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Branding the Authentic You: Establishing your personal brand

Branding the Authentic You: Establishing your personal brand

photo credit: *sax via photopin cc

In 2013, trust among business leaders and government officials fell to less than one in five participants of Edelman’s Trust Barometer. This year’s Gallup Governance Poll shows an or near all-time low in the American people’s trust in government and media. Dan Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman, refers to the situation as a “crisis in leadership,” stating that to regain trust, leaders must “pass the test of radical transparency.”

Shell was called out in 2008 by the United Kingdom’s Advertising Standards Authority for a greenwashing ad that claimed it was investing in “sustainable” energy through a project that was clearly not environmentally friendly.  A recent commentary by a breast cancer survivor took aim at the rampant pinkwashing throughout industry today.  With all the “color coverups” and other national scandals, it’s no wonder people are as disillusioned as they are with businesses.

As social media has empowered the public and people begin to pull back the curtains of the great business Oz, they are fed up with the fake and non-genuine and demand force transparency. As I heard recently in a BlogCastFM interview, “people are hungry for authenticity.”

Establishing your personal brand

Trust in a brand is more important than ever today. Consumers find brands more favorable when they are perceived to be authentic and transparent. In a recent study cited in the Organization Science journal, the authors  found that “authenticity generates higher consumer value ratings of organizations” when they conducted two studies that analyzed and tested consumer reviews.

Your personal brand is the most important element of your business reputation. Based on what consumers hear about you and how you are recommended affects how well your business will do. To establish your brand, three steps to take are:

1. Find your niche

We all have something we’re better at than anyone else – that something that you see in just a certain way that no one else does. Find it. To do so, look at:

  • what excites you
  • what others keep telling you or saying about you
  • what stories do you tell consistently

    2. Establish your expertise

    Your personal brand should exceed you. This means you should come to top-of-mind when people think about your niche. To accomplish this:

  • share your experiences
  • help others by providing value
  • offer yourself as the go-to source

    3. Just be you

    We live in a world of noise and clutter with millions of people clamoring for our attention. Attention is the new currency in this non-stop, always-on reality. The only way you’re going to cut through is by providing yourself, your real self where authenticity originates, to others. Some are going to love you, others not so much. Don’t be afraid, though, to be yourself because as Dr. Seuss so famously said, “those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” To do this:

  • know your values and stick to them
  • share your convictions as they relate to your business
  • communicate in your own style
  • Creating your authentic personal brand

    I can hardly wait to write this next sentence. In January, I’m partnering with my favorite personal coach, Stephanie Cirihal, to bring you my first podcast, Branding the Authentic You.

    Cirihal Consulting endorsement

    Stephanie Cirihal

    In 2012, I walked into the most energetic, sweat-producing and fun Zumba class I’ve ever had. Stephanie’s thirst for life shined through every crossover, hip sway, arm wave and samba step we did. I left her class that first day amazed by her powerful presence. After class one day, she invited me for juice at the nearby pandaria  where she introduced me to Brazilian watermelon juice (and I’ve been hooked ever since), and we talked about our lives back in the States and abroad, as expats tend to do. During the course of the conversation, we realized we both had skills the other needed. I was on the search for a more balanced and healthy lifestyle, and she needed some guidance for her online presence. A deal was struck and we’ve been helping each other ever since. I’ve never met someone as dedicated to helping others find their way as Stephanie. Throughout the process of creating your true self, her supportive style is the key to making it through the fear of the unknown and unexplored. I couldn’t think of a better person to coach you along the creative process than Stephanie.

    During the podcast, along with going more in depth on the above bullet points, Stephanie and I will be discussing:

  • how to find your authentic personal brand;
  • applying your brand in a job interview;
  • developing your brand online;
  • the evolution of your personal brand;
  • co-creating your brand with your community;
  • and working as your brand.
  • Ask away

    I usually wrap up these posts with a question, but now I need your questions. To ensure this podcast brings you the most value, I want to know what it is about your personal brand that stumps you. What questions can we answer that would make this podcast most beneficial to you? Leave your questions in the comments below, and I’ll be sure we discuss them during the podcast. A big thank you in advance for your help with creating this podcast, and I can’t wait to share it with you all next month.

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    One Comment to "Branding the Authentic You: Establishing your personal brand"

    1. […] hypothesize, with the advent of social media and other new technologies, people are thirsty for authentic and personal interactions. Storytelling quenches that thirst through sharing vulnerability. Watch […]

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