One of the first interview questions that I ask a candidate is, “As marketers, it’s our job to build our company’s brand, but also have our own personal brand. What is your personal brand statement?”. This question trips a lot of people up, but I also love watching their wheels turn and listening to how they end up defining it.
About six months ago, some of my co-workers asked me how I define my personal brand (this was after I had challenged them to all define theirs). My personal brand is defined as AUTHENTIC. What you see is what you get, I don’t change myself or my brand based on different situations — I stay true to the authenticity that defines me.
- relating to or denoting an emotionally appropriate, significant, purposive, and responsible mode of human life
Okay, so enough about me — as a business, as a person, why does authenticity matter now more than ever?
During tough times, it can be easy to lose sight of authenticity (who we are, what we do, who we serve and why we do what we do!). With social media feeds crowded with content, how do you stop people’s scroll, stand out and continue to build their trust? Paul Bellantone, PPAI’s President and CEO, put it perfectly when asked how to keep in touch with your customers during tough times, “Do it with authenticity, in a way that your company would be doing it normally. Make it an extension of yourself.”
While current conditions might tempt you to veer from your normal path, don’t! Continue to do the things that you say and have always said. Really believe in what you are saying and doing, your customers or prospects will see right through you if you are just telling them what they want to hear. Be helpful, useful, informative, provide distractions and most importantly, be empathetic. Being authentic during this time will position you as a leader — and customers will re engage with your brand as soon as the time is right. Don’t be a follower, be a leader!