You’re preparing for an interview by an industry publication. An article will be written and distributed to a global audience, made up of all the customers you’d love to have on the side of your brand. They’re not just ideal, they’re perfect.
And so, you start to get in the right frame of mind for this life-changing opportunity.
You write down some high-brow answers to possible questions—you don’t want to sound stupid. You try to think of the most professional language and the choose words that will sound like they belong to an industry expert. You devise ways to cover up those embarrassing moments you had when just starting out, as well as that bad press that the interviewer may refer back to. You remind yourself to keep your cheekiness in check and to mimic only the respected greats in your field.
OK, now you’re ready…
It’s time to abandon that plan!!
And to rebuild with the one I’m about to share with you.
Building an Unpretentious, Irresistible Brand
I have a lot of questions for brand-builders; however, there’s one that I’d like to ask most often:
Why are you pretending to be someone you’re not?
Listen, this isn’t just a pep talk, where I’m telling you to ‘be yourself’ just for the sake of feeling good about what you’re doing.
That’s important; however, what we’re talking about today goes far beyond that. It’s about building a brand that people want to be part of and want to talk about to their friends.
Do you think they wish to build a relationship with a brand that’s just like the rest? Or a brand that’s posing as one thing, and showing its colours to be something completely different?
I would even venture to say that if you’re posing behind what you think is the ‘perfect’ image, and hiding the real you, you’re not only going to disappoint a bunch of people, you’re going to attract the wrong people to your brand. Your truly ideal customers will look past your brand, because they won’t think that you’re the type of person they want to build a professional relationship with.
It’s simple: You must be yourself, express your authentic values, and let your personality (including your flaws and mistakes) shine through. Otherwise, the professional relationships you build simply can’t be beneficial ones.
Here are a few points to consider when building an authentic brand:
- Be Transparent. What’s going on behind the scenes at your manufacturing plant? What do office procedures look like at headquarters? Or what does that dining room office of yours look like? These are the things that consumers wonder about, and these are the things you should be sharing. This gives people a glimpse into a day in the life of your brand, and it helps them to not only make decisions about who they’ll be buying from, it helps lay the foundation for a real, honest relationship.
- Stop Worrying About What Doesn’t Matter. You have brand goals, and it’s your job to focus only on those things that will move you toward those goals. ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’ is a good mantra. What is the small stuff? It’s anything that has to do with pettiness, outward appearances or keeping up with the competition in any area except business. This doesn’t mean that you should take on an air of indifference. Instead, focus all of your concern only on those things that will increase your brand’s visibility, credibility and profitability.
- Be Honest. If you’re the type of brand builder who tends to want to bury mistakes because they’re, well…embarrassing…then you’re going to have some work to do. When you own up to the mistakes you’ve made, the flaws you have, the awkward situations you’ve found yourself in, the dumb things you’ve said and done…people will be more likely to feel endeared to your brand. Why? Because you’re real. You’re not ‘putting on a show’ or ‘keeping up appearances.’ You’re obviously honest, and guess what? That fosters trust, which is a foundational building block of branding. Now, am I suggesting that you put a page up on your website titled All the Stupid Things I’ve Ever Done? No, I’m not. I’m simply suggesting that you be honest when it’s required and share a story when you think it will help to advance your customers to the next level.
- Be Forthright About Your Intentions. When the travelling vacuum cleaner salesman says he’d just like to clean your sitting room carpet ‘just for the fun of it,’ he’s lying and we all know it. I am not implying that you should hit every prospect with a hard sell; however, I am saying that you should never deny the fact that you’re in business to make money—because without turning a profit, you won’t be in business for long. Always put serving first; give helpful advice freely, make relevant recommendations and keep your followers informed with the latest news and expert tips. However, when it comes time to ask for the sale, never show shame or awkwardness. You are offering massive value, and deserve to be compensated for it.
Are you being real? Are you building a real brand? Or are you focussed on trying to conform, and to copy what’s been working for others?
Well, maybe it’s not working for them as well as you think. There’s one sure way to find out: Do it your way, and watch out!
Are you looking for the courage to present the real you to your ideal customers? Have you been wanting a real, live sounding board off which to bounce your ideas and to get expert opinions and advice as you need them? Then you need the Brand Builders Club, a global network of freedom-focussed, purpose-driven entrepreneurs and brand-builders, just waiting for you. Click here to learn more and to join.