When you hear someone saying “oh, she is so authentic”, what comes to your mind?
If you’re like most people, perhaps an image of someone publicly sharing something deeply personal might come to mind.
That’s where the word authenticity is being misused. That’s also probably the reason why experts like Seth Godin tell us to forget trying to create authenticity and go for being professional.
Let me share my point of view on authenticity for personal branding.
Sharing something personal and getting emotional is someone being vulnerable. I’ve done this once before with the intention of helping the people I seek to serve.
However, being vulnerable does not equate to being authentic. In other words, vulnerability is not a prerequisite to becoming an authentic brand.
The vulnerability expert, Bréne Brown, explains that not everyone deserves your vulnerability.
While showing our vulnerability might be incredibly potent when creating connections with people who are important to us (I’ll let you define ‘important’ in this context), that does not mean we have to show up being vulnerable in the name of authenticity.
Authenticity can be systematic and methodical in many ways. How? If I were to define it as ‘show up as you are’, it means not pretending to be someone other than who we are. I’m not a happy-go-lucky dancing queen kind of person so you won’t find me dancing in IG Reels. What you often find me doing is sharing snippets of books I’m reading. That’s me being authentic.
If you’ve gone through my Brand Build Series, you’ll know about Brand Emotion Keywords. They help you represent yourself authentically.
Some may argue that we are more complex and nuanced than three or four keywords. Sure our life is more complex but our brand doesn’t have to be. More to the point, it cannot be. It needs to be focused and simple.
I suggest saving vulnerability for a very special (small) group of people. And you can still be authentic, which is based on who you are, how others perceive you and what you & your audience value the most.