Authentic people build authentic brands

I recently attended this year’s Festival of Marketing and the word that recurred the most across the two days was ‘authentic’.

Whether in the context of a brand’s social media activity (where Ella Mills of Deliciously Ella still personally replies to all comments to maintain an authentic voice), or a panel of celebrities like Tom Daly and Reggie Yates talking about choosing the brands they will or won’t endorse – being true to yourself is key.  Jo Malone, who is now building her second fragrance range, told the packed room of marketers “when you find the one thing you’re great at, it kind of makes you a whole person”.

This resonated with me on two levels.  In the last year I’ve started a new relationship and set up my own business as a brand and value proposition consultant.  Both of these have required me to question ‘who am I?’ and ‘what do I really want?’.  Even harder – ‘what don’t I want?’, ‘what won’t I do because it doesn’t fit with my value proposition’?

Simple questions that help to keep you authentic.

These are questions that take work, guts and a degree of vulnerability to answer.  I’ve become a big fan of Brené Brown and the idea of daring greatly to just be yourself.  I’m not saying I’ve yet cracked this personally – those who know me will testify to this I’m sure. But I do believe that for people, just like brands, our values are central to who we are and if we follow them, they’re the compass to making authentic choices.

I now spend my time helping businesses draw out what they do really well and what’s valuable about that to their clients.  So I was heartened to hear so many successful and brilliant people in my two days at the Festival of Marketing say the same thing.

Be Yourself.