The Art of Branding: Drop the Mask and Let People See the REAL You

As an online marketer who builds her business and network primarily on social media I see first hand how easy it is for people to hide behind the mask of their laptops and hand held devices. People are losing themselves trying to be what they think the world wants to see.

And believe me, I know first hand how easy that is to do. I have allowed myself to go down the path of comparison and its a very bad place to be for the reality is that more often than not what we are actually doing is comparing our real, every day life and the messes that come with it to someone's highlight reel or fake put together life. 

Authenticity is key to building a brand and successful business. Your network wants to see the REAL you, the person and story behind your products and business. Being vulnerable can also be extremely uncomfortable. At what level you choose to be boldly transparent? That part is completely up to you as you move through your life deciding what parts of your story you are ready to share.

 If talking about something in your life is extremely hurtful and you are not ready to share then by all means don't, but know that your story, struggles and experiences can help others relate to YOU and is the foundation of an effective content marketing strategy. 

Some of the most common questions I have people ask me:

"How can I build a successful online business and brand?" 
"How can I stand out in a saturated marketplace?"

The answer is YOU. People buy into people first. While someone may buy a product based on an impulsive decision, loyal followers of brands support them over and over more so on what the brand stands for. Want people to buy into you more and be a loyal follower? What you do must c

1. Your personality. What makes you, YOU? Whether you are an introvert, extrovert or an ambivert, you have a unique style and personality all your own. Do you love crowds and talking to people? Build relationships in person wherever you go. Are you an introvert who loves her alone time? Leverage that to create meaningful content for your network and publish it online. 

2. Your individuality. You have superpowers that need to be shared with the world. Learn to stand confidently in that to own your worth and deliver a message to the world in a way that only you can. 

3. Your uniqueness. I know its hard to have the mindset that you are a person with special gifts and talents but the sooner you embrace this the better. By not owning this part of who you are, you are only holding yourself back from the purpose God has for your life. 

4. Your experiences. No one has your life story. No one. When you learn to draw from those experiences with the goal of serving and helping others, there are no limits to the doors that will be opened for you in your life. 

5. Your values.  No one says it better than Simon Sinek: "People won't buy what you do but they will buy why you do it". If you have never seen his Ted Talk on How Great Leaders Inspire Action, drop everything you are doing and take 18 minutes to watch it. #LifeChanging

Anyone can Google something and find an answer but its not the same as a powerful authentic story. Its your unique story that will inspire others, set you apart from everyone else and position you in front of the right audience. There are people out there who are struggling with the same problems you have experienced in your own life and the value you share to effectively solve their problems is how the art of selling is mastered. 

People hide behind social media creating faux stories and lifestyles. Its beyond impossible to attract the right people into our lives, people who understand and relate to us if we are not allowing ourselves to live out our own journeys. Effectively marketing your brand and standing out from the crowd means allowing your TRUE self to be seen and heard. Sharing the good, the bad AND the ugly in a positive uplifting way opens space for others to do the same.  

If you have not read Daring Greatly by Brené Brown I highly recommend it. It is a book that has helped me overcome my own struggles with authenticity, vulnerability and perfectionism. Here are a few of my favorite golden nuggets from Brené:

"Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy - the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light."

"You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging."

"Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen." 

I invite you to let people in. Let people see your imperfections. Your mistakes. Your struggles and how you courageously overcome them. Will there be people who judge you? Of course. The world is full of "perfect" people who are wearing their own mask but don't concern yourself with that. Follow Brené's well put advice: 

"Don't try to win over the haters, you are not a jackass whisperer". 

Focus on the people who need your story, gifts and talents. They will be much more valuable connections. Start by sharing your story with people, what your struggles were, what you learned from it and how it was a stepping stone to where you are now and where you are going. Now you are a real inspirational human being.

Not just a person with expertise and a resumé. Someone who is selling a product or service. You are more than a website, fancy logo and Facebook page. Now people can relate and even see themselves in you. Your vibe attracts your tribe and what an amazing loyal following of people you will have when they can have the honor of experiencing the real you. 

So stop striving to be like anyone else and do what everyone else is doing.

Stop trying to look like the girl on IG with 100K followers who has all day to decorate her farmhouse. Stop striving to write 10 blog posts a week like the blogger on Pinterest who obviously has the resources to hire blog writers and graphic designers. Just because some guru says you need 15 emojis in your Instagram profile doesn't mean you have to follow that advice along with the other 1000+ people who are taking her course. 

This is about your purpose, your journey and the path that only you can pave. The price of comparison and losing your individuality is a high one to pay friend.

Make a vow to yourself and those who need you just the way you are to stay 100% true to you and to build an authentic brand and business that honors your raw beauty from the inside out. xo

Ready to drive deeper? Let's do it together with Branding: A Love Story available now on Amazon ↴ 

April Williams is a Creative Momista and Soulpreneur of 2 boys + whimsical wavemaker + creative expressive + Texas country girl + branding junkie who loves green mint tea + horses + fuzzy socks + surrounding herself with high achieving amazing women + peppermint anything + the color red + cozy coffee shops. She is a branding strategist for creative women entrepreneurs and founder of Creative Brandista™ . 


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