Why Authenticity is Key in Building Your Personal Brand
Everything these days is a brand. Whether we like it or not.
That includes you.
So, the question is – what type of brand are you?
I believe the new business card of today has become your Facebook profile. I bring this up early because everything you post reflects on who you are.
In my younger days – thank you Facebook memories for the reminders – I used to post updates that were terrible. The type of posts that screamed I’m going to show you I’ve had a bad day, but not tell you so you must ask, and my ego can get it’s fix. Poor me syndrome.
Thankfully sanity has prevailed in my current years and I no longer seek validation from others.
This is important because now more than ever, people from around the world have immediate access to understand who you are and what you’re about.
Understanding Social Media’s role in Building your own brand
Thinking about all your food pictures you post? You should because no one cares – unless you’re in the industry.
Apparently, some companies even screen applicants via their Facebook profiles before even granting interviews.
Now more than ever people will make snap judgements before they’ve even met you.
It may feel overwhelming, but the reality is; whatever you do in real life, should be mimicked in your online profile. If you wouldn’t share it with a stranger sitting next to you on the bus: don’t post it.
The key here is consistency.
Whenever you post something online think about what it reflects. Does it add value? Would I want to read/watch this article or video? Does it tie into my core values?
As an example, some of mine are balanced healthy living, integrity, philanthropy and being comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Understanding who you are will drive this and there were some excellent posts in February about this I suggest you read.
You can’t build a personal brand if you don’t know who you are.
You can’t know who you are if you keep hiding.
Tip #1: Start saying yes more
I didn’t want to go see the current headmaster of my school speaking when he visited Cape Town 11 years ago; but the alternative was staying home watching TV. Which is not a valid reason. Going taught me a great lesson: ‘saying yes’ now creates value for my future.
In this case it opened a door to my first big network in Cape Town. It showed me how powerful doing what you love is and what it creates.
Tip #2: Authenticity
I believe your personal brand is the result of how you consistently portray yourself – in life and online.
You can pretend and live by the credo ‘fake it till you make it’ – but authenticity is not a switch. It’s the way your eyes shine when you speak.
One of the biggest problems we have in society is we feel the need to project a certain image or pretend to be something we not. How much wasted energy do you use by doing this?
Authenticity is not something you talk about it, it’s something you demonstrate time and time again.
Talking is easy. Actioning words is where authenticity is born.
When you consistently demonstrate that your actions are congruent with what you say, that’s when you build a concrete foundation for a personal brand.
People buy from people. People work with people. Any brand that has become a household product didn’t just become that way; it had to earn trust and consistently deliver on that trust.
We’re all caught up in the world of “I want now” when we should just be dropping the first two words and live in the world of “now”
As an example, the amount of people that have heard about my project to climb every day in 2018 versus the number that have donated and supported me are as wide as the gap will ever be. I know, however, that most people don’t know me and who I truly am. They can’t possibly grasp my drive to make this world a better place. I must earn their trust first.
When my actions are congruent with what I consistently say, that’s when I build trust. When the people that donate come and walk with me and hear the story and develop a greater understanding; they affirm what I’m doing even when I’m not around.
What you should focus on
It’s important to understand that we are becoming brands; but I believe if ‘becoming a brand’ is your focus you’re going about it the wrong way.
STEP 1: Your focus should be who do you want to be.
STEP 2: If you’re not growing you’re not living. The best version of yourself is what this world needs. Never stop working on it once you’ve grasped step 1.
STEP 3: Communication is key. How you talk and present yourself in every interaction should reflect who you are. Then make sure that your online presence reflects that.
Developing your personal brand shouldn’t be difficult – if it is you’re trying to be something you’re not.
This should be one of the most enjoyable experiences in your life. When it’s fun: it’s sustainable.
After all, if you can’t have fun being you, what’s left?!