Branding Just Got Personal. Are You Ready?

There's a ton of content being created every second. Some of it is wonderful and authentic and lots of it is being generated by robots. And not the cool ones from science fiction movies. In the sea of content and content marketing that's out there now, how can you make sure your voice is heard? 

Well that's the best part. If you're not a robot and it is indeed your voice you're already ahead of the game. There's not another voice out there quite like yours and it's the secret to breaking through the clutter and capturing attention. A well-developed brand personality is like a fingerprint that can't be easily replicated and it's something your audience will connect with on a more emotional level. 

It's easy to tell people to just be themselves when they're out there posting and blogging, but do we always have a firm grasp on who we are? I'm in the business of helping others discover their true brand story and have to admit that I stumbled while creating the brand story for my own company.  It's hard to define your brand when you're standing so close to it. 

When I was younger, I often struggled with identity. I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do with my life and tried nearly every possible thing I could in an effort to find out. I remember coming home from grade school one day in my generally enthusiastic yet unfocused way and my mom greeted me with THE question. You know the one. 

What do you want to be when you grow up? 

Ugh. Even then I remember ugh-ing. I didn't really have an answer ready. I mean she should have known that's pretty much the little journey I'd been on after all my various dabbles which included piano lessons, violin lessons, vocal lessons, French lessons, math clubs, and native american sign language clubs (that last one isn't made up, but that's another story. It's a club I started in the neighborhood after finding a book in a garage sale). 

So what did I say back? Well without much thought I answered the first thing that came to mind. "I want to be famous. So they'll make a doll that looks like me." She paused, laughed and then nodded encouragingly. I mean really, what else could a mother do in such a situation. 

Now I'm over 40 and like most people I know, I would still have a little bit of trouble answering that question. Though I've given up on the doll. I was cuter in grade school. 

And the truth is, I didn't want to be famous. I just wanted to know that I had been seen. When we're younger, it's all about our identity and we understand just how important it is to know who we are. Once we're older we assume we must know by now. But do we really? 

When I started my company, I began using photography that looked austere and artsy. But that's not genuine to who I really am or the personality of anyone else working on Storywize. We like to make things, help people, take risks, and approach life with lots of fun optimism even when it sucks. So all the visuals had to change to reflect our true brand character. 

Discovering your true personality, whether it's your personal brand or that of your company, is a journey. I've learned that once you launch your brand, it's really just starting a conversation with friends. In this case, your audience and your consumers. No matter what you want to be when you grow up, you can't escape who you actually are. 

But that's fine. Because I'm sure you're awesome. But branding is personal now no matter how large your company might be. People trust people. Period. Not companies. So it's time to look at every piece you post and every little piece of you that's out there in the world. Do those little pieces add up to become the personal brand you want to convey? Do you know what that brand should even be? You're the voice they want to hear so it's time to speak up. 

No matter what your role is in your company, your audience is out there waiting to hear from the genuine you. They're pretty awesome too. Don't you think they deserve it?