Episode 343

Mar 12, 2021

Do massage therapists need a branding guide? Allissa and Michael discuss it and let you know what to include.

Listen to "E343: Do MTs Need a Branding Guide?" on Spreaker.
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Weekly Roundup

Discussion Topic

  • Do MTs Need a Branding Guide?

Quick Tips

  • Don’t settle for subpar providers



Sponsor message: This episode is sponsored by The Original Jojoba Company. I firmly believe that massage therapists should only be using the highest quality products because our clients deserve it and our own bodies deserve it. I have been using Jojoba for years, and here's why. Jojoba is non-allergenic. I can use it on any client and every client without fear of an allergic reaction. It is also non-comedogenic, so it won't clog pores. So if you've got clients prone to acne breakouts, Jojoba is a good choice for them. It does not go rancid. There's no triglycerides, so it can sit on your shelf for a year plus and not be a problem. That's what also makes Jojoba a wonderful carrier for your essential oils as well. It won't stay in your 100% cotton sheets. So your linens are going to last longer. The Original Jojoba Company is the only company in the world that carries 100% pure first press quality Jojoba and we are delighted to be their partner. You, my friends, can get 20% off the price of the product when you shop through our link, massagebusinessblueprint.com/jojoba.

Michael Reynolds: Hey, everyone. Welcome to The Massage Business Blueprint Podcast, where we help you attract more clients, make more money, and improve your quality of life. I'm Michael Reynolds.

Allissa Haines: Hey, I'm Allissa Haines.

Michael Reynolds: And we're your hosts.

Allissa Haines: We are.

Michael Reynolds: Welcome to our episode today.

Allissa Haines: Yeah. We got... It's going to be a short and easy one, and I know sometimes I promise that and it's not, but it's really going to be.

Michael Reynolds: For realsies this time?

Allissa Haines: For realsies. So let me tell you what I've been reading.

Michael Reynolds: Go for it.

Allissa Haines: Because it's a bit of a mea culpa from last week. So last week, we talked about if you had the right, and if you wanted to refuse clients who are choosing to not get the vaccine, the COVID-19 vaccine. I talked a lot about how the ethics involved and how one might make those decisions. I talked about how to handle people who do not want to get the vaccine, but what I left out, and it was super ignorant of me and I'm so grateful to our friend who pointed this out to me, I left out a whole school of people who may choose to not get the vaccine who are hesitant to get the vaccine because of longtime racial issues in medicine. Our friend gave me a really great podcast to listen to it is the podcast, Code Switch, and it is an episode called A Shot in the Dark. It's only 26 minutes. It is worth your time. It talks all about the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine and the large challenge of public health regarding skepticism by many black people.

Allissa Haines: It's interesting because they really examined why people might be hesitant and the easiest go-to for every conversation about this has been like, "Well, we all remember the Tuskegee experiment," but actually it turns out to not be the driving factor between regarding vaccine hesitancy and black people. There's actually a lot more involved and it's not rocket science to think this through and think the black maternal mortality rate is huge. Black babies die at a much greater rate than white ones. It's a whole field and a whole bunch of racial discrimination in healthcare involved in this vaccine hesitancy that I did not touch on and I should have, and I should have examined how we will deal with people... If I don't want to see someone who hasn't been vaccinated, what are my caveats for that? I do have a caveat for people who have not been vaccinated for medical reasons. It's a conversation.

Allissa Haines: I kind of decided that if someone wants to come to me and they have not been vaccinated, and the reason is hesitancy for these kinds of reasons, I need to have a conversation with them, and in the same way, talk them through, or have them talk me through what risk factors they are involved in in regards to potentially catching this virus and maybe passing it onto me and make my decision accordingly. But it would be deeply wrong to refuse a client who is refusing the vaccine for these kinds of reasons. I'm not sure how we're going to parse that out. I don't want to refuse service to an already compromised community.

Allissa Haines: Anyhow, I am going to put the link to this Code Switch podcast episode in the show notes. I would encourage us all to listen to it. It was really interesting and it has the author of the book, Medical Apartheid, which I haven't read yet and I know that I need to, but a lot of this material actually gives me nightmares and stuff. So I haven't read it and I will eventually, and I just wanted to acknowledge that I screwed that up last week. That is the end of my thing. What are you reading, Michael?

Michael Reynold...: Thanks for sharing that. I really like building on additional knowledge and continuing to work through things like this. I really love it when people do this, when they'll say, "Hey, wait a minute. Let's add more knowledge and more information to the thing we talked about last time and get better and better at this stuff. So thank you.

Allissa Haines: You bet.

Michael Reynolds: What am I reading? I am reading about the CDC updated guidelines. The CDC has released new guidelines based on the state of vaccination in the US. They have said that those who are vaccinated are now allowed to visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing. They're allowed to visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing. And they're allowed to refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure of COVID-19 if asymptomatic.

Michael Reynolds: So there's a lot of caveats here, and Allissa's got some comments that I agree with as well as she's going to jump in with, I know, but they've also said that, "Hey, there's still a small risk of vaccinated people contracting COVID having a low, like a mild case, and then passing it on to someone who is not vaccinated." So there is still a risk there, but the CDC is coming out and saying, "Hey, there's new guidelines for vaccinated people." So I think that's really encouraging news. It's really optimistic, I think. But there are caveats and, Allissa, I know you have a caveat you wanted to mention.

Allissa Haines: Yeah. I think I also think this is really positive news and I don't necessarily think that what do I know? But I don't think the CDC is wrong to make these announcements and put these new suggestions in place. I think that perhaps these will be a motivator to some people who are on the fence about getting vaccinated, like, "Oh, okay, well, if I do get vaccinated, it's going to be safe. Everyone says, it's okay for me to do this, this and this now." And I think that that's good if it's going to motivate people who are otherwise on the fence. That said, I am deeply concerned that this guidance does not properly address the new variants, because we still are not confident about the efficacy of these vaccines or the strength of these vaccines against a lot of the new variants that are popping up even here in the United States.

Allissa Haines: I am also concerned that this is going to cause a lot of pushback from clients who do not want to mask anymore. So I kind of want to remind everybody that one, you need to be following whatever your state or local rules are. If you're someone who is exceeding the state and local rules, like if your area doesn't require masking, but you have chosen to, it's going to be really hard if you get pushback from clients who are vaccinated. Like my clients know mostly that have been, they've been paying attention. They know that I'm vaccinated. And a handful of them are. No one has asked me if that means they can take their mask off yet, but I anticipate that and I'm concerned about it.

Allissa Haines: Now, I get to say, "You got to leave your mask on because the state says it." But if the state changes their rules next week, what am I going to say? I'm nervous about my own ability to hold these boundaries under pressure. I'm nervous about your willingness and ability to hold these boundaries under pressure, because I know how hard it is. I will admit that I kind of froze up last week when I had a client who has been coming to see me throughout this and has been behaving in a very safe manner, as far as I can tell. When she flipped prone, she pulled her mask down under chin.

Allissa Haines: I don't feel... I'm not going to go into it, but I don't feel great about how I handled it and now I'm nervous about our next appointment. So I just want to put it out there that even if you're good at this, sometimes holding boundaries is really hard. I'm worried about how this guidance is going to make that harder for us. So practice your speeches, practice what you're going to say, practice what your boundary is going to be and how you're going to maintain that and what you're going to do when clients just firmly disagree with that. That's what I had to say about that.

Michael Reynolds: All right. Well, before we move on to a topic that I am really excited about, let's show some love to our friends at ABMP.

Allissa Haines: Yay, ABMP. They have CE courses you will love available for purchase or included free with membership in the ABMP Education Center. And you can find that at ABMP.com/CE. You can explore hands-on techniques, complete ethics requirements, discover trending courses, like a detailed approach to low back pain from [Alison Denny 00:09:58]. All ABMP memberships include 200 plus video-based on-demand CE classes and if you're not a member, you can purchase access for a single course or a package. Again, ABMP.com/CE. I hesitated there because for a second, I was like, "Wait, wait, Allison's doing something more for them now, too." And she is, Allison's actually doing a podcast series for them, which I have not listened to the first one yet, but I am going to. It's Queued Up. I'm very excited. So yeah, in case you didn't know, AMBP also has a really great podcast. You can find it ABMP.com/podcast, or anywhere you listen to podcasts, just search for search for ABMP.

Allissa Haines: Again, you know I like to expand upon our little ads. I went back to massage work last week after taking a couple of months off after the holiday spike and worked too hard and then noticed the other day that my thumb and forefinger were starting to tingle again, which earlier on I had attributed to using the track pad on my computer. But as it turns out, is exacerbated by massage. So I was like, "Okay, now I got to think about what causes this," because I don't do this kind of clinical work very often. I went to ABMP and I looked at their five minute muscle app that gives you all the muscle locations and innervations, and then it gives you videos on how to palpate each muscle and then how to treat each muscle. So anyhow, I watched a couple of two-minute videos and I worked on my own pronator teres, and my thumb and finger stopped tingling. So yay, ABMP. Thank you for that resource. I'm not just an advertiser, I'm also a client.

Michael Reynolds: Hey, while we're on the ABMP love fest, let me add one more thing. The whole podcast will be about ABMP. ABMP shared a social media post promoting our website review session coming up. And one of the comments kind of encapsulates what I think a lot of us feel about ABMP. She said, "Thank you ABMP. You rock it again. It's been almost a year since I closed my office. You, ABMP, have shown up consistently to bring us all valuable information, seminars, courses, et cetera. I am so glad I'm a member." This is the kind of stuff people say about ABMP all the time because it's true.

Allissa Haines: That's wonderful. I just, I know we sound like, I don't know, ridiculous cult leaders, but I can't even express sometimes how much I ever appreciated the support I got from ABMP like well before I wrote a column for them and well before I even knew them very well, but to get support from them even before I was a member and just when I started to teach a little bit in the profession has been... They have really helped me find me and find the best version of my voice to share. I'm so grateful for that. Anyhow, thanks, Darren and Leslie and Les and Jed and everybody there and Kristen and oh my gosh. Anyhow, let's move on to our topic because we sound ridiculous.

Michael Reynolds: Let's do it. Oh my gosh. Branding. I'm so excited about this topic and I know you've got a lot of stuff to share, so I'm just going to sit back and enjoy for now.

Allissa Haines: Yes. So the topic today is do massage therapists need a branding guide? Spoiler alert, yes, but let me tell you what a branding guide is first. This is not going to be the same as like Coca-Cola's branding guide. I am dramatically scaling this down to suit our needs because we do not need a 35-page document to define the brand of our business for the purposes of future marketing. We need something a little more simple and really just a go-to resource for when we try to do certain things in our business. So what's a branding guide? It's essentially a list of the characteristics of your brand, the very tangible ones and the intangible ones. So a branding guide is going to include the files of your logo in a few different file formats, depending on what you might need for your website versus social versus a print ad, different sizing and resolutions and versions of your logo.

Allissa Haines: That includes the colors of your logo and the font that's used in your logo. It is really helpful to know exactly what they are. Now in regards to colors, you want ideally the hex codes, which is just usually a six digit code that starts with the number sign or the pound sign, depending on how you know it. It's the code for your color so that you can put that code in anywhere, in Canva when you're designing images or in your email bulk service provider so that you have the right color background or the right color highlighted text, you use it in your website when you're deciding font color and highlight color and all kinds of things like that. It's super to know the hex code. I swear to you, it's going to take an hour off your effort whenever you try to do anything right.

Allissa Haines: So you want to know, within your logo, what the font and the color codes are that are used in your logo, your color palette as a whole. So like me, my logo is a dark gray, a light gray, and a yellow. But if you go to my website, you're going to see that we use gray and yellow, but there's also a complimentary color that's kind of a teal, turquoise color that's used in places that need an accent, so that needs to be highlighted, but yellow didn't work because yellow is not a great color to make text or whatever. So my color palette includes both shades of gray, the yellow, and that turquoise color. It includes the codes for each so that, and again, this branding guide is just a document. It is a single Google doc in my business Google drive that I can refer to whenever I need to create something.

Allissa Haines: So colors, that's what you need in the hex codes. If you're not sure how to find the hex code of any given color, one, talk to the person who made your logo because they should've given you that information with it. If they didn't, they probably still have that information. There's also tools you can use within a computer and online to find the hex codes, Google it. If you have that much trouble, call me or email me podcast@massagebusinessblueprint.com. I didn't want to put links to different tools in the show notes because it really depends on the kind of computer you're using because some have tools built in and some don't, so Google how to find that, and if you can't, then email us.

Allissa Haines: Fonts, again, the ones used in your logo, but also what fonts are used, let's start maybe with your website. What's used as the title of sections? What's used as a heading what fonts are used in the body text? And these are all kind of technical terms. If you've built your own website or familiar with manipulating a website, you're going to see that there's probably a format in there that identifies a certain font for titles and headings and body text. So know them, have them written down in your guide. That's going to help you if you need to build an email template and you could really, and you want it to be consistent with your branding elsewhere, it's very easy to find the font that's used in your logo and/or used on your websites.

Allissa Haines: You want to try to keep it consistent because fonts are either compatible with each other or not. There's some fonts that look really good together with using one font as a title and another in the body text and some that don't. So rather than spending an hour fussing around and finding out what works together, just use what you've already determined works together. If there's text in your logo, pull from there, or whatever you've decided is going to be the foundation of your website, pull from there.

Allissa Haines: Branding is also photos and art. It's the style of the images that you use in your website, in your social media. It is the colors that you're wearing in your headshot, if you have a color headshot, and how they coordinate with the stock images that you're using, especially, I mean, if you can do custom stock images, which means you have a photographer come to your office and take pictures of you massaging a client in your actual office, the color of the sheets that you've used, or the filters that you've used and the very style, what you're wearing as you massage versus what you're wearing in your headshot. If you're wearing some business suit in your headshot, but your massage shows you in a tank top, that's a very different feel. You want to find something more consistent that works with the feel and the tone, the feeling that all of your materials give off.

Allissa Haines: This translates too, to the style of your social media images. If you just use graphics that other businesses and other people have created, it's not a super cohesive look. So if you're going to create your own social media images, you want to do it with a consistent filter, or you want to use the fonts that are used on your website and in your logo and everywhere else. You want to use a trim color that is the same colors that are used on your website and in your social media. You get it. You want these to have some kind of consistency so that they flow together. So that someone looks at something, and even before they see the logo in the corner, they think, "Oh, that's from Hands Massage." They recognize it. They instinctively recognize what they're seeing in their feed as coming from you, or that postcard that comes in the mail from you, just based on the tone of the image or the text or the font. So that's what I'm going for here.

Allissa Haines: So we've covered logo, color palette, fonts, photos, and art. The rest is a little less tangible, which makes it hard. Voice and tone. This is the stuff we don't tend to think about early on because we don't grasp that it's a thing. I certainly didn't. But it's the words and the phrases that you do and don't use in your business. For example, I do not use the word heal. I do not think that I have the power to heal anyone. I don't think that massage heals anyone or cures anyone of anything. There are plenty of people who use that word really well, and it accurately expresses the tone of their business and their work. It doesn't work for me. I don't even use the word relax very often because people tend to have a rather negative reaction to being told to relax. I don't use the word breathe as an instruction very often because I don't like it when people tell me to breathe. I have very strong feelings that unless you're my yoga instructor or my respiratory therapist, you should not tell me to breathe.

Allissa Haines: That's me. That's my issue. That's how I've integrated this into my business. The words that I do use are calm and rest and control and react. I tend to focus on the positive words that describe the outcome of my work. I don't spend a lot of time using negative words to describe my client's pain points. So that's a choice I make. It's not a bad thing to use negative words to describe how someone might feel, and then talk about how massage can improve that. This is just an approach that I take. When I rebranded my business a couple of years ago, I got a new logo and I got a new tagline and I got a new feeling and I got a new niche of very specifically treating people with anxiety and people who wanted to be more in control of how they feel and react versus feeling everything happens to them and they can not control their reactions.

Allissa Haines: Again, you just heard all of the words that I use and that evolved as I was thinking about who I wanted to treat and the results I wanted them to have from my work and the results that people have had from my work over the last 16 years that have informed this approach that I now take. It's helpful to think about that. It's helpful to think about what your clients have said your work does for them and really, if you haven't been using those words on your own, take those words and integrate them into your marketing and consider them part of your tone. If there's words you absolutely don't use, make a list of them too. It's going to really help guide how you describe your work on your website and elsewhere.

Allissa Haines: So that was a little longer rant than I expected, but that's what a branding guide is. It includes all of these elements written down in a concrete way so they're easy to find and access when you are building something. So the answer is yes, massage therapists could really use a branding guide. If you're running a business, it helps to have this reference document just like it helps to have your business license scanned and uploaded to your Google drive just in case you need it. We all realize there was a lot of forms and information we just needed quickly in the last year as we were applying for loans and grants and things. This is the same thing, just a single page document that lists out each of these things like your logo, your color palette, fonts, photos, and art, voice and tone, words you do you do and don't use.

Allissa Haines: You'll find that if you can access it quickly when you're doing certain things, it's going to make your life easier. And I ran into this on my own, making an email template in a new email service last week. I could not find the hex codes for the colors in my logo. It turns out I had them written as different kinds of codes like RGB codes or RYG, I don't know, but it was a code that my email system didn't use. And upon spending an hour-and-a-half on this, I realized that a hex code is what I needed. And then I had to find the tools to find the hex code. Again, it took 90 minutes out of my day when I just needed to make an email template. I had a branding guide. I just didn't have exactly the info in it that I needed, because I didn't know I needed it at the time. So it's an evolution, and I'm trying to save you the time.

Allissa Haines: So anyhow, this document can be really useful when you are doing things like creating an email template, making a web ad, like a social media ad or any kind of web ad or making a print ad, which I giggled when I said this because I was like, "Who does print ads?" But then I realized that I actually had to do a half page ad when I donated to some charitable thing and they put me in the program. I needed to create a half page ad. I was lucky because, I had a logo handy and I had my talking points handy. So it was pretty easy for me to knock that out, but it would have been a hassle if I didn't have what I needed handy.

Allissa Haines: When you're making a design images for social, pretty much anything surrounding your business marketing, it saves a ton of time to just have that info handy. Then overall, you're going to create this really wonderful, cohesive aesthetic and flow, not just to all your materials, but also to your interactions when you're talking about your business. You heard me talk about the words that I have come to use. You heard me describe my service a little bit. That came together much more cohesively, and I can talk about my business in a much less forced manner now that I've done the thinking on the use of those words and how I want my business to present. So yeah, you need one. I promise you, if you spend like half an hour on this, it's going to take a ton of time off of all of your future work. Good luck in your journey. I'm done.

Michael Reynolds: Nice. Love it.

Allissa Haines: Anything to add?

Michael Reynolds: Just make sure your logo is vector art, which means it is not a tiny, low resolution JPEG. This is not related to the branding guide specifically, but logos need to be in a certain format that are very flexible. So that's the only thing I would add.

Allissa Haines: Yeah. You want to get it in a JPEG and a PNF. You want to get it as a high res file. You want to be able to convert it to a low res file. I even have my logo in some program that I don't have because I can't open it up on my computer, but I still have it saved in that format in my Google drive in case I need to give it to a fancy website designer or fancy print designer. They're going to have it in the best possible, whatever artistics software media. I don't know.

Michael Reynolds: Ooh, I have a preemptive quick tip as well. So one thing to add, one thing we do here at our Massage Business Blueprint, and a lot of people we work with, I encourage them to do this, is put your logo in... Put all your logo files in one Google drive folder, then make that folder public. Then make a shortcut from your website that says yourwebsite.com/logo and have that forward to that Google drive file and then anytime you have someone that needs your logo, like a printer or whatever, you just send them your website.com/logo and say, "Go grab it here." And it's all ready to go. It makes your life a lot easier.

Allissa Haines: That is very fancy. You need to do that with your speaker package, with your headshot and your...

Michael Reynolds: Yeah.

Allissa Haines: ... your bio and all that stuff too. It was like, you could go to like michaelreynolds.com/bio or something, and you could get all of that information on a quick click of the button. That was pretty cool.

Michael Reynolds: Yeah.

Allissa Haines: I have all that together and I've done that, but not with a shortcut. So that's good to know. If you really want to dork out on that, call Michael. Okay. We're done

Michael Reynolds: Cool. Well, before we move on, let's talk a little bit about our favorite online scheduling tool, Acuity.

Allissa Haines: Yay. Thanks, Acuity, for being our software of choice. All you need to do is show up at the right time for your appointments. Acuity Scheduling is your online assistant working 24/7 to fill your schedule with very little effort for you. You don't ever have to ask what time works for you again, because clients can view your real-time availability. They can book their own appointments. They can pay online. They can reschedule if they need to. You can handle forms and payments before your appointment. That, for me, has been a big deal. I have clients who are pretty much paying at the time of booking now, and it's making things way easier for me as far as checkout. A lot of them are even going and booking the next appointment while they're sitting in their car before their current appointment, paying for it, and then they book their next one before they even walk into my office. So it's pretty nice. You, my friends, can go to massagebusinessblueprint.com/acuity to get 45 days free. We really appreciate them. That's what I have to say about Acuity.

Michael Reynolds: Fun fact. I booked a massage that I'm getting today and my massage therapist uses Acuity. I'm reminded from the client experience, what a great experience it is. I got the reminder emails. It was easy to book. It was all just nice and tidy and organized and really pleasant to use. So from the client experience, Acuity is awesome.

Allissa Haines: Yeah, it really, it is. And it's actually one of the only systems where people don't have to create a whole login client account to create appointments.

Michael Reynolds: Yeah, that was nice.

Allissa Haines: Yeah. And it's like, it's just, people love it and it's easy and it's great.

Michael Reynolds: All right.

Allissa Haines: So that's what I have to say about that. So yeah. That's... Oh, wait, quick tips. I almost forgot. I was like, "That's our show."

Michael Reynolds: That's our show.

Allissa Haines: I don't have a quick tip, that's why I forgot. Michael, what's yours?

Michael Reynolds: I do have a quick tip. My quick tip is don't settle for subpar providers. So I see so much inertia when it comes to dealing with providers, whether it's your bank or a software or service provider or something. A lot of us, myself included, we get in this habit of saying, "Well, I'm not really happy with my bank or whatever, but it's so much trouble to switch and blah, blah, blah and I'll just leave it alone," and we live for years with this low level discomfort in the relationship for whatever reason and more and more, I am really trying to encourage myself to take action and change things if they're not working.

Michael Reynolds: If my bank is not working for me or not satisfied, change my bank. Yeah, it's a hassle, but it'll take a few days to transfer stuff and maybe a few more weeks to kind of get the rest of the stuff transferred. But once you're done, you've got a better experience, ideally. Or if you're not happy with your accountant or a software program I'm using isn't working for me anymore. Yeah. It's a pain to switch sometimes. There is that inertia of just status quo, but I'm finding that every time I am dissatisfied and then I take action to switch, I am so much happier and life is so much better because I'm not fighting with my service provider or my software or my whatever. So anyway, that's my quick tip is, think about just taking the action to not settle for subpar service providers.

Allissa Haines: That is a very useful life tip. Typically, long-term ripping the bandaid off and making the change is much better than low level suffering for a long time. We actually have something... We did a post-it I think in a podcast about it years back, that was like all the red flags I ignored because I didn't want to have to switch accountants. I was so glad when I finally made the switch and also financially it benefited me. So yeah. Thank you for that, Michael.

Michael Reynolds: Right on.

Allissa Haines: Take us home.

Michael Reynolds: Okay. Thanks everyone. We are glad you joined us today. As always, you can find us at massagebusinessblueprint.com. If you are not a premium community member, consider checking it out. You get a month free, you can check it out and join. I have an Office Hours happening today, which is actually Wednesday, two days before you hear this. So Office Hours are one of our premium perks. You can hop in, you can get support and conversation with other massage peers, as well as Allissa and me, and a lot of other stuff that you can read about. So anyway, if you have any questions or comments or anything you'd like to send us, you can send that to podcast@massagebusinessblueprint.com and have a great day. We'll see you next time.

Allissa Haines: Bye.

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