In the age of social media, one word has the power to make our clients do their very best horror film victim impression—brand. (That is, until they talk to us). We know that branding yourself can feel abstract at best and a little hokey at worst. To find your brand, first you have to get clear on what it’s not.

Your brand is not:

  • What you do
  • Your credentials
  • Your title
  • Your accolades
  • Any label you can find in a dropdown menu

Your credentials, title, and accolades are all a resource for your wisdom. But they don’t lead—you do. And by you, we mean the person behind those titles—the one with passion, drive, opinions, a distinct mission. You are who we want to connect with—not Random Harvard Doctor #4. And your brand is the first point of contact and sum of your customer’s engagement with you.

To find your brand, ask yourself these three questions:


1. Why you? Why this thing?

To connect with you, we need to know your story—your why. What was the moment, the exact scene, you discovered what you were meant to do? What happened that triggered your burning desire to help people with this problem? Your struggles draw us in as much as your expertise.

For example, Dorie Clark is passionate about helping people take control of their professional lives because there were very few opportunities for success in her North Carolina hometown, and she believes everyone should be able to get paid for doing what they love. Farnoosh Torabi is passionate about personal finance because she was once 22 years old, $30k in debt, living in NYC and eating canned tuna. And as she grew up and out of debt, she realized there was a hole in our country’s financial literacy that was leaving young people out to dry.

Your story may make you feel vulnerable. Good. That vulnerability is exactly what let’s your audience in and allows them to feel something for you. Get us invested in your story and we’ll follow you anywhere.


2. Who are you passionate about helping?

One of our favorite exercises to give clients is this fill-in-the-blank:

“I help (people who need/want X) to (benefit #1) and (benefit #2).”

Who are your people? Get specific. Sure, in your practice, you may help everyone. But who do you want to be known for helping? Who do you passionately advocate for or think gets overlooked? There’s a certain demographic of your clientele that hits your expertise sweet spot.

Don’t be afraid to lean into that one thing—your thing. Getting specific about your brand doesn’t limit you—it does the opposite. You have to be specific enough to cut through the din. And once you’ve got people’s attention, your brand can pivot with you—because it is you!

Take Game of Thrones fan favorite Jon Snow. Jon Snow’s brand isn’t “The Night’s Watch.” It’s “honest to a fault, heroic beyond reason, constantly taking up for the underdog.” Who does he love to help? Samwell Tarly. The Wildlings. The downtrodden and abandoned. And because his brand is who he is, it follows him into larger adventures (hello, dragons). It doesn’t limit him—catapults him into his true destiny (R+L=J, y’all) and expands his capabilities. Okay, we’ll stop geeking out.


3. What’s your favorite way to help people?

Get specific about how you help people. For example, say you’re an autoimmune disease expert. Maybe you like to get in the weeds one on one with clients and overhaul their nutrition plan. Or maybe you’re a fabulous curator of autoimmune-safe products, recipes, and routines. Those are two brands that, technically, speak to many of the same things. But how they want to help people sets their brands apart.

And when it comes to your media brand, there are only so many hours in a day. You may want to write a book, host a podcast, give a TED talk, teach an online course, create a YouTube channel, and start a blog. And, in due time, we believe you can do all or most of those things! But right now, start with what you love and the rest will follow. Ask yourself, “Am I itching to write this book or to develop this course?” Your brand will ring truer if you lead with who you are and how you love to be of service. And that will pique the media’s interest.


About Paula & Terri:

Terri Trespicio, Co-Founder, Lights Camera Expert, LLC

Terri Trespicio is a New York–based branding pro and keynote speaker who helps companies and individuals nail their messaging and engage clients, customers, and fans. She speaks widely at conferences and events, and her TEDx talk, “Stop Searching for Your Passion,” has earned more than 3 million views.

A former magazine editor at Martha Stewart’s Whole Living magazine and radio host at Sirius XM, she has appeared on the Today show, Dr. Oz, The Early Show, and The Anderson Cooper Show. She’s been featured in Oprah magazine, Marie Claire, Prevention, Business Insider, and, among others. An in-demand speaker and TEDx coach, Terri speaks widely and was rated the #1 speaker at Barron’s Top Women Advisors Summit and How Design live.


Paula Rizzo, Co-Founder, Lights Camera Expert, LLC

A best-selling author and Emmy-award winning television producer for nearly 20 years, Paula has produced health, wellness, and lifestyle segments with a range of top experts, including JJ Virgin, Jillian Michaels, and Deepak Chopra. Most recently she served as the senior health producer for Fox News Channel in New York City for more than a decade.

Paula’s the founder of the productivity site and best-selling author of Listful Thinking: Using Lists to be More Productive, Highly Successful and Less Stressed, which has been translated into 12 languages and has been featured on many media outlets including Fox News, Fox Business, Prevention, Business Insider, Entrepreneur, Brides and made it on’s list of “Self Help Books That Actually Help.”

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