Is Your Personality On Brand?
Building a personal brand is almost a given these days. It doesn't matter if you're growing something from the ground up or looking to develop a career within the bounds of a 9 to 5. Your personal brand matters regardless.
When I first launched Forbidden Luxe and thought about how I would monetize, I fell for the model that's worked for personal brands these days: establish yourself as an expert, then sell stuff in that area of expertise. It's weird because I was forcing myself to make a model work that wasn't aligned with my vision. What I noticed in my time trying to learn more and get better is that there are a lot of bloggers and coaches out there that will tell you how to get your brand right in a quickness. One of my personal favorites is Toast Meets Jam. Her content is easy to navigate and very in depth.
What I didn't realize in my quest to create a personal brand though, is how much work I'd have to do on myself in the process. We'd all like to think we're pretty poppin' as is and our creative ideas are just a representation of that. The fact of the matter is that, be it your resume or your blog, your brand is the pretty packaging of the best you have to offer. The things you're not so good at or worse, not so proud of. When branding experts talk about authenticity, I think what they’re saying is: you have to have a personality that matches the brand you’re trying to sell.
Take me, for example. I have never been a people person. Part of it is loving my alone time. The other part is feeling socially awkward to the point where sometimes it’s just easier to be anti-social in public settings. I can only imagine how that comes off to people who don’t have the back story and haven’t reached a certain level on my comfort barometer. The brand I’m creating necessitates the complete opposite. I’ve had to cozy up to small talk even as my heart races in the background. I’ve had to leave the house and go to events that I would usually skip out on. To build a Forbidden Luxe that’s authentic, I’ve had to make sure my own personality stood up to the test.
What I’ve come to realize is that branding is not just about the packaging on the outside. Your site looks great, beloved, but does the day to day match up to that. You said you were fluent in French on your resume and now it’s time to string together more than just bonjour and au revoir.
To build a brand that is truly authentic your personality will have to match too. Here are 3 ways to tell if you’re on the right track:
Receipts to Match
There’s nothing worse than an expert with no results. Brand yourself as who you are not who you wish you were. I took a coding class in college, but would never sign up to build a website from scratch. It’s not my ministry. Your brand is authentic to who you are and you’ll see results from that authenticity.
Take Iyanla Vanzant. Imperfections aside (trust me, I know), one of the cornerstones of her brand is that she’s lived through a lot of the trauma her guests have. She takes the wisdom from those experiences and uses it in her work. It’s one thing to be able to sympathize, but her empathy is what allows people to connect; she’s a walking testimony. Her brand and her personality align.
An Extension, Not Gut Rehab
You know your personality is on brand when it feels like just an extension of yourself. One of the things that had me stuck in the beginning is that I’ve never been a “teacher” per se. It became much easier to create content for this site when I went back to my roots: storytelling. Packaging advice in the form of a cool story was an extension of something that’s always been innate to me. Trying to design an email course to tell you how to do the very same thing had me in the draft stage forever. Your brand should be an extension of yourself. It shouldn’t be a completely new concept.
When the Mask Comes Off You Feel the Same
When work is over and you let your hair down does it feel like you can finally stop acting? If so, you’re doing it wrong. I have just as much fun shooting tablescapes #onhere as I do when I’m hosting dinner parties for fun. It’s the old cliche: find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life, or my new favorite: get paid to be yourself. When it’s time to close your laptop or leave your desk, you should feel like you’re just transitioning into a different part of yourself, not like a weight has been lifted and finally you’re free.
When I ask, is our personality on brand, I guess what I’m really wondering is if you’re doing what you love or what you think you should be doing. Are you building a name for yourself based on what you’re passionate about or what you think will work? Authenticity is the only thing proven to have lasting power. It’s nearly impossible to keep up with someone else’s model, but if you focus on your own the blueprint is yours for creating.