A brand is like a pie, and one of the most desirable things about a good brand is relatability. We’ll talk more about how a brand compares to a pie later in this article, but for now let’s focus on the brand itself. When a brand is humanized and feels like a friend speaking directly to you, it makes you more inclined to hear their offer. As a designer this should have been an inherent quality of mine, but that wasn’t always the case. Enter the authenticity brand test. I’ll give you an example. Have you ever seen someone gain success for doing something that is completely off brand for you, but you still want to try it? Same! Social media trends have paved the way for people to explore creative avenues and gain large audiences by copying what others are doing. I am not suggesting you should reinvent the wheel, but it is very important not to fall down every rabbit hole. The biggest risk you are going to take in business is the risk you take on yourself. If you want others to believe in your offer you have to believe in it, too.
When you are just getting started, or relaunching a brand, it can be discouraging to find your creative genius and put together an entire brand package: business design, custom website, creative content and so on. But without the full bundle it’s nearly impossible to show up for your audience. It starts with a clear brand vision and staying on course. No matter where your audience finds you: Google search, social media campaign, word of mouth, et cetera, they should find your brand messaging and aesthetic consistent across all channels. If you have a clear brand vision and voice it is easy to show up as your authentic brand everyday.
A business is not a one size fits all model. Think of your business as a customizable model. The objective is to build on what your client needs instead of spending time creating things they don’t. Customize their needs tailored to them specifically. Not everyone is going to vibe with your brand and that is okay. The goal is not to attract everyone but to be attract the right people, and continue to show up for the people who are showing up for you. Allow people the opportunity to take what they need and leave what they don’t.
When I started my company ten years ago blogs were just becoming a thing. No one knew what the future of blogging looked like or if they were going to be sustainable. Years later blogs have taken over and social media influencers have become what A-List celebrities used to be. Celebs still have credibility, but these days it’s hard to differentiate between the two because both carry a lot of weight. We rely on both type of influencer to be authentic. When you buy a Lincoln Navigator you want the full Matthew McConaughey experience. Consumers are driven by the feelings of similarity, interest and attraction. Which is why I created “The Monika Freeman Experience.” When you subscribe to my monthly membership I give you access to all of my brand secrets, honest opinions, superb design tips, daily inspiration and more. It’s not just another newsletter or Zoom call, it’s a bond you get to be apart of and grow your business with!
Let’s talk more about brand identity. If you allow your brand to follow every trend or mimic a design aesthetic, voice or write copy from your competitor how will you stand out and differentiate your brand? In the beginning of my blogger days I had no direction. I was completely lost. I started my website as a product placement site years before RewardStyle and ShopStyle but never utilized it as such. I did what every other girl was doing and shared daily outfit inspiration. It was exhausting and I burned out very quickly. Wearing the same clothing as the other girls and sharing similar captions felt inauthentic. Plus who can afford to share clothing inspiration daily? I later read stories how the OG’s would buy clothing for photoshoots and return it after. That’s another struggle, but my struggle wasn’t copying what everyone else was doing, it was knowing I didn’t like what they were doing and still continuing to follow trend because that’s what was selling. After a few inconsistent years of dabbling in various types of blogging I trusted myself more and started using my authentic voice. After all, I was nothing like anyone I was following.
That’s when I did a full rebrand and ignored the social media numbers game. It no longer mattered who followed me. All that mattered to me was being myself and showing up as myself. The crazy part is I’ve always thought I was truly unique and more than capable. Being able to share that person got me excited to know the people who wanted more of what the real me had to share. The death of my once fashion blog turned lifestyle blog where I would write “dear diary” letters for the world to see was over. After tackling enough questions from readers, and sharing my personal experiences, it became crystal clear that is not where my brand was meant to live.
As much as I love helping people I knew the only way I would be happiest and most successful was helping other boss babes build their businesses. What my blogging days helped me discover is when it comes to all things fashion, beauty and interior design, I can’t get enough. Now I get to have my hand in all of them helping entrepreneurs and CEO’s find their brand strategy, brand missions, creative direction, and so much more. Everyday when I speak to my clients about how they are showing up as their most authentic self it continues to inspire me. It also reminds me how showing up as myself changed my career path.
When you show up as yourself and offer your audience a piece of that person they will want more. Think of your business as a pie. If you want a homemade pie you have to make it from scratch with all of the ingredients that you love. The ingredients are the foundation of your branding. Once you have the ingredients (or branding) you have to mix it all together before you bake it. Mixing the ingredients is the cohesive branding and strategizing across all platforms. Now you are ready to bake. Baking is the customer relationships you are building before you sell. Once the pie is ready you slice and share. The first cut of the pie is the customers initial reaction to the service or product you offered. If it was as good as promised, and an authentic representation of the brand, people will comeback for more slices of the pie and tell their friends about the pie. Which means you better getting baking and be sure to bake enough for everyone!
Before you leave, let me ask you this: Is your brand authentic?
If this article inspired you or helped you in anyway please DM me, email me or leave a comment below and let me know your takeaway. I would love to hear your personal stories and how you discovered your brands personal identity to be your most authentic self.
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