How to Create an Authentic Brand

Let’s get real for a moment. We are being inspired daily with all the amazing content being published every day.  It gets me so excited and pumped.  You know what I’m talking about, right?  So many people rockin’ it!  Getting their groove on.  KICKING ASS AND TAKING NAMES!  Wow – so and so made $24k off of a webinar, or $1k within ten minutes of their course launch.  Whatever the attention grabbing headline is!  And while I’m happy for these biz rockstars and super pumped for them and the lives they are changing, I’M NOT THERE. AND THAT IS OK!

How to Create an Authentic Brand

We all have our girl crushes that we swoon over.  The ladies that capture us and that we want to emulate.  We feed off of their energy and want to be just like them. But doing that, you are losing so much more than you realize.  You end up creating a business, a voice, a blog, a whatever you want – and it is forced.  Why? Because it isn’t you.  It isn’t true to who you are, and guess what?!  It gets tiring and hard to keep up that façade, real talk.

So what do we do?  How about - you be you, and I be me.  Instead of emulating our girl crushes and trying to re-create their successes and avoid their failures, let’s create our own path and our own success. We all bring something unique to the table, so embrace it girl!

NOTE: It is important to learn from those we admire, that is why they are doing what they are doing.  It is equally important that we don’t try to be them, and that we are true to ourselves.  We can grow and learn from their successes and failures, but we also need to create our own as well.

Building an authentic business that is true to you is all about acknowledging who you are and defining your strengths and weaknesses so that you can present and position your business in an authentic way.

DID YOU KNOW... that Millennials can smell inauthenticity a mile away? And when they sense it what happens?  They run for the hills.  You’ve never seen a person unsubscribe to an email list so quickly.  Inauthenticity destroys credibility.  If you aren’t authentic you will lose your audience because you will lose your credibility.  

TRUE STORY.  I opted into an email list from a brand coach for creatives.  I found this person’s site through Pinterest and it was eye catching.  The tone of the website was really kind and helpful and I was oober excited to find a new person that I could possibly connect with.  The first two emails I received were in line with the tone of the site - but then I didn’t click a link in an email.  And the result?  Two gregarious emails that were pushy and felt threatening.  

Wait, what? HOLD THE PHONE!  Who is this?  I immediately went back to the site and thought, why am I connecting with this person.  OH, on the site the tone is warm and inviting, but then I didn’t open one link, received two auto-responder rude emails about it and wait - I’m just flabbergasted.  I couldn’t even deal.  So I just unsubscribed to it. The tone changed.  I didn’t know what was genuine.  If the aggressive attitude was consistent then it would have made sense, but there was no consistency.  Looking back - I’m sure this person is truly warm and inviting.  I think this person tried to use different tactics that weren’t true to self to get a desired result - but it put me off and I’m done for now.  Could it change?  Maybe.  I might see another article on Pinterest in a few weeks or months and give it another go - but I will always remember feeling put-off by those two emails.


BEFORE WE GET INTO THE MEAT OF THIS POST LET'S TAKE A MOMENT TO DEFINE WHAT A BRAND IS. 

A brand encompasses the name, logo, image and perceptions that identify a product, service, or provider in the minds of the customers.  In time, a brand comes to embody a promise about the goods it identifies - a promise about quality, performance, or other dimensions of value, which can influence consumers' choices among competing products.

(source)


Ok - now, back to the program - how to create an authentic brand.

Who Are You?

In order to build an authentic business and brand you need to take a moment to self-reflect, be honest and acknowledge who you are as a person.  Why?  Because you are the voice, the persona, the face for your business and brand.  It is the foundation of your brand identity - everything that you build your business on.  In today’s world, consumers are looking for businesses to be humanized.  They want to put a face to the name.  If you aren’t real with yourself and try to create something that you’re not, your audience will pick up on that and it will drive them away from you in a blink of an eye (ie: the story above).

Acknowledging who you are will help you to build your business because you are taking an honest look at what you have to offer (and what you don't) so that you can service those who are looking for what you have - NOT WHAT YOU WANT TO BE!  Get it?  Makes sense right.  In the long-term this will work out in your favor, trust me.

When you know who you are - you don’t have to create a voice or a persona, because it comes naturally. You don’t have to try - you just have to be you.  Isn’t that a breath of fresh air?

Define Your Strengths and Weaknesses

I'm sure you are wondering why I am also bring weaknesses into the picture, right? This article is supposed to be empowering and about building an authentic blog or biz! That's just it!!!! Knowledge is power girl! If you can be real with yourself about faults, weaknesses, downfalls, etc., it only empowers you more. How? If you can be humble and say, “Hey!  I’m not that great and this, or I really need help with that,” then you can improve on yourself.  You are allowing yourself to grow.  You are acknowledging that you haven’t “arrived” and at that point you can share your story. You become relatable.  Your audience can connect with you and relate to your shortcomings and be given hope on overcoming their shortcomings as well.

So not only do you have your weaknesses - but WHAT WHAT - girl you are strong!  Be about your strengths!  Own it and be confident in them.  Use them to your fullest advantage.  Find your audience that responds well to your strengths and get your content in front of them.  

Draw your audience in using your gifts, talents and strengths.  Be the expert.  Be the answer that they need.  Provide the value that they are looking for.  And then be transparent with them.  Be real with them.  Let them know that you are human too and you are continuously working on making improvements AS WELL.

That is authentic and real.  As you become successful - there may be an attitude change.  As you go through experiences your voice may change.  You will become stronger.  You will become BADASS!  But let it come naturally.  Don’t force something that isn’t there and not true.

QUICK recap on building an authentic brand and business:

  • Don’t try to re-create others’ success. DO YOU.
  • Inauthenticity destroys credibility.
  • Acknowledging who you are will help you to build your business because you are taking an honest look at what you have to offer (and what you don't) so that you can service those who are looking for what you have - NOT WHAT YOU WANT TO BE!
  • Who you are is the foundation of your brand identity.
  • If you can be real with yourself about faults, weakness, downfalls, etc., it only empowers you more.

Are you ready to be real and take the first step building a solid branding foundation?  Download the Authentic Branding Formula Guide to help you self-reflect about who you are and what your strengths and weaknesses are so that you can build an authentic branding foundation. Click below to get started on being the best you for your business!

Hey - don’t forget to leave a comment! I’d love to hear your experiences with authentic brands and maybe some experiences of experiencing inauthenticity!  In the next post we’ll be talking about positioning your brand. It’ll be super awesome and help you get clarity on how to build your brand and business the right way, the first time, from the ground up.

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Aukele Cockett-Askew

I help women create their own opportunities to build their dream job from the ground up.