HOW TO CREATE A SIGNATURE SYSTEM THAT
Explains YOUR MIND, MOUTH, AND METHODS FOR YOU
My eyes roll so far back into my head I can hear them clicking when I see Kardashian-esque marketing, because NO Kendall Jenner doesn’t use Proactive and NO I’m not interested in the newest [insert whatEVAH was just] launched by the latest reality star. 🙄
You don’t have to be a Kardashian to influence your kindreds (what I prefer to call ideal customers).
You just need to connect the dots to the shit that really matters to them - your mind, mouth, and methods - because once they buy into those the sale is just a matter of time.
written by: Andrea beltrami
reading time: 12 minutes
WHAT IS A SIGNATURE SYSTEM?
In a nutshell, it’s your belief system
plus whatever framework, system, method, theory or formula you use to help your kindreds become the version of themselves they want to be.
It explains e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g your kindred wants to know without any of the sales speak that turns them off.
IT DIFFERENTIATES YOU FROM EVERYTHING THEY’VE TRIED BEFORE
I’d be willing to bet the finest bottle of champagne at Walmart that your kindred has already tried other solutions and/or is nauseatingly familiar with the industry standard promise (i.e lose weight, make 6-figures, look 10 years younger), so they’re skeptical, if not full blown jaded.
Can you blame them? I mean, isn’t that the same stale, soul-sucking, dime-a-dozen, magic pill promise that drove you to blaze this new trail you’re over there pouring your blood, sweat, and tears into?
Your mind, mouth, and methods are a breath of fresh air in your kindred’s world of bullshit - your signature system is how you can communicate that.
IT GIVES YOUR CLAIM CONTEXT
You’re kindred’s not looking for another repackage job of the same shit they’ve heard a hundred times, they’re looking for hope! They're looking for the person (or brand) with the missing piece to show them why they haven’t achieved success yet.
Your signature system will feed the hope they're hunting for because it doesn’t simply make a claim, it explains how to get a result - a process proprietary to you!
No matter what industry or overcrowded market you serve, or what type of products (including physical products) or services you sell, you need to be able to cut through the magic pill promise and get straight to what the missing piece is and how it’s going to make all the difference in the world.
In this lesson I’m going to take you by the brand personality and walk you step-by-step through my solopreneur-laced signature system framework (meta, I know!), including how to name it, define it, design it, and explain it, so you have everything you need to start building a branded system that’ll turn your words and wisdom into a cash flow amusement park.
HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH A SIGNATURE SYSTEM?
There are four different approaches you can take when creating a new signature system, so let’s run through those and I’ll give you some real world examples.
Approach No. 1
PROCESS (LINEAR OR PARALLEL)
The easiest approach is to follow your creation process.
When it comes to your craft, whether that be design, coaching, mobile apps, handmade jewelry, or pole-dancing for little people, you have a process.
That process might seem like it’s just like everyone else’s but by integrating your belief system you put a totally unique twist on it. The belief building you do and the personality you put into your branded system will make your process feel so original it will literally look and sound like nothing else out there.
As for the process itself, your branded system can be more linear in nature, meaning the steps are performed in a certain order, with each step being completed before the next one starts.
A great example of a linear system is the 12-Step Program in Alcoholic Anonymous, a system that’s designed to be completed in a very specific order, with step completion required before moving on to the next.
Or, your branded system can be more parallel in nature, where a series of steps need to happen but it doesn’t matter which order they happen in or how many are going on at the same time.
A great example of this type of process is my signature system, Brand Genoming, an 8-part framework designed to help solopreneurs and personality brands get to the heart of who they are so they can build a brand as original as a fingerprint.
Just keep in mind, knowing whether your process is linear or parallel is an important distinction to understand if you’re going to create a process-structured signature system because the difference will change how you approach all kinds of things (like the way you reveal the process, the way you name the steps, even the type of graphic you use to depict the process).
Approach No. 2
The formula-based approach to creating a signature system is perfect if you have a series of components that (when put together) make magic happen.
A great example is Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Work Week, a 4-part system (Defining, Eliminating, Automating, and Liberating) that’s designed to help people escape the workaholic lifestyle and transition into a mobile life of freedom in the digital age of online wealth.
His magic potion is nothing more than four cut and dry components, and these four components aren’t particularly inspiring on their own, but... once you add his emotionally-gripping belief building and the transformational conviction in his after-picture, the system becomes inspiring and memorable.
Ferriss’ 4-Hour Work Week formula has been the holy grail to inspiring digital nomads, entrepreneurs, and online marketers since 2007 when he originally published it.
Approach No. 3
The secret sauce-approach to creating a signature system is great if you have some kind of secret ingredient to what you do but P.S. that ingredient will need a catchy name and story behind it!
Keep in mind that the ingredient itself may not be that secret but when you wrap it around your belief system and put your unique twist on it, It will be an ingredient that sets you apart.
A great example is Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages, a 5-part system (Words of Affirmation, Acts of Kindness, Physical Touch, Gifts, Quality Time) that’s designed to help people better understand how they give and receive love so they can have more loving relationships with their significant others.
The five components themselves aren’t very secret (maybe ‘gently used’??). But, the concept as a whole, the idea that you can decode deeper layers of your partner by understanding how they give and receive love, was very new and magical when Champman first published the book (and signature system) in 1992. Almost thirty years later, it’s still a widely used and quoted system when you’re talking about romantic relationships.
Approach No. 4
Last up is the based-on approach to building a signature system, which is a system that’s derived from someone else’s system. NOT to be confused with ripping off someone’s shit proprietary system!
When I say ‘someone else’s system’, I mean a well known system that’s pretty widely used, and when I say derived I mean in principle not in exactness.
A great example is S.M.A.R.T. Goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely), a super popular goal setting system that a lot of coaches and trainers base their own systems on.
These brands don’t simply come up with a different acronym and teach the same S.M.A.R.T principles. They use the S.M.A.R.T principles to shape their own workflow (and process).
For example, a sales coach might use the S.M.A.R.T Goals system as the foundation for their own system because it underpins the importance of setting the right kind of goals and their system is all about getting numbers that actually give you answers.
I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU TO...
Marinate on these four approaches for a bit to decide which one will work best for your brand’s signature system. Then, start outlining the steps or components in your system. You don’t need to finalize anything at this point, you just want to start gathering the pieces of your process, formula, or secret sauce.
You’ll be refining (maybe even straight up overhauling) the pieces of your system as you work through the rest of this lesson. Take your time, there’s no gremlin timing you!
NAMING YOUR SIGNATURE SYSTEM
Once you’ve decided which approach will work best for your signature system and have got a rough outline of the steps or components of your system, it’s time to start thinking about a name.
We all operate differently, as far as the methods to our madness go, but for me, a name is the latch that opens the floodgate of ideas, probably because I’m a sucker for a theme. Once I come up with a name I can better outline my process because it helps me organize things into a succinct flow.
As far as naming your signature system, there are seven approaches I like to use to start brainstorming names. Let's run through those and I’ll give you some more real world examples.
Approach No. 1
Journey-based names refer to the starting line and finish line of the journey using your system.
Approach No. 2
Result-based names tap into your promise and refer to the outcome they can look forward to.
Approach No. 3
Reference-based names use well-known (usually mainstream or pop culture) references that capture the vibe of your system.
**Side note** Make sure you check copyrights on any references you use because a lot of movie studios and corporations are very protective over their characters and content, as they should be.
Also, make sure you’re using references that your kindreds will actually know. Cultural references and generational slang should be considered if you take this approach to make sure your reference connects.
Approach No. 4
Wordplay-based names blend two common words together to create a new word.
Approach No. 5
Number-based names are just what they sound like, a name with a number in it.
Approach No. 6
Acronym-based names are abbreviated from the first letters of the steps or components in your system and are pronounced as a word.
Approach No. 7
Shape-based names are based on a shape (that your system is build around).
I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU TO...
Get into a creative headspace and brainstorm names for your signature system using each of the seven approaches I just ran through. If you’re anything like me, finding the right name is the catalyst to putting the actual steps or components in your system into place. Embrace that!
DESIGNING YOUR SIGNATURE SYSTEM GRAPHIC
Once you’ve named and finalized the steps or components in your signature system, it’s time to unleash it into the world. The first thing you’re going to need to share your branded system is a graphic that depicts the essence of your system.
P.S. Don’t panic if design is not your forte, I’m going to show you how to pay it away without breaking the piggy bank.
First, let me show you some examples.
PRE WORK FOR DESIGNING YOUR GRAPHIC
Whether you want to pay the design away or not, this is the workflow I use to get all my ducks in a row before I start designing, so I’ve got everything I need at my fingertips. If you do pay this away, your designer will need this same organized outline.
STEP NO. 1
Find the graphic you want to use.
There’s little to no reason to start from scratch (unless you reeeeeally want to)! There’s a ton of really epic framework and process-style graphics that you can download and customize online, which’ll make the design process that much more painless and quick.
The biggest thing to remember when you’re hunting for the perfect graphic for your signature system is that not all of them will be created equal. You want to look for a graphic that depicts the right type of process (linear or parallel), the correct number of steps or components, as well as incorporates any references in your name.
For example, if you chose a shape-based name for your system (like my Octagon of You) then your graphic should represent that shape. If you went with the process-approach for your system the graphic should depict the correct type of process, whether that's a linear or parallel.
You want the graphic to lend itself to the type of system it is, the essence of your vibe, and the name you’ve chosen. If it hits those three marks you’re golden!
My favorite resource for downloadable, customizable, signature system graphics is Adobe Stock (👈my affiliate link), which has become a guilty pleasure in my business. They have a free 1-month trial which means you can snag 10 images and cancel before you’re charged the next month. Free would be awesome, right?!
STEP NO. 2
PLOT OUT THE CUSTOMIZATIONS
Next, you’re going to create an outline based on the steps or components in your system and the graphic that you’ve chosen, that lists out the colors (hex codes), fonts, system name, step/component labels, and descriptions you want to use in your graphic.
For instance, let’s say I wanted to make a graphic for a system called 6 Seduction Switches and that I chose the graphic below, which captures the essence of my system (romance), has the correct number of elements (six), and depicts the right type of system (formula).
Using the six components of my framework and the graphic itself, I’d start outlining exactly how I want the entire graphic customized, from colors to content and everywhere in between, which’ll make the design go lightening fast and cut down on panic-clicking and over-designing (you know, throwing in everything but the kitchen sink).
DESIGNING THE GRAPHIC DIY-STYLE
To use any graphic you pull off Adobe Stock (or any other downloadable vector dispensary) you’re going to need a program like Adobe Illustrator (👈 affiliate link) or Photoshop to update the images.
You can try and recreate one yourself using shapes and elements in Canva but if design is not your jam I highly suggest you pay it away so you don’t get caught throwing hours and hours away on this.
PAYING THE DESIGN AWAY
If you want to pay someone else to design the graphic for your signature system I’ve got one-word for ya. Fiverr!
Below are a couple of Fiverr gigs that some of my friends and/or students have used for their branded system graphics. These are not people I endorse or have used personally so do your own due diligence, this’ll at least give you a starting place. Check out the gigs here, here, and here.
EXPLAINING YOUR SIGNATURE SYSTEM
When it comes to explaining (or teaching people about) your signature system you want to have a lead-in locked + loaded so you can highstep over the obligatory magic pill promise and get straight to why your system is the piece they’ve been missing.
In other words, you want to open with the BIG problem, not the symptoms, the belief system, or the result you promise, but the big, hairy problem that’s trickling into everything and wreaking havoc on their life (family, relationships, home, business, you get the idea). This is the problem your system was designed to cure.
I like to form the big problem into a question because that helps me avoid the magic pill promise they’re expecting (and dreading) and gives them the space to be curious. Let me give you some examples.
EXAMPLES OF A BIG HAIRY PROBLEM:
EXPLAIN WITH EXAMPLES
After you pose the question and entertain their answers and reactions, it’s time to swan dive in and explain each step or component of your signature system with real world examples, reinforcing what makes your mind, mouth, and methods so different and effective along the way.
Your examples can be from yourself, one of your clients, or from influencers or well-known brands (that you’ve never worked with). The advantage of using influencers or name brands is that you can create a subconscious connection between your kindred and what that big name has been able to accomplish.
For instance, let’s say I tied my belief building system in the Octagon of You back to Marie Forleo and Gary Vaynerchuk by showing how they’ve brandished the layers of their personality. Obviously, I’m not claiming they’ve USED the Octagon of You, I’m simply connecting the dots from a brand they already look up to (or equate with the success they’re chasing) with what my system is designed to help them accomplish. It makes the connection to the result you’re promising more believable and achievable.
After you rinse and repeat this process for each step or component in your branded system, you’re going to wrap up your explanation by giving them a next step, or call to action. Maybe you have a free masterclass or PDF you want them to devour, maybe you have an upcoming virtual (or in person) event you want them to register for, or maybe you want them to schedule a call with you, or drop into a private group you’re hosting.
Choosing the “next step” that’s right for you will depend on your marketing strategy and business model, among many other things. The goal is to take your kindred further and further into your mind, mouth, and methods so they can create a connection with you that runs deeper than any single piece of content or idea can. You want them to feel like they’ve never been more seen and understood than with you!
I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU TO...
To carve out an hour to scour Adobe Stock so you can find the perfect customizable graphic for your signature system. Something that depicts the right vibe, has the right number of components, and reflects any references used in the name of your system.
Remember, if design is your arch enemy, you can always find the graphic and have someone else (including the gigs I mentioned earlier from Fiverr) do the updating for you.
BEHIND THE SCENES OF MY SIGNATURE SYSTEM
I know this signature system stuff can feel daunting when you’re just getting started so I wanted to give you a behind the scenes look at the making of the Octagon of You, one of my branded signature systems, so you can see a real world example from start to finish.
The Octagon of You was originally the product of my program, Brandishing You (a self-paced, group coaching program for learning how to build a brand around your personality), which detailed my entire solopreneur brand development framework.
First, I had to decide which type of system was right for my framework.
Given that my entire brand personality framework is built around eight core questions, everything from logo and color palette to messaging and campaigns, I knew I wanted my system to be built around these questions.
EVERYTHING I DO AND BELIEVE CENTERS AROUND THESE EIGHT QUESTIONS:
Obviously things get a lot deeper but this is the 50K foot view and that’s what you’re looking for initially. You want to outline the steps or components that your approach centers around because that’s going to tell you which type of system is appropriate.
For my framework there aren’t steps so a process-based approach wasn’t the right direction. Since my framework consists of components, I opted for a formula-based system.
As I mentioned earlier, I can get really stuck at the creative level if I try and build something before I’ve named it. The name is usually what keeps me on track, gives me a theme to channel, and just makes things flow smoother, so as I always do, and this isn’t to say this is the order you need to do things in, I then turned my attention to naming my system.
NAMING MY SYSTEM
When I went through each of the seven naming approaches the one that stuck out right away was shape-based because my new (at the time) rebrand incorporated a lot of geometric stylistic nuances which abstractly represents all the facets and layers that come with the study of human behavior - what my brand development process is all about.
When I realized that the 8-sided shape was an octagon my excitement turned into a lip curl. I wasn’t in love with the word! I had a harder time than usual trying to figure out how to incorporate “octagon” with something that was short and sweet and that still captured what my system was about - the eight layers of a brand’s personality + belief system.
Brutal honesty. I tried my damnedest to will my questions down to five because I la la looooved the sound of Pentagon of Personality (P.S. don’t think about stealing this because I’m going to use it for another signature system I’m cooking up).
I want you to understand that building a branded system can take some getting out of your own way and that’s normal. I highly encourage you to sleep on things when you get stuck, take a weekend if you can. I promise, things will click and probably at the most random moment, creativity and innovation can’t be forced.
SOME OF THE NAMES I CAME UP WITH WERE:
Nothing stuck, until I was laying in bed one buzzed night, winding down from the day, and BAM… it hit me like a June bug to the temple. How did I not think of that?
Octagon of You
It said it all and checked all the boxes for my naming nerosies! Right then and there, tucked under the covers, reveling in my epiphany, my system was born.
CREATING THE GRAPHIC
From there, I mocked up an octagon in Adobe Illustrator which helped me refine and finalize the entire framework. First, I inserted the questions into the eight sections of the octagon. Then, I went section by section and started renaming them.
After years of honing my craft as a Brand Strategist + Stylist, I know the methods to my madness very well which made naming the individual sections go smooth like buttah. I finished naming all eight sections in my framework in under 15 minutes.
**Side Note** I want you to make this entire signature system process your own. For your first one, you’ll be figuring out what methods to your madness work and that’s normal, so don’t force anything. If you find a flow that works for you, and it’s different from the flow I follow, it’s all good. Do you, Boo! How you get to the end result is less important than the impact the result makes. You dig?? 😉
I’d originally intended for the whole thing to remain black (which has been my favorite color for decades) but then I got to thinking.
Seeing as there’s so much context and knowledge to dispense on each component in my framework I decided to assign them each a color so that later on, as I created more content around this new system, I could organize things by color which would make it even easier for me to keep track of things, but also for my kindreds to find what they need, when they’re focused on a specific section of the Octagon of You.
I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU TO...
Show me what you’re working with, process wise, and let me help you create a branded signature system that explains exactly how your mind, mouth, and methods are so much better than everything your kindred has already tried.
Getting your system done and dusted in a matter of hours is just one of the reasons I created my service Dre For A Day. If you wanna get me all up in your business (and signature system) for an entire day (or two), pop into my Facebook PMs (or email me) and let’s jam on some ideas!
Either way, I hope you found this lesson inspiring and this behind the scenes look helpful. Now, it’s your turn…
P.S. Share this on your socials, link to it in your content, and/or lob a link directly to a bestie or buddy you think could use their own sizzling signature system and barrel of diehard kindreds. This batshit crazy broad would be forEVAH grateful! 🍷💃🏽🥳
want help figuring out your
GIVE ME 5-MINS. AND I'LL GET YOU SO Up Close + Personal WITH WHO YOU ARE THAT YOU'LL WONDER IF I HAVE MIND-READING POWERS!
(Maybe I do, maybe I don't!)