Artisanal is a big thing in Brooklyn, New York, near where I live. Coffee, food, crafts. That there have been human hands on it, and care and thought given to creating it, means we want our hands on it.
I think there’s something huge here. And it goes far beyond farmers’ markets or Brooklyn.
In life, in business—more of us want what’s real and full-flavored, and less mass-produced, factory-fed B.S. Fewer quick fixes and hyped-up sales funnels.
We’re craving trust, a personal connection and stuff that leaves a good taste in our mouths. Literally and metaphorically.
And for good reason.
Personal and crafted works.
Why? Because we’re people having relationships with other people. Not companies. Not computers.
As humans, we naturally resonate with the bespoke. It’s an experience and a feeling that translates as truth and trust. And whether you’re talking family or business—those two ingredients are the foundation of successful relationships.
Look no further than personal branding.
This is the brand we build around around you, the individual. Who you really are, your story and how we position that in the world so people get it, believe you, like you and want to follow or work with you.
Most importantly, your personal brand must truly reflect what’s unique about you—your innate genius, personality and flavor.
It’s no use hanging your shingle on being an industry disruptor because you think that’s what people want to hear if you’re actually more of a traditionalist. Or focusing on how you’ve overcome huge odds and can therefore help your clients do the same if you don’t share a bit about those challenges.
It’s got to be the real deal. And this is important for a couple of reasons.
As the entrepreneurial landscape continues to explode, you’re competing against vast numbers of other consultants, authors, speakers and specialists. So you need to stand out, and help the right people recognize and choose you.
Doing this takes more than simply describing what you do (because few of us are the first or only in our fields!) or selecting a strapline that seems like a good fit. Because the risk—and it’s a considerable one—is that the fundamentals of your brand won’t connect. It will feel and look ‘off’ because it’s incomplete and/or not true when it comes to you.
When we’re incongruent like this it creates mistrust. Which can pretty much kneecap the relationships you’re working so hard to build.
Screaming authenticity on the other hand, is the result of being real and relatable. It’s also often the result of bespoke brand strategy and crafting that brings clarity to what those things are for you. (Seeing them for ourselves can be tough.)
Because you’re a brilliant human in all your complexity and contradictions, getting to the heart that beats inside and bringing it out into the world takes getting to know you. It takes getting under the skin of your business, analyzing your market landscape, peeling back the layers of your personal journey and personality. Examining every aspect of your strengths, goals, offerings, values and story to capture the bull’s-eye of your brand that sets you apart. Then packaging all of this up in a way that puts you on the map.
To start this ball rolling, I ask my clients a series of in-depth questions so we can draw out what’s relevant, see what might be holding them back and explore possibilities they may not have ever thought of.
Consider for example, what you most want to be known for.
This single question was the tipping point for one client to realize that her brand potential was in fact far bigger than her consulting business. We were talking about a global movement—and seeding that direction became a critical part of how we positioned her.
It can feel nerve-racking to dig into your story at any time, and particularly when you’re up against deadlines, or targets or a deafening absence of clients.
But here’s the thing: Coherence is a currency.
Your ads, blog posts, pitches and PR just won’t perform well if the overall brand positioning is off. But when how you come across is aligned with your true identity, people sense it and smell it.
More than that: They’re willing to pay a premium for your products and services, and even come back for more.
What’s real never goes out of style.
If you’re keen to explore what that is for you, let’s chat. Learn more about ‘Brand Jam’—my complimentary consultation.