The world we live in today has more information than we can process, and it is only increasing. There’s no doubting that everyone has a story to tell, but what and how you tell the story is the most important part of your journey. The line between an Instagram Reel and being realis getting thinner by the day. We never know who is the same offline as they are online.
Being authentically you is so important for long-term success. Everything about authentic branding boils down to one thing: honesty. Authentic branding is not about “appearing” authentic, it is about truly being who you really are. After growing my own brand over these past few years and helping others do the same, I wanted to put together a list for anyone who is just beginning, or anyone struggling to understand how to brand themselves.
1. Find your niche
People have a fear of doing what they love. Many people do the things they love as a hobby and still feel unsure or not good enough to go all in. What if I told you that the struggles in our lives really do shape us? Struggles teach us the skills we need, and once we learn how to survive using certain skills, then we use those same skills to teach, inspire or solve a problem for others. This is called your Niche. Your very own area of expertise, which is so beautifully yours. Take the time to learn the skills needed, implement them and see a result with your life first, before you step into the market-place. Dont be just another sales person, but be a person of impact who really cares and paves the way for others. Also, please never let someone who has’nt tried to live their dreams ever talk you out of yours. Are you really good at relationships? Good, maybe you can coach others. Are you a great artist? Perfect, attract your ideal clients. No matter what your niche is, believe in yourself, have the right heart and intentions and things will align.
Related: What is Authentic Marketing, and How Is It Different From Public Relations?
2. Build a social media presence
When you first start building your personal brand, how you present yourself will determine how others view you. Think of social media as your digital pamphlet, and try to stifle the fear of posting the real you. Over time, your honesty, integrity and real chacrecter will help you establish a community of people who appreciate and share your vision, goal and values. Sharing the true story of your struggles will dictate what your audience expects from you, as well as what they will be able to get from you. People reward authenticity with their loyalty. When it comes to promoting your brand, being authentic demonstrates that you truly believe in what you are offering.
I can understand how fear or judgement from others might stop you, but I always ask people this question: If you imagine your life in a year, and it is exactly the same as it is now, how would you feel? If you have an inner knowing or desire to be a different version of you, then begin studying and implenting the skills needed. As someone who overcame fear of public speaking, once you begin to do something you were once afraid of, it becomes less scary and more exciting.
3. Implement a marketing strategy
Branding and marketing is a really good marriage. When the branding is really good, the marketing just adds more awareness. Think of some of your favorite brands, logos and companies: What do they all have in common? Most likely the fact that they invoke an emotion in you, which makes you want to buy what they’re selling. There is something called emotional branding, and there is also the psychology of color. Depending on your niche and the industry you’re in, you may have to incorpate certain emotions and colors in your marketing and ads to invoke the right emotions from consumers.
Good marketing also requires impact. Marketing campaigns are your brands way of saying, “This is how we can help you.” Think of a book or a movie trailer that interested you. You likely got more curious as you read the book summary, or as you saw glimpses of what you might watch in the trailer. Effective campaigns create curiosty, which is what we call a “warm lead.” When planning marketing for your brand, think from the consumers point of view. If I was a consumer who needed to solve this problem, what would get my attention? Then execute that vision.
Related: How to Bring Authenticity to Your Startup’s Marketing Strategy
4. Nurture genuine network relationships
Ask yourself this question before making any connections: Am I genuinely aligned with this person, or do I only need something from them? I am a firm believer in energy. I also think that if you are always taking from others without wanting to give back, overtime people will feel it. No matter what influencer, celebrity, journalist or producer I’ve met, I always wanted to make sure I built a real, genuine friendship. It is important to remember to remain humble and have real heart and soul connections along your journey.
I recently sat down to record my podcast, The Jackie Minsky Show, with longtime friend, Jay, who is a branding and public relations specialist. If there’s one thing that really connected us, it was our authenticity and genuine desire to help people. In today’s world, things can sometimes feel pretenious and disingenious. Jay and I have a phrase that we always remind each other of: Play the long game. The more you care about people, the more you will attract and meet others who care about you. Even if you see other people succeeding by taking shortcuts, never lose track of your values and morals in exchange for success. Real success is measured by impact and longevity.
Related: How Networking Is Necessary for Effective Entrepreneurship
5. Play the long game
If you think about sports, each sport has many players. Some of the best sports legends have lost a few games. In the moments they lost a game, chances are they practiced and trained more, and continued working on their craft with increased focus and drive. On the journey of success, you may lose a few clients, and you may have to say no to some opportunities that don’t align — but always remember the core of your why and purpose. If you continue to play the long game — knowing your purpose — then even in the moments you feel defeated, you will pick yourself up and keep going.