Authenticity Will Set Your Brand Free

July 21, 2016

7:00 pm

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There’s a shift towards truth and authenticity in the virtual world and it’s impacting those who want to build a brand.

According to David Klow, founder of Skylight Counseling Center in Chicago and instructor at Northwestern University, explained that there is a natural distance when interacting on the Internet – and it’s forcing personal brands to drive an authentic message to break through barriers and build a strong relationship with their audience.

“People want real connection,” said Klow.

Many might perceive that in order to be authentic one has to be controversial and outspoken. On the contrary, becoming the loudest one in the room starts with staying true to your core values, building on your expertise and not relying on shock value.

“Saying whatever is on your mind might be freeing, but it is a sort of inauthenticity itself. When we go for shock, and abandon our core beliefs, it can lead to a false sense of self. When we think that our brand has to be outlandish and say what others won't say, then we run the risk of creating a false sense of self. We [begin to] identify more with the shock [and awe] than our core mission or values,” Klow said.

For the majority of us, putting oneself out there for the public to scrutinize would be uncomfortable.

For Taylor Pearson, entrepreneur and author of The End of Jobs, it was a gradual process to say whatever what was on his mind.

“I’ve become more honest over time. When you start [sharing your opinion] and the world doesn’t implode, then you do it again and the boundaries widen. Not everyone feels comfortable putting oneself out there, that’s why it’s valuable; it’s the function of scarcity and the reason [the message is] valuable is because most people aren’t willing to do it,” Pearson said.

Pearson suggests to begin breaking out of your comfort zone by developing a portfolio of your work on a personalized website to showcase your expertise and communicate how you approach projects.

“[I chose building] a portfolio over a resume. I would document the work I’m doing in a public way [like a] case study of projects and all the results – it shows why it makes sense to work,” Pearson said.

Another way to expand your comfort zone is to create a blog and talk about solutions to problems you are dealing with in your business.

“Everyone has got problems, people resonate with it and invariably people are dealing with the same things you are dealing with, but too afraid to say it. If you can communicate who you are as a person, once you get to a certain level, people want to work with people who are competent at rare things,” Pearson said.

When crafting your brand’s voice to rise above the noise, experts agree your message needs to be authentic, relatable and open about your values.

“When crafting a brand, remember [to keep] your brand genuine to who you are allows you to pass the trust test,” Klow said.

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Tishin is a technology journalist and correspondent. She has written for TechCrunch, Demand Studios and Fitness, and has regular network segments on local Phoenix affiliate stations. She holds a Master's degree in Clinical and Sport psychology, and has covered many areas of technology ranging from 3D printing and game development to neurotech and funding for over 15 years.