Last week I received an email from a boutique owner with a very good question about personal branding. And because I (Kathleen here – hi!) secretly want to be a proper advice columnist I thought I’d share the original questions and my response here.
Rhiannon had some really great questions and this is an issue that is applicable not only to creative entrepreneurs who don’t necessarily want to be front and center when it comes to their brand – but also to larger organizations that aren’t necessarily led by a single personality.
That said, I believe it is always appropriate to have a personal brand. First let’s define what it means to have a personal brand. Here at Braid Creative we believe a personal brand is simply blending who you are into the work that you do.
This means your personal values will show up in your business mission. It means that you get to connect the dots between your expertise and your hobbies. It means that your personality is an asset to your bottom line – the thing that makes you “weird” can be the thing that sets you apart from your competitors and attracts your dream customer! And most importantly, it means that your work is creatively fulfilling on a personal level.
A couple of months ago we got an email from Brené Brown asking if we’d like to see her speak in UCLA the following week – she had extra tickets and it was an extra special event that was being filmed for Netflix! The stars were aligned and we didn’t have any meetings, so Tara and I (Kathleen here) booked a quick trip to LA and for the first time since working with Brené got to see her speak live – and y’all, she crushed it.
When we first took Brené through the Braid Method* (in 2013) we asked her: what’s the ONE thing you want to be known for? And she said “I want to start a national conversation about vulnerability.” Well, mission accomplished. Through her decades of research Brené redefined vulnerability as the kind uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure and leads you down a path of love, belonging, joy, and wholehearted living.
We point past each other with our words, arguing as though we are looking at the same facts and experiences.
She was about to go on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday for the first time and wanted her personal brand and website to authentically reflect who she was and her vision for where she was going next. To say we were excited to help Brené with her evolving brand is an understatement. These days we continue to work with her team on The Daring Way brand that certifies and trains helping professionals with her work.
If I had a rallying cry, it would be something along the lines of “Just be who you are 100% of the time!” I can’t help but believe that blending your true personality into the work that you do will make the world a better place—or at the very least make the desk you work at a better place.
Vague, confusing, and bland don’t instill a lot of confidence or trust in your dream customer—and that’s the whole point of a brand. Now, I feel like “vague,” “confusing,” and “bland” are my own worst nightmares, but they can also pose a big threat to your brand. Let’s dig into these monsters a little more and start to unpack how we can keep them out of our brands.
But the problem with bringing authenticity to your brand is if you don’t really know who you are, that will be reflected in your business as vague, confusing, and bland.
At first glance, Confusing is the opposite of Vague. They’re wearing something very fashion forward that you either absolutely love … or love to hate. Now, this is actually a really great branding tactic and an outward display of authenticity and being who you are. But Confusing’s problem isn’t his outward style—it’s how he talks about how he affords all the clothes (not to mention vacations to Dubai) he buys.