I recently had a chat and a think about the concept of ‘becoming a brand’.
I made some comments to a friend (the chat) that I now totally take back (the think) because they were…short sighted.
My friend felt as if she was becoming her brand – that her products were actually a part of her, her brand a reflection of who she was. ‘Great!’ I said, ‘that’s what it’s all about!’ I told her she needed to think about her company and personal brand as one and the same. I went on that she should consider this fact before all interactions, online and off – live and breathe it. Why? Because it then becomes easier to sell it.
Ugh, I take it all back. That stinks. There I was giving crappy advice, when the truth is I hate the idea.
Industry folk are always talking about authenticity in branding, but ‘authenticity’ has become another word for embodying your brand in the oddest way. If your brand is all body posi then you now need to think / interact in that way all the time in your personal and professional life. Sell vegan products? Better throw away those leather shoes. Are you an ethical, independent and local business? Don’t let me catch you in H&M or the Gap – you’ll be cancelled before you can login to Instagram.
‘People are always talking about authenticity in branding. But ‘authenticity’ has become just another word for becoming your brand in the oddest way.’
The pressure to be the face of your brand – long term – is unsustainable. Your ideals, morals and ideas, they all have to align with what your business stands for ALL THE TIME.
Problem is, when you slip up (which you will) people will say that you were never really authentic. But maybe your vegan produce brand is just that…a brand. Maybe you were vegan when you launched, but now you fancy some chicken and rice. You’ll try to be vegan again tomorrow… hey, maybe you won’t.
Authenticity is inconsistency.
The truth is, the person you are right now – your likes, dislikes, wants and needs – that’s probably going to change multiple times. SO, what do you do? Hide it? Sell your brand and business? Or bend over backwards to be your brand and forsake all other needs for it?
Not me, I’ll take the chicken and rice.