middle of a rebrand but right now, it is Mikifoto.com. And my core offering is the brand attraction society. It’s a membership dedicated to branding. Branding is sort of this ongoing beast. It’s never one and done.
Mallika Malhotra 38:07
And so I have found that this format of a membership of having, you know, coaching over time is really helping my members build powerful brands, you know, helping them stand out in the marketplace, charge higher prices, all the things that are wrapped up in your branding and your messaging. And so if anyone is struggling with that, I would love to tell them more about the brand attraction society, they can see that on my website.
Abby Herman 38:31
Awesome. Thank you so much, Mallika for being here. I really appreciate it. It’s been fun chatting,
Mallika Malhotra 38:37
Oh, fun to chat with you too
Abby Herman 38:40
so much great information. In this episode. I hope you took some notes. I love how Mallika walked through how to niche down looking at your strengths, your passions and the needs of your customers. This is a great way to take those steps into specializing and something that I did when I added podcast management to my service offerings.
Abby Herman 39:03
If you found value in what you learned here today, be sure to share it on social media. Take a screenshot of the episode on your phone and share it over on Instagram Stories. Tag me at thecontentexperiment and Mallika at Malikmalhotra.co The more you share, the more we can get the podcast into the hands of more business owners just like you who need to hear the message that they are not alone.
Abby Herman 39:29
Until next time. Take care
Transcribed by https://otter.ai