Let me start off by making it perfectly clear that YOU ARE A BRAND. Your teams, clubs, groups, organizations, associations, and businesses are brands as well. Everything that has a reputation, produces an emotion (even the anticipation of an emotion), or makes a memory is a brand. Brands are either in the process of growing or dying.
Feel free to read that first paragraph as many times as you need to fully understand what I mean by a brand.
For too long now we have been lead to believe building a brand was difficult, arduous, and expensive. This is simply not true today.
Branding is about human connections. Connections have been a part of humanity for as long as we have inhabited the planet. Marketing, sales, leadership, financing, and more – in fact ALL aspects of business – are merely different ways to build human connections.
These aspects of business are not islands, silos, or disconnected vaults. Like depicted in the beautiful fresco School Of Athens by Raphael (used in header image); they are common areas of experience, theories, and passions designed to spark conversations. Such conversations are essential to building connections.
People make connections with brands (remember people are brands) where there is alignment in beliefs, values, and or actions. If you want to make more connections you can follow the age-old saying of “attracting more bees with honey than with vinegar’ – and simply act, believe, and value similar things as your ideal audience(s).
How to be Authentic.
Invest the time to discovering your true self. Dedicate the rest of your life to continuously refining your identity. Loosing sight of yourself leads to all manner of undesirable outcomes.
Permit yourself to like some things, but not others – even when it doesn’t make rational sense. It is crucial to know your preferences and desires. You will soon identify complex hierarchies of important things
Allow yourself to believe what you want to believe, but be open to criticism and well-constructed challenges. This is how we expand or shift our beliefs. There are few things worse than shrinking beliefs.
Seek ideas that resonate with you.
Seek and support businesses, organizations, groups, and people who share similar beliefs. Social media is a great place to start because so much is available with just a few taps of a convenient screen.
Continuously expand your comfort zone by trying new things. Perhaps you will absolutely enjoy sudoku, sewing, skydiving, skiing, etc. Use interesting quotes and memes as fodder for daily deeper discovery (pick a topic, set a timer for 30 minutes, then explore). This might easily introduce you to a new favorite thinker, writer, musician, business tycoon, from a era long gone.
Connecting people is tremendously valuable and encourages others to introduce you to new people. All it takes is 2-3 sentences that explain why you think they should meet.
Another great way to create value is to listen. Listen to the words people say, the words they don’t say, the emotions behind them. Ask questions about their interests, desires, and quirkiness. Listen with the intent to understand (not to merely have a turn to speak yourself), then follow it up with information that may be relevant to their situation.
Remember that we grow and prosper to the extent that we deliver value to others.
As you can see, building a brand is not difficult, arduous, or expensive. All it requires is road map, some navigation/direction, and a little effort each day.