“Just be yourself, and you’ll be fine,” Mom would always say before I left the house for the first day of a new school year, play date with a new friend, first date or new job. I’d always be fascinated at how right she was. Anytime I’d try to put on a facade and be someone I was not, I would fail miserably. On the contrary, the best relationships I’ve had all began with my being relaxed and confident in who I am. The icing on the cake was that I was unique in being myself, too.
I’ve done a lot of reading on transparency in marketing, and anyone who’s worked with me knows I’m really “into” that topic. Modern marketers have caught on that brands need to be more open and authentic to the world, but I find myself still struggling to convince clients of this strategy. Let’s look at it this way: the same psychology applies. Isn’t Mom always right about everything, after all? In the sea of too many distractions, too many options and too much stuff, brands have got to find a way to stand out. The sure-fire way to get noticed is to “just be yourself”, like Mom said. Here are a few reasons I think this is true:
- People want to know Why. Who are you? What are you passionate about? Why did you found your company? Everyone has their own story and wants to be able to relate to others’. If your company is providing a service or product that other companies offer, then let your uniqueness shine in the “why” of your business. Often, customers want to do business with a company simply because of their mission or purpose.
- You have a Story to tell. People like stories, plain and simple. Stories evoke emotion, and emotion compels people to act. What is it about You that writes the story of your company? Don’t let your story get lost in the factual content you provide your website designer or copywriter. It’s what makes you and your brand special.
- Comfortable = Confident. There is comfort in knowing and being oneself, and that comfort translates to confidence. Think about people you know who come across so comfortable in their own skin. Brands need to be comfortable and confident in their own skin, flaws and all. (People can also relate to flaws.) Sometimes this takes a good deal of soul searching. The best place to start is with You, because you are your brand.
Some of these thoughts were inspired by another great article I recently read called “5 Ways to Be More Transparent in Your Marketing”. I invite all business owners to read that article and evaluate your brand position. Are you still following Mom’s advice? She’s always right, after all.