• 5 Keys to Authentic Brand Leadership that Most Miss

In the era of instant attention, many companies and people mistake marketing for brand building. It is estimated that we all are bombarded with up to 4,000 messages in a day, and everyone wants their message to break through the clutter. 

The key to longevity and value is in how you craft your brand value with authenticity. 

You may be looking to get noticed in your new position, attract the best talent to your organization, or reposition yourself for next-level leadership. No matter your career and life objective, the power of promotion and undeniable value are in your hands. 

Brand leadership starts from the inside out. It must not only be a personal strategy but also an organization priority starting with purpose and people first. 

At Velvet Suite, we realize the most difficult part of branding is not promotion but discovering the recipe for profit in career, life, and industry. The key to profit is understanding value creation. This starts with an introspective view to come to know your true worth. 

Knowing Yourself Is the Beginning of all Wisdom” —Aristotle

The first step to living your brand is to know your authentic identity.  It is all about having an intimate understanding of your value and worth as an individual and an organization. 

The greatest travesty occurs when we are robbed of our genuine identity, feeling pressured to look, act, think, or even achieve according to our competition or someone else’s standards. 

Your authentic value is compelling.  When we reveal our genuine, true self, it is infectious because you are an original.  Authenticity is your most attractive selling point.  

5 Keys to Developing Your Authentic Brand Leadership 

You understand the importance of leaning into authenticity as you intentionally develop your personal brand.  Here are five important steps to take to ensure you’re on the right track: 

1. Recall your value and your values.  Knowing your values helps you understand what drives you, inspires you, or what you’d like more of. Often we think we value what we were told to value from our childhood, but that may not align with what feels right to us now. What is truly important to you?  Solidly defined values act as the firm foundation for the decisions we make in our day-to-day lives. By building a lifestyle upon that foundation, we create a life that is more satisfying and meaningful.

People will be attracted to come to work with you or for your organization based upon the values you not only state but you live. This is what gives meaning and value to our work and to your brand of leadership. 

2. Stand by what makes you different. Notice when you are out of alignment with your values, either in your speech or in your actions. When those moments arise, use the opportunity to change course and take action that brings you back into alignment.  Set standards and keep them. 

For example, sometimes it is easier to go along with the group-think in the meeting, but what will make a difference is your different point of view. Don’t allow the pressure of being the same to steal the opportunity for your brand to shine. 

Remember, great brands are built on difference and distinction. It takes courage, but that is what defines leadership. 

3. Check the imposter syndrome at the door. Make sure you are not copying the mannerisms and words of someone else to keep you looking good. Find your own way of expressing yourself and get comfortable with it. It’s ok if it’s not for everyone… you’re not in middle school anymore; you don’t need to blend in with the crowd! 

4. Get comfortable being uncomfortable.  Being your authentic self is not always easy. When we first attempt to make decisions that align with our most authentic self, we will be required to act in ways that are new to us and make us feel uncertain. 

When we become comfortable doing the uncomfortable, acting in spite of fear or discomfort, we move closer to living our most authentically successful life. 

5. Check your gut before making any important decision. When authenticity is your goal, you need to understand your inherent worth, even if you’ve lived through plenty of mistakes and failures.  Zig Ziglar famously said, “Failure is an event, not a person.” Mistakes don’t define you. Forgive yourself and move on.  

When you are coming from a place of authenticity, you trust yourself because you have developed a sense of purpose in your life and a strong connection to your values (what matters to you), thereby consistently making decisions that align with those values. And when you consistently act according to those values, you will continue upward momentum toward meaningful success. 

Want to know more about authentic Brand Leadership? Check out Melissa Dawn Simkins’ book Brand Me: Make Your Mark – The Ultimate Playbook for Personal Branding.