Whenever you work for yourself, whether you are building a big company or whether you are a freelancer, developing your brand is an important part of making sure that you bring in the money you need to be successful.
Your brand is the face you show to the world, whether it’s your company brand or your personal brand. In some cases, it’s necessary for you to develop both a company brand and a personal brand.
No matter your goals and expectations, though, it’s important to keep something in mind as you move forward with your brand: authenticity is one of the most important traits your brand can show.
Why Authenticity Matters
When I first started as an online freelancer 10 years ago, one of the reasons that people liked social media and being online was the fact that it was possible to be removed from others. You could build a person and be who you wanted to be.
Today, things have changed to some degree. While you can still hide behind a computer screen, the fact of the matter is that many consumers and others value authenticity. They like to feel as though they are making a connection. This is especially true if you are developing your brand as a person. The people following you like to feel as though they know you. They like to know that you are “real.”
This desire for authenticity even applies to companies – especially smaller companies. Part of developing your brand as a small company is helping your customers connect with you on a level that feels personal. This is the way to encourage fans that will keep coming back. Authenticity engenders brand loyalty. The way you appeal to your target audience can make or break your business in the long term.
Even big brands pay attention to authenticity. Think about some of your favorite brands. Chances are that you associate them with certain personality traits. Most brands that we use have an “attitude” that we identify with. If a brand portrays a certain level of authenticity in its dealings, you are more likely to feel a connection and remain loyal, whether that brand is large, small, or an individual person.
How to Be Genuine When Developing Your Brand
Before you start building your brand, make sure you understand what you are trying to accomplish. It’s important to go into it with a goal, and a plan to reach your goal. This means that you need to figure out what type of personality will appeal to your audience – and then be genuine as you portray that personality online and offline.
The easiest way to be genuine when developing your brand is to base the brand’s personality on who you actually are. While you don’t need to provide a great deal of personal information, you can let your personality into the brand. Your attitude, or the attitude of your company’s principals, can influence the brand personality, allowing it to feel (and be) more authentic.
Consistency is another important aspect of developing your brand in an authentic manner. You need to make sure that your online portrayal meshes across platforms, and is consistent with your offline portrayal. You want the brand to be recognizable no matter where you are.
Your authenticity is a big part of creating your brand and growing your business. If you can be genuine and make that connection, you will be far more likely to inspire the kind of loyalty that leads to long-term business success.