You’ve likely heard time and again just how important authenticity is for your brand or business. Even your personal brand — the brand of YOU — requires 100% authenticity in your friendships, at work, and in everyday situations.
But here’s what no one really points out: authenticity can be HARD. Why?
Simple. As a business owner or blogger, it’s your responsibility to be in the know as much as possible about the industry and competition. Plus, this is your passion. All of these things combined means you’re constantly be surrounded be like-minded people and brands, some of whom you likely adore.
However, that’s exactly where it starts to get tricky.
When you’re drawn to people and companies that not only do you love, but that also have similar goals, you start to use them as a standard of how to do business. How to look, how to act, how to approach customers — it all starts running together, and you have your heart and mind set on a brand that’s just like everyone else out there.
Well, I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to fall into that pattern.
And you shouldn’t! Authenticity is all about letting YOU and YOUR brand shine through. Here are five ways to keep you on track and focused on building a beautiful, unique brand that is truly your vision.
1. Look for inspiration beyond your competitors.
It’s easy to start your inspiration search by seeing what similarly-minded brands and businesses are doing — but this can be a slippery slope. Instead, spend some time looking for inspiration in more unlikely places, such as a fabric store, music, or just by walking around your city and taking note of what inspires you. A collection of unlikely sources will almost undoubtedly get you thinking outside the box when pulling together inspiration for your brand or project.
2. Figure out what your voice sounds like.
By this, I don’t necessarily mean the accent or dialect. I mean the tone of how you naturally sound in conversation. An exercise I like to do often is to open a blank Google Drive word doc, and just begin typing. Sometimes I have an agenda, sometimes I don’t. But this is always a surefire way to get me to type like I talk. By the end, I basically am left with an entire conversation to myself — but on paper. (Technically, on the computer. But you get my drift!)
3. Make sure there’s purpose behind the brand.
How do you know if a brand is really exercising authenticity? They have a clear purpose behind why the brand exists and why they chose the colors, type treatments, imagery and other design elements they did. When choosing all of the pieces that make up your brand, ask yourself why you chose that. The answer shouldn’t be “I just thought that was standard for blogs of my focus,” but instead something like “This color palette portrays the excitement and confidence I want my readers to feel long after leaving my blog.”
4. Don’t outsource every single thing.
I know firsthand that as a business owner or blogger, we are busy people, and outsourcing some of our work and tasks can lend our precious time to other things. But just make sure you’re not overdoing it and outsourcing ALL of your list. This is especially true when it comes to your messaging. Putting your brand’s voice in the hands of others can lead to inconsistency and loss of authenticity fast; you want your readers and customers to trust you and learn more about the woman behind the brand.
5. Make it you.
What about you is special? (There are plenty to list, I’m sure of it!) Jot down some ideas of what makes you, you. Or even better, grab a friend or family member, and ask them what some of your defining traits are. People are attracted to a brand with a human side to it; discover the hidden gems in your own personality and find a way to translate that through your brand’s messaging and story. Readers and customers will grow to love you as much as they do your brand.
Now it’s your turn.
What’s one way your brand stands out from the crowd and shines as uniquely you? Share below so we can explore new ideas and ways for us to each shine individually!