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Developing a brand identity? Yeah, it’s hard.

You’re an entrepreneur. A thought leader. A world changer. And you’re doing your dangdest to leverage your brand strategy to knock it out of the park.

But being a world changer and a thought leader can be a little overwhelming.

The number of voices telling you what you should do {ooh how we hate that word} have multiplied, to the point where you’ve tried one brand marketing strategy after another in hopes of finding the magic formula that’s going to put you front and center once and for all.

Even worse, you’re so busy running your business, you haven’t had the time or energy to pay attention to all the little bits and pieces that showcase your business and bring in new, qualified leads on the regular.

You’re savvy, and you know that a magic formula doesn’t exist. But it’s hard not to get sucked in, thinking that maybe THIS time you’ve found the winning ticket.

The problem is: the noise, the “shoulds”, the quick fixes, the hustle… it’s all pulling us away from our main focus. And when our attention is divided and our intentions aren’t clear, it shows up in our content, our relationships, and our numbers. Ouch.

Not to mention that our message — the very thing that gives us purpose and motivates us to keep going in the first place — has gotten all muddled, twisted, and maybe even lost as we’ve been stuck in the weeds. How can we knock it out of the park if we don’t even know what “it” is anymore?

Who has time to nail down their brand message?

The heart of your brand marketing strategy is your brand message.

The good news is that you already have a message. Your business, your brand… it has a message, whether you mean to or not, whether you’re paying attention to it or not, whether you want to or not.

But it’s easy to get so fixated on fixes that we lose sight of our message in the process. Or you misplace it. You put it on a shelf somewhere and moved on to shinier things. And while you’re focused on the nuts and bolts of your business, your message might be… drifting.

And then the message you’re broadcasting is, well, not the message you’re intending. It might be saying something like, “This lady is scattered and unprofessional.” Or “This person is no different than anyone else.” Or even {shudder}, “Run for your lives — listening to this guy is a big waste of time!”

I mean, seriously. How awful would that be?

Here’s the deal: You can’t lose your message. We don’t mean “can’t” like “It’s not possible,” but rather “can’t” as in “We are begging you to not lose it!”

{Pause} Let’s dream for a minute.

We’ve all felt the ickiness of what Amanda Bond so accurately calls “bro-marketing”. This happens when so-called experts shout at you to do it their way, promising success and falling hella short on substance.

At best, you’re left annoyed. At worst? You’re stuck running from {self-proclaimed} guru to guru, shelling out money and wasting valuable time. That’s stressful, and it doesn’t give you the results you are hoping for.

So push pause on all the craziness. Dream with us for a minute about what would it look like to have a brand marketing strategy that allowed you to:


  • Realign to your values and get out of the gross-feeling sales tactics
  • Easily and quickly convey your vision, mission, and content pillars to your audience {we call this your VAMP} so they know who you are and what you stand for.
  • Communicate in a way that feels authentic to your voice AND completely excites and reignites your audience.
  • Create content that matters to your audience, doesn’t take forever to put together, and fully represents your business {while also guiding people on a customer journey that makes sense}.
  • Share stories that connect and engage, building strong relationships around emotion and experience.
  • Step forward as a leading voice in your field, sharing your unique message in a way that resonates with the right people.
  • Breathe. {Always a good thing, right? We’ll talk more about this in an upcoming article.}
Messaging Driven Leadership consists of: Vision, Audience, Mission, Pillars

The new normal for your brand strategy.

If you look at how things have changed over the last 5 years, you’ll know that old-school marketing tactics and band-aid approaches are working less and less {in both B2B and B2C business models}.

Consumers are gravitating towards STORY more than ever. On Forbes, an article by Matt Bowman, a digital marketer, states that

“In today’s increasingly cluttered online marketplace, it’s more difficult to attract and keep a reader’s attention. In order to engage your reader, your content strategy has to be on point, and storytelling can help.”

We would go even further to say that storytelling not only helps, but it’s actually a game-changer.

And standing out… making your voice heard above the crowd… means you must have true expertise in your field, be innovative, and speak to the right audience. And… you have to do it well.

So how do you develop a brand identity that captures the right attention?

The answer: Messaging-driven leadership.

And what is that, exactly? Storytelling, in a sense.

Or, more specifically, messaging-driven leadership is a strategic message that drives and builds a leadership platform, so you can create a true impact {your own, your clients’, your audience’s}.

Your brand strategy is no longer some supposedly magic “3 steps for success”, but rather letting the very thing you’re passionate about {your message, your movement!} seep through the pores of your business and affect everything you do. It’s letting what’s inside of you be seen. It’s letting your light shine.

However, this takes some curating. It takes a little bit of work on the front end, and then of course you’ll want to maintain it. But make sure that what you’re starting with is what you’re really wanting to say.

It’s time to level up your message in an intentional way — a way that helps you reconnect to your core, embrace your evolution as an entrepreneur, and show up as a leading voice in your field.

Messaging Driven Leadership allows you to stay aligned, engage your audience, build community, grow your audience, and establish expertise, innovation, and influence.

What is messaging-driven leadership?

Put simply, it’s a brand marketing strategy that:

    • Allows you to remain value-centered with content that actually helps your people AND encourages them to buy from you.
    • Engages your audience through story, allowing them to know the person/team behind the brand, and the vision behind the business.
    • Expands community by adding quality audience members, rather than just ramping up the quantity with people who are not a good fit.
    • Pushes you to grow in scare-citing ways {personally, professionally, financially, etc.}, and does the same for your audience.
    • Establishes your expertise, innovation, and influence — and elevates all three.

Where did messaging-driven leadership come from?

Having a message is not a new thing. As we’ve mentioned before, you can’t help having a message. You are communicating something to the world, whether you’re doing it intentionally or not.

Messaging-driven leadership happens when you intentionally harness your message, define and refine it, and make sure you are communicating what you want to communicate in a voice that’s true to your brand. }

We’ve spent the last decade working with clients across a wide range of industries: entrepreneurship, travel, healthcare, education, relationships, nutrition, event planning, nonprofit, law, real estate, coaching, and more.

And so many times, they come to us saying things like,

“I haven’t had the time or bandwidth to focus on my message in YEARS.”

“I’ve tried hiring copywriters in the past, but they didn’t get me, my mission, or my voice.”

“I don’t know if my voice can even be replicated. No one has ever been able to.”

“My message isn’t reaching as many people as it needs to. I’m all over the place.”

“I’ve built something great, but I need to be sure it fully represents my mission.”

“I have stories to tell, but I don’t know if I’m ready to tell them — or if they’re even relevant to the conversation.”

Keep in mind that these comments are coming from established, successful business owners. These aren’t newbies!

And, after a while, we began to notice something: The SUPERSTARS in their fields — the ones who stood out above the rest — looked to us to incorporate three things into their core message to get it where it needed to be.

What are these three things? They’re actually components of our own North Star brand strategy: Expertise, Innovation, and Influence.

Industry superstars incorporate Expertise, Innovation, and Influence into their core message

Helping our clients focus on these three things took them from exasperated and hopeless to empowered and well-positioned. Just take a look at some of the things they’ve said:

“Working with North Star was great and helped me learn a lot about my audience. Now my copy resonates with my audience.”” – Jon Acampora, Elevate Excel

“North Star gets my voice like no one else, and they are truly my copywriting superheroes.” – Dr Shannon Irvine, Business Strategist and Success Coach

“North Star understands my voice and message on such a deep level.” – Lisa Carpenter, Full Frontal Living™

“North Star brings you through the fog into clarity around your messaging. I never realized how important messaging was, nor how to ensure I was getting it right…Five stars all the way.” – Carmen Reed Gilkinson, Midlife to Best Life

So while we are confident that incorporating these three components into your brand marketing strategy will bring you success, we’re not just offering you another formula.

We’re offering you a  strategy that we’ve used to establish our brand voice and identity, and help our clients do the same. Now it’s your turn to use this strategy to showcase your message, stand out from the crowd, and attract more qualified leads.

Let’s break down our strategy for Messaging-Driven Leadership.

Expertise is what gets you on stage


What exactly is expertise? Merriam-Webster officially defines it as “the skill or opinion of an expert.” But the synonyms listed paint a much more vivid picture: chops, experience, know-how, moxie, proficiency, savvy, skills. {We’re fans of “moxie,” personally.}

We like to define expertise as the experience, skills, and knowledge to speak with authority on a topic.

Basically, it means that your audience can trust you to know what you’re talking about. They can trust you’re not making stuff up, you’re not just another voice in an ocean of voices claiming to be an expert. You ARE an expert, and the way you communicate your expertise is important.

Being an expert doesn’t just happen by sticking a bunch of letters at the end of your name {nor do those letters guarantee people will want to listen to you}. While degrees and certifications might help, you have to be able to prove through your content and client experiences that you are someone who 1) knows what they’re talking about, and 2) gets results.

Being an expert doesn’t just happen by sticking a bunch of letters at the end of your name.

We live in a results-driven society, and our audiences are busy. It doesn’t do much good to spout off advice if you can’t also show how your advice makes a difference when put into practice. This is the kind of content that gets people’s attention.

For example, when we told you that we coach our clients in messaging-driven leadership and we’ve seen our clients become superstars as they implement our recommendations, you could just take our word for it. That would be a nice thing to do, and we would be thankful.

But wouldn’t you be so much more convinced if you heard it from them?

“I feel great after working with North Star. Everything is so much more clear!” – Beth Gordon, The Kandid Kitchen

“Within a few days of working with North Star, I’m now super-clear on who I’m serving in my business and why.” – Fiona Mackenzie, Fiona Lynn Coaching

“After working with North Star, my message has unified.” – Lindsey Nelson, Opportunity Unlocked

“I woke up to an email…asking if [a copywriter] could use my website as an example of writing with a clear voice that makes your personality shine through in your copy for her upcoming copywriting course. …I wouldn’t have been able to do that if it weren’t for North Star.” – Meaghan Lamm, OBM

 Not only that, but we can speak to results. Our messaging strategy and copywriting has helped support our clients through 6-figure program launches, successful best-selling book promotions, and complete rebrands.

Simple actions like including testimonials in your marketing copy will help to establish your expertise, confirming your leadership in your field. This makes an audience stop and pay attention.

You can also establish expertise by including stories, certificates, case studies, and interviews.

Show your audience that you can be trusted. Show them, through your content, that you are an expert in your field and are worthy of their attention.

Innovation gives you the microphone

2)   Innovation

Now, we’ve talked about the importance of establishing expertise. While expertise gives you the credibility needed to stand up on the stage, INNOVATION is what gives you a microphone. 

What is innovation? It’s your unique angle/way of approaching your industry. It seizes on missed opportunities, reframes common conversations, and opens the door to new approaches.

It’s the YOU inserted into UNIQUE. Yep, you heard us: YOU-nique.

It’s YOUR unique answer — your innovative solution — to your clients’ problems.

It’s what sets you apart from others.

It’s the creative solution that fills existing gaps in the industry. It can be your results-inspiring solution, which is something tangible, or even the specific flavor you give to what you do {and the content you create}.

This innovation shows up in your mission statement, your bio, your USPs, your teaching pieces, and your blog posts.

You could even say it’s the heart behind the message, your beating, beautiful heart that comes through in everything you put out there for the world to hear. 

Innovation is the heart behind the message, your beating, beautiful heart that comes through in everything you put out there for the world to hear. 

Not sure how to articulate your innovative angle? Ask yourself these two questions and see what comes up for you:

  1. What do I disagree with that’s currently happening in my industry?
  2. What opportunities are being missed within my industry? 

That’s it. Journal on your responses and see what you have to say. We’re willing to bet you have a few responses at the ready — and those responses are the seeds to your innovation.

Yes, it matters that you have expertise. But expertise without innovation doesn’t motivate people to listen to you.

Influence is the volume knob


In sticking with the whole stage/microphone analogy, let’s summarize “influence” by saying this: It’s the volume .

Yes, expertise gets you on the stage. It puts you in front of people.

Innovation hands you the microphone and gives you the opportunity to share your message so that people will listen.

So what is influence? It’s your capacity to get the audience to stop talking to each other and listen. You could call it the volume knob on the amplifier. It’s the ability to make heads turn to you and take notice. It’s the combination of your talent, your creativity, and your technical know-how in making that microphone cut through the noise.

If you don’t have volume, you don’t have an audience. If your volume isn’t turned up, no matter how good you look on that stage, no matter the fact that you’ve earned the right to be there, no matter that you’ve got the latest and greatest mic on the market… you won’t have influence. 

Let’s be clear, though: It’s not about adding to the noise. It’s not about being the loudest in the room. It’s about being loud enough to be heard and then saying something evocative and meaningful enough to grab and hold attention.

Influence is the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something: to turn heads, to create fans, to motivate your audience to action! 

And whether you have a room of 10 people, 100 people, or 1 million people… that’s powerful.

As you willingly and vulnerably put yourself and your message out there to your audience in a real, authentic way, it shows up in the actionable piece of your content. It shows up in your CTAs, your blogs, and your social media posts.

It means embracing your flaws and imperfections and finding a way to make them work for you, inspiring your audience to follow through because they trust you.

See, influence isn’t just about number-grabbing {really, who cares how many followers you have on Instagram if they’re all bots and ghosts?}. It’s about leveraging your message with a quality audience, so it can create influence and change. The result? When you tell your audience to do something or go somewhere, they listen. They believe you. They take action. You have influence.

How messaging-driven leadership ties into brand marketing strategy.

So going back to the need for a rock-solid brand marketing strategy that inspires your audience to 1) look to you for expertise, 2) want your unique solution to their problem {or your unique way of BEING}, and 3) change their behavior because of it, here’s what we recommend:

  • Make sure you’re clear on all three areas of thought leadership {Expertise, Innovation, and Influence}, so you can build your platform.
  • Have a strong grasp of your vision, audience, mission, and pillar content, so your content stays focused and on point.
  • Make sure all of those pieces are represented in your messaging, so you can connect with the right people at the right time, in the right way.

Want guidance and support along the way? That’s exactly what our membership community is for.

This group is for thought leaders who seek to leverage their expertise, explore their innovation, and expand their influence to make a greater impact on the world.

Remember how we told you that it helps to include testimonials to establish expertise?

Here are a few more from a couple of our members, sharing how messaging-driven leadership has set them apart:

I cannot think of a single college class where a professor walked me through this level of actionable implementation. This has been one of the most professional programs I’ve ever been through.” – Hope Brookins, Personal Branding Coach

“This has been the best investment of time and money during my 6+ years in business. The books are great, the leaders are kind and delightful, the leaders and members are extremely helpful. The Road Map we follow is brilliant. There is nothing else like it in the world!” Linda Vettrus-Nichols, Evolutionary Healer

This program has helped me stay on track with my big leadership goals as a new leader in my profession and also as I grow my team and hone my message.” – Deb Blakely, Kids Dig Food

So how do you develop a brand identity that stands out above the rest?

It takes work, surrounding yourself with the right voices, and cutting out the excess noise. It takes a commitment to your message that doesn’t back down or give up and allows YOU to BE the kind of voice that gets an audience’s attention. It takes a well-defined message that inspires your audience to take action.

And it takes you being someone who knows what you’re talking about, who cares about your audience, and someone that people want to listen to.

Let that bright light of yours shine!

 We can help you get your big idea out to the world. Click here to learn more about our messaging-driven leadership membership community.

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