Let me tell you a story about how my commitment to brand authenticity was tested.
Six years ago, shortly after launching my business, I began a weekly newsletter called Fuck Yes Fridays.
I remember clicking “send” for the first time.
I was PSYCHED, my branding felt ON POINT and I was ALL IN to support people in leaving the mediocre behind. My mission then (and now) was to help others create a values-based business and lifestyle that went far beyond “good,” or even “hell yes.”
The email went out.
And then the response came: Many people LOVED the branding… and others were appalled by it (I know now that these are not my ideal audience members, but at the time their response made me feel scared about the viability of my business).
After receiving a few nasty comments, I made the decision to silence my voice. Goodbye, brand authenticity.
–> Oof. Writing that sentence makes me cringe. <–
Can you relate? Have you ever felt like you needed to squash the real you in order to fit in, find clients or otherwise be successful?
This is a lie. Don’t believe it.
Now that I’ve studied marketing, led one of my businesses through the foremost incubator for creative companies in the world, and become a six-figure entrepreneur, I know a few more things about brand authenticity than I did at the time of that story.
Thing #1: You want a memorable brand.
Your job is to stand out and get noticed. This does mean, however, that people will have opinions about you and your work.
“If you’re remarkable, it’s likely that some people won’t like you. That’s part of the definition of remarkable. Nobody gets unanimous praise–ever.”Seth Godin, Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable
But you know what?
People who don’t like you, think you’re weird or don’t understand what the hell you’re doing will often still talk about you. And that’s free promotion.
Thing #2: Your audience needs YOU, specifically.
You will say things, offer services, etc… in a way that speaks to your ideal clients.
You are meant to serve a distinct population, not everyone. By using YOUR colors, speaking in YOUR voice, and being willing to say things that feel true to YOU (which may or may not include drooping the the F-bomb if you’re anything like me!), the RIGHT people will find you. Even better, these people will be over-the-moon that you’re there. They will feel connected to you. They will feel like you GET them.
Even if they’ve seen others offering the same service or sharing a similar message, it’s possible your people never feel connected to it.
For instance, three different coaches might talk about reaching your goals in different ways:
Coach 1: We will use the principles of neuroscience to support you in establishing new habits!
Coach 2: Let’s talk about energetic alignment, the law of attraction and quantum physics
Coach 3: It’s time to clarify what you want and then create concrete steps to getting there
And on, and on and on.
I’ve seen coaches from each of these different categories (and many more) cultivate thriving businesses and raving fans. The same person who goes to coach no. 1, however, may be completely different than the person who goes to coach no. 2. These service providers carve out their niche by being themselves and embracing their unique methodology.
Being authentic also means less wasted time on calls with potential collaborators or clients, since people will already have a feel for who you are and what you value.
Thing #3: We live in an ABUNDANT world with TONS of people who need different things
You know that influencer who has 1 million followers? There are SO MANY PEOPLE on this planet that there could be 0 overlap between these people and your big, future audience.
If you buy into any story about scarcity, you may try to mimic others out there. This will not be as fulfilling or sustainable as showing up as yourself.
Be yourself and the right people will come to you. You will like these people better. They will like you better. Your relationship with them is based in authenticity and truth.
The process is similar to dating. Put on a mask, and you might get lots of people interested in you that aren’t actually a great match.
Thing #4: Being yourself makes decision making simple
WWID — what would I do?
If you’re trying to be someone else, mimic another person, or do things the “right” way (the “right” way is a complete myth, BTW), decision making can be a challenge.
When you’re you, you know your values, priorities, and goals. Because of this, you can make aligned decisions more quickly (which is key to our next-level of success). You won’t hem and haw wondering ‘What would this OTHER person do?”
Since being an entrepreneur in this world means trying something, seeing what works, and then iterating, fast decision making is absolutely key to moving forward.
Which of these tips about brand authenticity resonates most for you? Share in the comments below.
Also — as you may have guessed — Fuck Yes Fridays are back. Sign up for my mailing list to get my updates in your inbox!
Embrace the Adventure,