Tag: Branding

Your logo, typography, colour palette and messaging should all fit together to create a strong brand identity for your wellbeing business. In our articles we explore how to weave your branding through all your marketing channels.

Why you need more than social media to grow your yoga business

Do you feel a bit lost when it comes to social media? Or feel like you’re spending too much time on it, but are just spinning your wheels, wasting your time? This post is going to help you get unstuck and find a different way forward!

Just because everyone else seems to be using social media, it doesn’t mean they’re actually getting good results from it. Even if some people rave about how it’s the key to a successful business, we beg to differ. Granted, you could put some of your marketing efforts into social media but it’s definitely NOT where all your focus should be.

In this post we’ll explain why social media isn’t the be-all and end-all, and give you some tips on what you can do instead to take your business where you want it.

Why we don’t offer a social media package

The simple answer: we don’t rate social media as a truly effective marketing strategy. It’s far more important to focus on your website and email marketing. These are the real tools you need to pull yourself out of the digital ditch that social media has thrown you into.

Now, you might be thinking, “Surely there has to be some benefit to social media?” And we agree, there is. It can be great for real-time conversations, quick messaging, polls and content sharing, and is ultimately an easy way of reaching your audience. But it can take a huge amount of effort to maintain if it’s your only method of growth. As soon as you’re not there, that conversation ends. And that’s less than ideal.

Ok, we understand that what we’re saying is almost a form of blasphemy in today’s society, so here’s a few more reasons to help put our point across.

Why social media is NOT an effective marketing tool

1. It flattens your experience

Social media can leave you with a very 2D view of how everything works. Imagine your first handstand. Whilst the end result was a success (hopefully), it was the process that went into learning it that gave you the biggest lessons! The same goes with growing your business.

2. You don’t own your hard work

When you post to a social media platform – unlike on your own website – you’re practically giving away your content to that platform. So, publish your content on your own website and keep what’s rightfully yours. You deserve it.

3. It can be hard to communicate

The purpose of social media is to be quick and easy to consume, but this can be seriously limiting when you’re trying to really connect and discuss deeper issues with your audience through a tiny character limit and one small photo. After all, yoga isn’t something you can rush. It should be practised with mindful care and attention – just like your communications.

4. It promotes addictive behaviour

In order for social media to really see major growth, it relies on you demanding the attention of an audience and creating a following for you and your brand. It may feel great while you’re riding the wave, but once you hop off, you’ll realise how caught up with ‘vanity metrics’ you’ve become. These likes, follows and shares may even start influencing what you do and how you teach.

5. It’s difficult to accurately measure

If you share an event for a yoga retreat or post a blog on social media, for example, it’s hard to know whether people who engage with your content become customers. There’s no real gauge of how effective your posts are, so you’re really just going on a hunch. Because of this it’s hard to improve, or see what can be improved, to help you focus your energy in the right places. Remember: if you’re not measuring it, it’s not marketing!

6. It’s a consciousness cul-de-sac!

As I’m sure you know, it feels real when you’re immersed in the virtual world, but it isn’t. People often use social media as a way of finding what they think is missing, or searching for an experience they’ll never find. It’s easy to get lost in the digital world and, unfortunately, this can lead to feelings of fatigue, unworthiness and even anxiety and depression.

It’s no coincidence that you’re having issues getting into the flow of using social media, when it’s made up of all the qualities that go against what we know and love about yoga and its philosophy. Quick and simple messages being chucked out thoughtlessly in the name of ‘growth’, but at the expense of your own mental state.

Ok, that got quite deep, but it’s important to know the truth behind the effects and downsides of social media before you commit so much more of your time to trying to make it work. On that note, have you seen The Social Dilemma yet? It’s definitely worth a watch!

So, let’s move on and look at what you can do to grow your yoga or wellbeing business without relying on social media for your growth.

What we recommend instead of social media

1. Perfect your messaging

It’s super important to be clear on what you’re offering and how you can help people. The best way to do this is to refine your messaging and communicate these aspects as clearly as possible.

Consider getting more personal with your audience. Social media leaves little room for personality within marketing and is often quite faceless. So, it’s a great idea to include your own journey and the story of how you got to where you are on your website. People love to know the story behind a brand, as it helps them connect to you in a more personal and relatable way. (But try to avoid navel gazing!)

If you need help getting clear on what you offer and how it helps people, take a look at our Brand Strategy Package. We’ll help you unpack your brand at a deeper level and refine your messaging to make sure you’re resonating with the right people in the right way.

2. Develop your branding

A strong brand is key for helping your audience remember you, whether they’re on your website, your emails, your social networks or any other marketing channel. Your brand needs to be instantly recognisable and consistent across all channels.

It may seem like a small detail, but your logo is absolutely crucial for creating a memorable impression of your brand in the blink of an eye.

Don’t forget: your logo needs a strapline and your business needs a ‘one-liner’ so that your potential customers can instantly see what you do. Check out our Logo & Style Guide Package if you need help developing your brand.

3. Blog to your heart’s content

As mentioned earlier, posting to your website means you’re publishing content that you own yourself, that will be there forever. In fact, if you aim to create at least some ‘evergreen’ content on your site, this means it will actually become more valuable over time.

You should aim to publish regular, high quality, original content in your blog that’ll stay relevant for years to come. This is a great way to keep people coming back to your website, and also gives you ready-made content to share in your email newsletters.

If you aim to publish posts that grow in relevance and popularity over time, this can be a great way of putting your time into something that can really help you grow, and is totally measurable.

4. Grow your email list

Once you’ve got your website set up right, with your messaging, branding and blogging all in place, then you can focus on email marketing.

Email marketing is still the most effective marketing channel and presents an awesome way to directly reach your audience. It even gives you an opportunity to personalise each email and add a nicer, more personal feel to your communications. As this recent Forbes article explains, “Email is the marketing channel most consumers say they want businesses to use to communicate with them.”

There’s no doubt that it’s more effective to promote yourself to engaged subscribers on your email list, than to send out a random social media post in the hopes that it might land in front of the right people. If they’re even paying attention…

The article goes on to say that “Email marketing still promises to deliver the highest ROI [return on investment] of all marketing channels.” Now, we don’t know about you, but if we’re putting a lot of time and effort into something, we want to be sure we’re getting the most out of it as possible!

So, go with what’s proven, start building your email list, and grow that community of engaged subscribers.

You’re on your way!

We know this might be a lot to take in, considering we’re often being told the perks of social media and how it’s all you need to be successful with your business!

But we think it’s so important not to lose sight of the other tried and tested marketing methods that are out there and ready for you to master. Plus, if you don’t feel comfortable using social media, you don’t have to!

As always, we’re just a click away if you need any help with your marketing efforts. So, book a free consultation and let’s get you set up.

Book a free consultation

How to start, grow and then sell a yoga business

Thanks to the wisdom of one of our yoga-business-owner friends, Sonja Ostendorf, we have some valuable yoga business advice from someone who’s done it themselves.

Before you can grow a yoga business, you need to know how to start out in the right way.

Of course, if you’re also a yoga teacher yourself, you’ll need to have your 200-hour teacher training certificate and, according to Yoga Alliance, you’ll need to complete Continuing Education credits every 3 years to maintain your teacher status. There are also annual fees to keep your teacher designation up to date. Luckily, Yoga Alliance has a page of benefits that might make the annual fees a little more worthwhile.

You may have wondered if you need a 500-hour or higher teaching certificate to start a yoga business and Sonja‘s answer is “no”. Having more education can always help, but a 500-hour certificate is not a requirement, nor is it any measurement of your business knowledge.

There’s always more to learn, but there’ll never be a “perfect time” to start your yoga business. Sometimes the best way to start is with trial and error. So, if you don’t have a 500-hour teaching certificate or higher, don’t let it hold you back!

How to start a yoga studio

Before you start your business, it’s a good idea to network first by finding opportunities for teaching at events, festivals, gyms and community centres. When the time comes to launch your yoga business, you’ll be able to invite a group of people to your studio.

Sonja doesn’t recommend teaching at another studio long term before starting your own. Why? Because the students at that studio may want to leave and join your shala, which would take away that studio’s business. Remember, there should be healthy competition with any business, but it’s poor form to “steal” another studio’s students.

You may ask, “Should I get a business partner to start a yoga studio?” and it depends. Sonja suggests taking the time to truly get to know a person before going into business with them. She says, “Just because someone does yoga doesn’t mean that you both believe in and follow the same business ethics”.

You should certainly partner with someone who helps strengthen your weaknesses and you theirs. We recommend drawing up legal documents to make sure that ownership is equal between you and your partner. If you can’t have an open and honest conversation with a potential business partner about legalities, then maybe they aren’t the right partner for you. Regardless, whether you’re beginning or ending a business, why not chat with a legal expert to make sure that you’re covered.

Don’t forget to register your business

Mygov.scot states that new yoga businesses will need to register with Companies House as a Sole Trader to start your business in the UK. If you’re partnering with someone, you’ll need to register a Partnership or a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP).

According to TRUIC, if you’re in the US, you’ll need to register a Limited Liability Company (LLC), usually through your state government’s website. In addition to the LLC, you’ll need to attain an Employer Identification Number or EIN if you want to hire people to work at your studio.

Location is everything

When searching for a location for your studio, you could consider renovating your own home to create a home studio. That can be quite costly, though, so the next step is looking for a location in your nearest town or city — the outskirts tending to be more affordable.

Sonja chose a location that was close to her home, which made things convenient; she also chose an area that had no other studios in the vicinity so that there was no competition. If you find a location near other studios, consider the possibility of teaching a style of yoga that the other studios don’t offer, e.g. teaching yin if the other studios focus mostly on power yoga.

After you acquire your venue, decide whether you want to provide and/or sell props. Pro tip: In the US you’ll need to get a vendor’s licence if you want to buy props at wholesale and/or if you want to sell products, i.e. yoga mats, as the government wants to track your sales taxes. Whether you want a vendor’s license or not, Sonja suggests researching your state’s or province’s individual tax process and contacting your local government to ask questions.

What are the top 9 ways to grow a yoga business?

  1. Creating a simple, clear name for your studio and forming a strong brand around that name. What do you stand for? What makes your yoga business different from the rest?
  2. Setting up a website with beautiful images of your studio, of any teachers you have, and of you teaching if relevant. It’s a good idea to list your classes, events/workshops, and teachers, and to have an about page and a contact page on your website.
  3. Keeping your website optimised using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) so that it starts to rank higher in Google for relevant searches.
  4. Using social media as your free marketing tool, inviting all your contacts and friends to like and share your business on their social media channels.
  5. Hiring teachers who specialise in different styles of yoga to diversify what you offer. Then, asking your teachers to promote your business across social media and invite their contacts to come to the studio.
  6. Attending yoga and health-related festivals and events — some allow stalls at their event where you can advertise your studio.
  7. Starting an email list to keep in touch with your students. Ask for people’s email addresses in exchange for an incentive, like a discount on their first yoga class.
  8. Creating non-yoga related events, like a board game or movie night, to engage with your students on a personal level.
  9. If all the above sounds like too much work, consider hiring a marketing company like Wildheart Media to help you with your website, emails, social media, etc.

What’s the best way to sell my business?

Sonja recommends being open and honest with your community first. When she went to sell her business, she talked one-on-one with her teachers first. Then, she invited all students and teachers to attend a meeting. She broke the news to her students and made her studio available for purchase by anyone from the studio’s community before she went public.

She then went on to create a Facebook event, inviting everyone she knew to take a look at the event and tell their friends that she was selling her studio. Next, she listed her business at her local chamber of commerce. Lastly, she wrote letters to the other yoga studios in the surrounding areas, letting them know that she was selling. This is a powerful move to make because you’re letting other studios know that if they purchase your studio, they’ll expand to another location, get all your props and have access to your student database.

However, you may not want to sell your business to another studio. Why? Because they already have a brand and a name, so they won’t need to buy yours. Taking your brand out of the equation will lower the value of your business. Remember that your brand has power, as your students, locals and other businesses may recognise your business by name. So, selling your business to an independent buyer may just give your business a higher value.

Ultimately, Sonja sold her business through word of mouth. Your connections will be your biggest asset when going to sell.

Our takeaways for getting the most from your business

  • Cultivate a student database or email list.
  • Promote your business’s name, showing that there’s value in your brand.
  • Keep your physical studio looking nice and make sure it follows all safety rules and regulations.
  • If you have a landlord, make sure you have an agreement on a contract change for a smooth transition with the new buyer.
  • Make sure your props (blankets, bolsters, etc.) are in good condition.
  • Keep your website up-to-date.

Buyers might be mostly interested in your email list, location and props, but a good website and strong brand name can greatly increase the value of your business. If you’d like help strengthening your website and brand, reach out to us and we’ll provide a free consultation to help you on your way to helping more people.

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How to create a yoga logo that resonates and inspires

For a business, a robust logo is like a great first impression. It’s a firm handshake and a warm smile, a symbolic way of communicating that instantly expresses the values of a business on a conscious and subconscious level. It’s a tall ask for a single graphic, and a challenge to get right without employing professional design skills.

After all, we’re not used to identifying ourselves with a symbol (unless you’re Prince). Balancing subtle communication with raw aesthetics – that will look good on-screen and off – is enough to have anyone stuck at the drawing board. Luckily, with these tips we’ll put you on the right path to creating your own logo, or communicating your vision to a designer.

What is a logo?

Logos are a part of everyday life now. We’re so accustomed to seeing them on our coffee cups and emblazoned across our chests, we rarely stop to think about what they actually are. In fact, that’s the true power of a logo. To be able to influence us without us even realising.

A logo can be many things to many people, but at the core of it, a logo is a symbol – and symbols have always been a powerful means of communication. From ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs to modern day emojis, our history is littered with compelling symbolism… and silly smiley faces.

Consider the ancient yantras of Indian tantric traditions. Mystical diagrams, constructed through specific compositions of sacred geometry. “Yantra” literally translates to machine, which is why each confer a unique purpose in meditation. As the meditator gazes upon the yantras, they’re able to better focus their minds.

It’s through shape and composition that symbols convey their meaning and purpose. Like the iconic Nike “swoosh” and its representation of motion and speed, your logo is your means of conveying your brand purpose. In Nike’s case, the drive is to “just do it” – what would your logo inspire your audience to do?

What’s the difference between logo and branding?

Logos and branding are intrinsically tied, but separate concepts. Like our senses of taste and smell, you can’t truly perceive one without the other.

A logo is a single graphical representation of a brand. It’s clear, defined and tangible. Branding on the other hand, is a much more ambiguous concept. A collective of thoughts, practices and purpose that gives a brand – and therefore the logo – its meaning.

Being the sum total of your brand experience, there’s a lot to consider with your branding. As Jän Ostendorf of Purpose Branding says in our article, From verbal to visual: How to bring your purpose and mission to life, “It takes time and diligence in communicating a purposeful and intended message that is clear and reinforced in every experience, colour, typeface, website heading, email, Facebook post and so on.”

Although Jän recommends starting the whole branding experience with a purposeful vision in mind, don’t get bogged down with analysis paralysis. Both branding and logo design are a fluid exercise, and it’s okay to iterate over time.

Why do you need a logo?

Your logo is the tip of the spear when it comes to your branding. It’s likely to be the first thing your audience sees, and so it’s your first means of communicating your brand and its values.

If you have an audience, a relevant logo is necessary to connect with them. Without it, you’re just another faceless business. Even in the most practical sense, a logo is needed so your audience can identify you.

This is true everywhere your brand exists online. Social media profiles are given their authority through trust. If your audience can’t be sure who you are, they won’t engage with your message.

What are the parts of a logo?

Whilst a logo is a singular expression of your business, it can still be broken down into several parts. Three to be exact, as discussed in our article, The 3 parts of a logo and why they matter. In short, you have a:

  1. Brand mark (the graphic element)
  2. Brand name (the main text element)
  3. Strapline (the short phrase that adds context)

The brand mark is perhaps the easiest part, with symbolism being so deeply rooted in the yoga world. From universal symbols like the tree or lotus flower, to the more religious symbols of Ganesha and Shiva – there’s a lot to use as material for a brand mark.

Despite this (and much to our confusion), so many yoga businesses continue to copy each other with the same generic symbols. This is the area to get creative!

The brand name is generally just the most succinct version of your business name. Nobody needs to read your limited company status in your logo. And finally, the strapline. This is your way of explaining the “what” and “how” of your business.

Do you need a logo now?

If you have a yoga business and you’re reading this article, the answer is probably yes. In any situation where you’re representing yourself and your business – both online and offline – having a logo is a good thing.

That being said, there are some caveats. For new yoga teachers working with established yoga businesses, having a logo needn’t be your top priority. As long as you represent another brand, you can focus primarily on developing your teaching skills and your network.

Having a logo becomes necessary once you step out as your own business entity, and have an audience of your own. Or at the very least, are taking steps towards building one. Which is why new independent yoga teachers, studios and retreat centres should look to get a logo at the earliest possible time.

For everyone else, if you’re at the stage where you’re ready to build your own website, you definitely need a logo now. If you need some direction in that area, read our article on which website platform should you use for your yoga business.

And before you rush out to get a logo made, it’s important that you spend the time to really consider your new brand and what it stands for. That way your new logo can be designed with these things in mind (and your designer will be grateful for some direction).

Examples of logos we’ve designed


yoganatomy logo

Yoganatomy is the world’s leading yoga anatomy brand run by David Keil, author of Functional Anatomy of Yoga and a series of online anatomy courses. We refreshed his original logo by simplifying it. The Yoganatomy brand has continued to evolve over the years and the strapline has evolved from “Anatomy for the mat” to “Educating & inspiring”. The original strapline reflected what Yoganatomy offered, while the new iteration written by the client is more aspirational.

Stillpoint Yoga London

Stillpoint Yoga London Logo

Stillpoint Yoga London is a busy Ashtanga yoga studio offering ‘Mysore style’ Ashtanga yoga and inspiring workshops and retreats with founder Scott Johnson. We designed his logo around the concept of the mandala, a meditative symbol reflecting Scott’s integration of Ashtanga yoga and mindfulness. The strapline ”Supporting your practice” emphasises how Stillpoint supports practitioners rather than the authority of the teacher.

The Yoga Spot

Thy Yoga Spot Logo

The Yoga Spot is a yoga studio run by Michele Ross located in the heart of Aberdeen. Feedback from students led to the ”Serene in Aberdeen” strapline.

Need more inspiration for your logo? Take a look at all the other logos we’ve done for our clients in our case studies section.

Tips for creating your own yoga logo

  • Think carefully whether you actually need a logo.
  • Consider and capture your values and personality as a teacher/studio owner. These notes will be useful when you get someone to help you bring your ideas to life.
  • Do hire a professional freelance designer or agency (how about us!)
  • Always look at examples of their work (we’ve done some great stuff).
  • Ask what the process is so you know what to expect.
  • Be as specific as possible with your feedback when you review.
  • Make sure the designer provides different formats for your logo, e.g. stacked and horizontal. It needs to be flexible.
  • Your logo should come with a colour palette and complementary fonts that all work well together. You’ll need this for designing a website and other marketing.
  • Remember it doesn’t need to be perfect – you can, and should, refine your logo and strapline over time.
  • If/when you change your strapline – make a list of all the places that it needs to be changed, e.g. website, email templates, flyers, social media channels, videos, etc.
  • Keep it simple.

Avoid these common mistakes

  • Being too literal. Keep it abstract: it should allude to meaning, not spell it out!
  • Avoid getting too complicated. Logos that are too detailed and complex in design, or those that have very light fonts and delicate lines, are difficult to read at small sizes on screen or when printed on fabric.
  • Never use a lotus flower as the main graphical element. It’s been done to death, and you want to stand out, right?
  • Don’t use delicate decorative fonts that are hard to read.
  • Avoid constantly tweaking your logo and strapline – once a year should be enough for small tweaks.

Are you ready to create your own yoga logo?

Designing a logo seems to start off as a simple exercise, but then often turns into a beast of branding, ideation and existential dilemmas (what is the moral purpose of my business?!)

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this article. From abstract theory to practical implications, we hope you’re feeling more prepared to tackle your own yoga logo.

With so much to consider, it’s incredibly helpful to get expert assistance right from the beginning. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’d be in good hands with us. Our Logo and Style Guide Package is based on our tried and tested process, developed over 25 years working with clients.

Ready to take the first step? Book a free consultation today.

From verbal to visual: How to bring your purpose and mission to life

In our last Content Kitchen video Guy shared some valuable tips for creating a memorable logo. If you’ve been following our ‘Anatomy of a brand’ series, you’ll have read How to build your brand on purpose and Do you really need a vision and a mission statement? by guest blogger and branding expert Jän Ostendorf of Purpose Branding. This week, Jän reveals his take on how the final stage – visualising your ideas and concepts – should unfold.

It’s time to start taking all the verbal information (like purpose, vision and mission) and exploring visuals that communicate, symbolise and reinforce those meanings. At this point in the process you should hire a marketing agency or design firm. But have no fear – you have plenty of guidance to give them for art direction. It’s amazing to see how others trained in the creative profession will render your purpose (your verbal information) into words and images.

A common visual language

I have a few recommendations on how to work with one of these types of businesses.

To begin with, take baby steps. This will save time, money and frustration in missed expectations. Ask the creative professional to provide as many examples or ideas found already in use out there in the world. They can conduct a Google image search or use Pinterest to create a board. I use Pinterest for creating quick brand (electronic mood or image) boards. This allows you to have a common visual language from which to determine what each other means by words like “clean” or “retro” or “classy”. Everyone has a different idea of what those words look like and it’s much quicker if you have photos, graphics or images that resemble what you have in mind.

Walking through the start of the concept ideation phase like this – with existing examples from any industry and online resource, from posters and paintings to textiles and tapestries – provides an amazing tangible and common visual language that both parties can use as a reference. These examples could be anything that visually expresses what each side is trying to communicate. What I love about exploring visuals this way is that we always end up somewhere I could’ve never predicted or found on my own. This process will work well for interfacing with an agency or a creative individual.

Bridging the gap between verbal and visual

You might be a small company ( for example a yoga studio) that’s trying to save money by not hiring an agency or design firm. In this case you want to look for an artist or designer that’s already proficient at the style that fits the personality or look of the brand you’re trying to achieve. There are plenty of places online to look, for example, Dribble, Pinterest or Instagram. It’s probably best not to go to a crowd-sourced logo design site. The reason being is that these designers will quickly (that’s how they make money) generate top-of-mind, i.e. generic-looking designs, thus diminishing the whole idea of being authentic.

The ability to bridge the gap between the verbal business strategy and the visual design is hard to find in one person and sometimes in one business. Collaboration between a few professionals may be needed – copywriters, illustrators, etc. You, as the vision-caster, being involved in the process and having done your homework (of defining your purpose, vision and mission) will go a long way toward arriving at the look you want for your brand and establishing your unique place in the marketplace.

Yoga business logos

Here are some logos Wildheart Media have developed for yoga businesses:


Based in Miami and run by David Keil, Yoganatomy has become a leading provider of anatomy training for yoga teachers, studios and serious yoga practitioners.

Stillpoint Yoga London

A busy early morning Mysore-style yoga shala nestled in the heart of London, which was founded by Scott Johnson. They also have a fantastic program of workshops and retreats.


Ayurvedic Yoga Massage UK

The UK’s leading provider of training for Ayurvedic Yoga Massage, founded by Despina Psarra. AYM UK offers training and treatments throughout the UK and Europe.


A yoga studio start-up located in Horsham, which was founded by Irina Pashkevich. Her mission is to share yoga and wellbeing therapies with the locals of West Sussex.

Attracting the right people for the right reasons

This idea of owning a unique space in the marketplace is not just about separating yourself from your competition for the sake of looking and sounding different. The real purpose is matching the expectation your potential customers have in their mind before they interact with your business.

It’s about attracting the right people for the right reasons. It’s about a steady and sustainable growth with those who will become your tribe, lifers, your permanent and enthusiastic sales force – those who will be telling your story to others just like them.

They will reach people you cannot. This type of “sales” is natural and unforced. It’s about sharing life. It’s not price or offer driven. To achieve organic growth is what every business is looking to achieve. It takes time and diligence in communicating a purposeful and intended message that is clear and reinforced in every experience, colour, typeface, website heading, email, Facebook post and so on. It’s a marathon, not a race. Ready… set… go!

If you’re struggling to bring your purpose and mission to life, Wildheart Media can help. We have a Logo and Style Guide Package to give your business a strong brand identity. Book a free consultation to get started today.

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Read the other posts in this series

Go back to Blog series: The anatomy of a brand to read the other posts in this series.

About the author

Jan Ostendorf, Purpose BrandingJän Ostendorf runs a branding consultancy called Purpose Branding where he helps small privately-held business owners clarify their message, both verbally and visually, bringing the power of branding to small businesses.

He lives just outside Dayton, Ohio with his wife Sonja and two children – just a block away from their yoga studio where he practises Ashtanga daily.

Do you really need a vision and mission statement for your business?

In our last Content Kitchen video we unravelled what makes a great ‘one liner’ for your business. This week branding expert Jän Ostendorf of Purpose Branding is back with a great guest post that lifts the lid on why you need both a vision and a mission statement.

If you’ve taken the time to discover and define your purpose as my last blog post How to build your brand with purpose explained, then now you’re ready to develop a vision and mission statement. But why would a yoga studio or any other small company need a vision and a mission statement?

Both the vision and mission statements should communicate your purpose. They build on the foundation of purpose and continue to clarify why your business exists and why people should care.

It will attract the type of employees or yoga teachers you want on your team. If they identify with the vision and mission, everyone will support the business for all the right reasons. That’s important when you’re building a team and you don’t want to waste time and energy always trying to find “good people.”

Defining what it means to be a “good” team member is important so expectations aren’t missed by either party. Furthermore, defining what it means to be a great team member can be expounded upon in your core values or belief statements.

Many large and successful companies are now using the core values as a measuring stick to hire and fire employees regardless of performance. I believe this is good practice in order to build a long and stable work atmosphere.

How to write a great vision statement

Your vision statement should be an extension of your purpose. What would you like to bring to the world? What do you want to exist that doesn’t already exist? It needs to be audacious. Something that makes you think, “I might not be able to pull this off” or “It may take a lifetime to achieve.” It needs to make others think, “I want to be a part of this.” You want a vision statement that inspires others to believe what you believe. Just as Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech or John F Kennedy’s promise of putting a man on the moon within a decade.

What’s your dream? People will be attracted to your hopes and dreams. When you choose to stand for a vision that seems unsurmountable, you make yourself the underdog. People love to help the underdog achieve their goal. There’s something inside every one of us that wants the underdog to win. I believe your vision statement should make you feel a little nervous. It may seem a bit over the top and unreachable. Don’t let fear dictate your actions. There are too many safe and predictable vision statements out there that inspire no one.

The vision statement will be a tangible way people can measure your purpose. It should take years or decades to achieve. It shouldn’t be affected by industry trends or disruption from technology. If it is, then it’s too specific and probably has “the how” written in. It should sound universal and could include almost any culture or any person.

Once you write the vision, I recommend that you don’t post your exact statement on any of your marketing materials. That is to say, make a list, like you did your homework. Having it listed is much too utilitarian and cold. Think about it: when you meet someone for the first time, they never shake your hand and quote their personal vision or mission statement to you. Over time, you hear what they say and watch what they do and this leads you to understand what’s important to that person. The sentiment of the vision statement should set the voice and tone for all your copy on your website, blog posts, social media posts, etc. It should reflect your brand personality and be seen, heard and felt everywhere and conveyed in everything the company does.

What makes a great mission statement?

The mission statement is “the how” of your vision. How do you plan to implement your vision and make it a reality? How do you do things differently than your competitors? Some people call it a mini business plan. It should encapsulate “the what” and “the how” while being written in the spirit of “the why.” Keep it simple so everyone on your team can remember it – and maybe even paraphrase it in their own words. Make it compelling, so people want to be a part of it both as an employee and as a customer.

When trying to write the vision and mission statements, people will often write in core value – words like “with integrity” or “fun.” Those descriptive words are essentially core values. It’s okay to have a few of those, but words like that are describing “the way” you will carry out “the how” of your mission. Expound on those important thoughts in your core value statements. You shouldn’t beat people over the head with these statements, but use them to guide the copy development and how you talk about your studio.

For both internal employees and external customers, being clear about what you’re trying to accomplish will yield the type of results you’ve been wanting. What seeds are you planting? What type of person are you attracting to your business? Be intentional about the message you are sending.

Do you know what your vision, mission or core value statements are? Would you like help identifying and clarifying these so you can better help your customers? Book a free consultation to find out more.

Book a free consultation

Read the next post in this series

In the final part of this mini-series we take you From verbal to visual: How to bring your purpose and mission to life.

Or go back to Blog series: The anatomy of a brand.

About the author

Jan Ostendorf, Purpose BrandingJän Ostendof  runs a branding consultancy called Purpose Branding where he helps small privately-held business owners clarify their message, both verbally and visually, bringing the power of branding to small businesses.

He lives just outside Dayton, Ohio with his wife Sonja and two children — just a block away from their yoga studio where he practices Ashtanga daily.

Content Kitchen 17: How to create a one-liner for your business

Brought to you on the first Friday of each month, Content Kitchen is a series of videos in which our co-founder Guy answers your content marketing questions. Why Content Kitchen? Because they’re recorded in Guy’s kitchen of course!

How to create a one-liner for your business

In this month’s Content Kitchen video Guy introduces the concept of a one-liner and explains the importance of being able to communicate in a concise, simple and straightforward way to your customers.

Read our guide “How to create a one-liner” by downloading the PDF below:

Download the PDF guide

What next?

How to build your business brand with purpose

In last week’s Content Kitchen we promised we’d be getting right into the heart of branding with a three-part blog – so we’re really excited to be teaming up with branding expert Jän Ostendorf from Purpose Branding who will be our guest blogger for these posts. In last week’s video Guy mentioned three elements that are key parts of the branding process:

  1. Purpose – what you stand for
  2. Copy – what you say
  3. Design – how you look

In this post Jän explains why Purpose, the first of these elements, is so important.

Purpose transcends mission

Everyone says you need a vision and mission statement for your business. I believe you need a purpose statement first and here’s the reason why: Purpose transcends a company’s vision or mission. It’s the reason behind the vision. What are you hoping to achieve? What would you do even if you didn’t get paid for it?

For the owner, founder, leader of a company or inventor of a product, it’s their driving force. The purpose is what excites them about being in business or developing a product or service. Looking deeper, it’s your approach to solving problems or interacting with the world. If people are innovators, they’ll originate ideas in almost everything they do. You’ll see it in the small things like, for example, helping their children learn maths after school by teaching different methods from the traditional curriculum.

A good example of purpose transcending a company’s vision or mission would be Elon Musk, the owner of SpaceX, Tesla, Solar City, and Hyperloop. He is an innovator. His vision and mission are different for each endeavour. His purpose is the same: innovate on large issues that are facing our society. I know Elon is a one-in-a-million example and most people will not own more than one business in their lifetime—and even fewer of us will own multiple businesses at the same time. But most business owners are confronted with different opportunities that stem from the one business. Also, there can be many parts, activities or departments to one business. That purpose will impact how each is addressed and run.

Let’s take a small business as an illustration. My wife’s yoga studio, Kai Yoga Studio, is a good example of how purpose transcends mission. She started out with a passion for learning more about alternative medicine while homeschooling our children. This passion led her to become a reflexologist. She’s a teacher at heart, someone who loves to learn and discover. Since she has opened her studio, she has migrated from teaching Hatha (more Iyengar style) Yoga to Ashtanga Yoga.

Fit for purpose

As a yoga studio owner in the United States, she is tempted—like most I’m sure—to sell products and to teach every kind of yoga that is popular. Because she’s a learner, she doesn’t teach yoga like a workout or exercise class. It has led her to offer a teacher training but not the typical McYoga 6-month or 4-week intensive. Her school is set up like a college where you can take courses when they are offered, and take up to two years to complete your 200-level training at your own pace. Any student, not just those wanting to be teachers, can take a course as pass-fail. All the courses for teachers are done as part of a mentorship programme—highly personal and tailored to how and who you want to teach.

Her purpose dictates her personal practice, how she teaches, what form of yoga she teaches, what kind of teacher training she does—just as much as what she doesn’t do or pursue. Because she’s in her late 40s and a reflexologist (and a lover of all things physiology, anatomy and body systems-related), she attracts older people who want to do yoga but have physical limitations, so they need understanding and instruction on how to modify poses. A lot of her students are nurses or in the medical community and they come to her classes because she can speak to them in their language.

Purpose before vision and mission

purpose diagram

Once you understand your purpose, you can develop a vision statement. The vision statement is a lofty ideal to aspire to. Kai Yoga Studio’s vision statement is to ‘Change Lives.’ The mission statement is to impact and transform lives through yoga education and practice. The mission is the what and how of the vision statement. Because you have identified your purpose first, you have tapped into the human side of the business and can make the business less about ‘the what’ and more about ‘the why.’

In the business world, the people who have said businesses are for profit generation have started to understand that businesses provide something on a deeper level. In a book called Good to Great, the author Jim Collins writes, “Companies need to exist for a higher purpose than mere profit generation to transcend the category of merely good.” I’ve done a lot of research and study on why this is and have come to the conclusion that it’s simply because it’s based on the way we learn and the way our brain works.

Use meaning to communicate your purpose

We learn by connecting meaning to objects. If you put an iPhone in a child’s hand that has never held one before, they will do one of two things. They will put it in their mouth or throw it down. It has no meaning to them. Once something has an associated meaning, it has value. A concentration camp survivor and world-renowned Neurologist and Psychiatrist, Viktor E. Frankl, observed that, “Our main motivation for living is our will to find meaning.” He saw this in operation while living (I use that term loosely) in the camps. He saw that those who believed they were not born to die in the camps, didn’t. They survived by believing they existed for something greater. Their life had meaning beyond their current situation.

This desire to find meaning is innately human. We look for meaning in every aspect of life. It’s how we navigate through our environment. This extends to the use of signs, symbols, and language. A company’s brand should use all these tools to communicate their identity and purpose (which will be discussed in later posts).

Attract those who believe what you believe

When building a business—building a brand—starting on a foundation of purpose allows you to communicate with meaning and build value. The clearer the communication, the more accurate the expectations people will have before interacting with your company. The more accurate their expectations are, the better experience they will have. If you communicate with meaning from the centre of purpose, you will attract those that believe what you believe. You will start growing your tribe—your loyal followers that see your business for something more than providing a product or service.

Do you want to find your purpose?  Book a free consultation to find out how we can help.

Book a free consultation

Read the next post in this series

In the second part of this mini-series we ask, Do you really need a vision and mission statement for your business?

Or go back to Blog series: The anatomy of a brand.

About the author

Jan Ostendorf, Purpose BrandingJän Ostendof  runs a branding consultancy called Purpose Branding where he helps small privately-held business owners clarify their message, both verbally and visually, bringing the power of branding to small businesses.

He lives just outside Dayton, Ohio with his wife Sonja and two children — just a block away from their yoga studio where he practices Ashtanga daily.


Content Kitchen 16: How do I create a memorable brand for my business?

Brought to you on the first Friday of each month, Content Kitchen is a series of videos in which our co-founder Guy answers your content marketing questions. Why Content Kitchen? Because they’re recorded in Guy’s kitchen of course!

How do I create a memorable brand for my business?

Branding is a really in-depth and complex topic which can often seem overwhelming particularly if you are just starting out. In this month’s Content Kitchen video Guy introduces three key elements and explains how these should all work together seamlessly in order for your brand to make sense.

What next?

Guest blogger Jän Ostendorf CEO of Purpose Branding writes the first of the follow-up posts and explains why a purpose statement is so important to your brand. Check it out: How to successfully build your brand on purpose.