Danielle Joseph is the founder, owner, and designer behind Function Creative Co. She is a freelance graphic designer and a yogi, who strives to help new teachers — and teachers who want to re-focus their attention on their brand — figure out what they want to offer and how they’ll offer it.
She told me how marketing and self-promotion needs to be different based on the kind of yoga business you’re in — and why it’s important for us all to establish a brand.
What is your background in design?
I started getting into design in University though I’ve always been creative and artistic, even as a small child. I loved art class – I went from wanting to be an artist to a “cartoonist” and that eventually lead me into graphic design. I took a 5 year program at the University of Waterloo in arts & business specializing in digital media, marketing, communications & advertising (my degree title is too long to keep you interested!). From there, I did a certificate at George Brown College to finesse my skills and have been designing ever since.
Why is it important for teachers who work at yoga studios to develop a brand?
Building a brand is super important to anyone offering a product, service or communicating a message. For yoga studios, particularly in bigger cities, it’s important to stand out from the rest. You want to have a resonating effect on the students that you reach. Each interaction with students, whether that be a website, an email, a poster or your studio sign should authentically reflect the values of your brand and the feelings you want your clients to walk away with. By having a consistent brand identity, you’re increasing the likelihood that people will notice you, remember you and want to follow up with you. It portrays a level of professionalism that helps potential clients trust that you provide an amazing, safe and valuable experience! It’s worth the investment of time and resources to really narrow down your own unique brand.
Why should yoga teachers work with you instead of another designer?
I design for all sorts of industries and it takes a certain amount of research for me to fully understand each one so that I can provide the best possible designs for specific markets and audiences. I immerse myself into thinking like the target audience might and I do believe this is what makes a designer successful! With yoga teachers, I already am the target audience! I’m a yoga student, a studio-class-attender, a teacher and a wellness-striver. It still takes a level of research to fully understand the needs of my clients and what they hope to achieve, but I feel a totally different connection to design in the yoga industry because it combines both of my worlds.
Do different types of yoga businesses require different marketing channels?
Absolutely. There are so many approaches to having a yoga business. You can be a private teacher, a studio owner, a workshop/retreat planner, an online guru…etc. There are many avenues to share your yoga offerings and each one requires a different marketing strategy. If you’re teaching yoga in a private setting, your marketing reach might be local communities. In this case, you should stick to the good old word-of-mouth approach and keep things humble. Business cards, flyers in your local coffee shops…etc. might be just what you need to get started. However, if you’re looking to open a studio, of course you’ll need more vigorous marketing tactics. You’ll want to consider an extensive website, advertising, promotions, social media accounts…etc. to reach your audience. Of course, you’re still thinking local, just on a larger scale. Each path takes a different approach to being able to reach the people you want to hear your message.
What channels do you use to market your business?
I have two separate entities for business. I have my design business and I have my yoga business. I merge the two in different ways, such as workshops for yoga teachers on designing their brands and working with yoga teachers on their brand, photography or websites. Right now, my biggest channels are social media, word of mouth and my website(s). I’m currently developing my yoga website now and it will be launching before the new year! For design, my clients live all over the world, so my website is key, along with my social media profiles. For yoga, I’m local right now. My workshops and teachings happen in the city and so my channels are mostly business cards, postcard flyers, social media and word-of-mouth. My website will be a bigger focus once it’s up!
How did you develop the yoga teacher workshop on building your brand?
When I graduated my teacher training and started teaching yoga, I realized there was a big gap for the students training with me. We felt ready to teach a class, but didn’t know how to find classes and people to teach! The business of yoga was missing from most trainings I came across. Let’s face it: yoga teachers who are just starting out have just spent a lot of money in teacher trainings and don’t have much to invest in their business design and brand identity. That’s where the idea was born! Working with teachers to help guide them into setting up their own brand assets and to get them thinking about what they want their yoga offerings to be was an awesome solution. I help new teachers (and teachers who want to re-focus their attention on their brand) get started on figuring out what they want to offer and how they’ll offer it.
Is it expensive to create a brand and an online presence?
It can be! The whole saying “you get what you pay for” is typically true in design. You can invest a lot of money to get a business up to amazing standards and it’s almost always a positive return on your investment. However, it doesn’t have to break your bank to get yourself started, particularly as a yoga teacher. There are a ton of tools you can use online to find images, create a website…etc. Social media is also an amazing tool. It’s mostly free and can reach a ton of people. There are also workshops like the one I offer that can help you figure things out on your own without having to pay someone right away. Once you start poking around and seeing what works for others, you can start to create a list of things you might want to explore in terms of developing your brand identity. Designers can be looped in for a number of different tasks and it doesn’t all have to be done at once!
Why do you like working with yoga teachers?
I find yoga teachers to be some of the kindest and most understanding people. I also feel a connection to them that I might not have with all of my clients because we are trying to accomplish the same things. We both have a passion that we want to share! That immediately takes my relationship with yoga clients to a different level. Plus I get it. I get the struggles we might face as teachers and can offer solutions that I also have tried and tested.
What are your favourite design tools?
Open on my computer every single day: Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign. I’m also never without a good old pencil and notebook.
Are there any yogis who you think are kicking ass at branding?
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