Raise your hand if you have a meh feeling about your brand sometimes? Perhaps it’s how you show up on social media, your content or your website design. For whatever reason, you feel that something is not totally well. You feel a sense of discomfort.
When I started this little online business, I wanted to use it as an outlet for my self-expression. In that way, potential clients would know me, raw, without too many filters.
But, as an inexperienced online entrepreneur, I didn’t know any better and was doing what others told me were the “best practices.”
Eventually, I didn’t feel very comfortable with my brand. I knew all the tricks and tips but I felt lost about what to say and how to do business. It felt yucky. I was everywhere, yet nowhere. A brand with mismatched messaging and visuals.
It’s easier to help others than yourself, especially in your sphere of expertise, isn’t it? The irony.
What turns your brand up a notch
I started noticing something that grabbed my curiosity. While some businesses felt icky, others were strong magnets. I wondered what their secret sauce was.
The first group showed up in a way that felt fake. Overall, something was off.
The second shared their truth and stuck fearlessly to it, embodying honesty and integrity; it felt natural. They are delightfully engaging and fun, and we want more of that.
Your brand is “connection in motion” through various ways, from inspiration to education to entertainment.
The first group suffers from the big fat false a-syndrome, and the second is being authentic. Yeah, I know 🙂 I roll my eyes too when I see the word tossed around so many times that it almost becomes meaningless.
You see authenticity flat on the ground, suffering from a disease called inauthenticity. No fun!
However, please, don’t dismiss this to up-level your brand
There’s no way around it. Authenticity is the bread and butter of a personal brand and cannot be dismissed. It is essential to create genuine connections and trust with your audience on social media and beyond.
Jonah Sachs tells a story about John Power, an advertising agent back in 1875 John Power.
He provided three foundational commandments for marketing which are as simple as they are powerful. They are still valid in the 21st century, albeit not being applied frequently.
Tell the truth.
Live the truth.
Authenticity is nothing more than keeping your promises. You do what you say you’re going to do. Here’s the formula: you+your promise+your actions=audience love+trust. Being consistent with this formula is key to develop trust.
In personal branding, there’s a two-step formula for being authentic.
First, you create a set of agreements for yourself and your business. Then, you honor them and express it consistently. I called it an inside-out job, as personal as branding goes.
Step 1- Be clear on how you want to show up for yourself and online
You choose how you show up online. There isn’t such a thing as too much or too little authenticity – you define it. You can go all the way or half-way if it makes sense to you and your audience.
Define your brand core, values, mission, and boundaries. Please, go deep. You must feel good inside and externally aligned. Don’t overlook or underplay this part. It’s that important.
Step 2 – Be consistently honest in sharing your journey
Ask yourself, what’s the best way of telling your story? What’s natural and genuine to you? You don’t need to apologize for what you think and feel or your life! Choose what stories to tell wisely.
Imagine you work from home and spend all day in yoga pants. Your authenticity factor may be in check if you only post photos of yourself in your beautiful little black dress.
BUT, if you’re open about spending the whole day in yoga pants or PJ’s, and suddenly you post about going out in a crazy, sexy dress saying: I spent the whole week in yoga pants, and now I am wearing my alternative Wonder Woman cape.
Now, doesn’t it feel more natural? You are not a fantasy persona in a very far away imaginary world.
Start by evaluating your presence, past, present, and define the future. And, start now! A personal brand is constantly evolving and pivoting. That’s the beauty of it.
To help to keep your brand on its toes, I created a Personal Brand Audit worksheet. It will help you see your brand’s big picture and how you present yourself regularly. It’ll also help you keep your brand on track without giving authenticity a lousy rep.
I suggest that everyone do a brand audit every year, or better yet, twice a year. We get distracted and change faster than we recognize.
This helps you have better control of your brand, taking your power back to build intentional strategies and get the best results in business.
It’s profound and life-changing. Own your voice, claim your message and now go rise above the online noise. Download your Personal Brand Audit worksheet to up-level your visibility online with a peace of mind.