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It was everywhere.
Every keynote speaker, every breakout session, everywhere I looked, people were talking about being authentic.
I’ve PREACHED this for years, so the validation felt good, even if I was a little irked that I now share this soapbox with millions of other marketers.
Whether you’re having a hard time blogging, struggling with a business strategy or trying to carve out an identity for your brand, you should start by being yourself.
That’s where your passion is. That’s where your edge is. That’s where your success begins.
Authentic brands stand out from the crowd and get noticed. They get remembered and they attract the right audience, like a moths to a marketing flame.
So why doesn’t everyone and every brand just take the risk to REALLY be themselves? Because it’s scary and it’s not safe. You could fail and get attacked by internet trolls.
If you look and sound like everyone else, you know exactly what reaction and results to expect. So that’s what people do, like boring business sheep going wherever their industry herds them.
Here’s the thing: the people who play it safe never make it to the stage.
So when you’re ready to get out of the crowd, here’s some rad authenticity advice from the incredible minds of INBOUND 17:
1. Creativity + Identity= Originality
You can’t just think outside of the box, you need a strong sense of self to truly be original. If it doesn’t make sense for your business and your team, it won’t make sense to consumers. They know when you’re trying too hard. Use what makes you special and your own fun interpretation of that to set your brand up for success.
2. Make sure you know you’re adding value to an idea before you do something that’s already been done.
Whether you’re launching a new product line or just posting a blog, you’ll be more successful if you create something a little bit different than anyone else. With the internet, the whole world is at your fingertips. Crawl through your files, favorite corners of the net and sites you’ve never visited to change your perspective and put a new twist on your ideas. It’s a whole lot easier than trying to generate a completely new idea.
3. Stand out visually.
We look before we listen. No, it’s not what what we were taught about life and values. But the reality is, the cover of your book better be pretty eye-catching if you expect people to make it to page 1. That could mean a million different things. You don’t necessarily need loud, obnoxious graphics or to be “edgy”. You just have to get noticed. Figure out how to leverage your authenticity to stand out in a crowd.
4. Use the Von Restorff Effect: a scientific theory that the human brain is hardwired to notice things that stand out.
Being different isn’t just a good idea for your branding strategy, it is scientifically proven to be more successful. You can’t afford to NOT be different. Think about those aptitude tests we all used to hate taking. Remember the list of words in which one word really stood out as being different or not belonging? It’s that.
Choose one: Dog, cat, mouse, MAGIC SPARKLE FIRE PONY, fish
See? It’s simple.
5. Do more of what makes you happy.
There’s nothing quite like seeing someone passionate about what they do or offer. That’s magic sales dust straight from the gods of profit. People want to be happy, about everything, including what they purchase. If you really reflect how happy you are to be providing your goods and services, people will be happy to pay for them, because, subconsciously, they’ll want your stuff to make them as happy too.
6. Know yourself and know your truth.
When you’re branding your company, it’s time to stop and reflect about why you got into business in the first place. Think about what makes you successful, why people like you and who you are amongst your competitors. You can’t establish an identity from scratch just because that’s who you want to be. Start by working with what you are and what already makes you special.
Whether you do it alone or seek the help of agency pros, start being authentic today.
Your brand has nothing to gain by fitting in.