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“Authenticity” is the golden word in branding, but so many are unaware of how to portray it and how to cultivate it when a brand itself is something manufactured. Personal brands are fortunate in the regard that they are entirely individual; there’s not an entire company that needs to be represented in a single voice, and there are far more topics up for discussion that would be inappropriate for a business to address.

But how can someone make sure that the brand they develop is an accurate and authentic reflection of themselves?

Define a Focus
Cooper Harris, the founder, and CEO of Kickly, explained to Forbes why a focus is crucial to brand authenticity. “Too many people are unfocused when it comes to press and coverage, trying to be everything to everyone,” he says.

When someone attempts to please the masses, they ultimately lose any sense of individuality. Continually working to please an audience means the brand must always change their approach and perspectives. Opinions may naturally have to fluctuate as well, which can cause a brand to come off as unfocused, shifty, and, ultimately, untrustworthy.

Anyone who wishes to cultivate an authentic personal brand must know what they believe, why they believe it, and find the right audience that shares their values. Rather than trying to please the wrong people or convince others that their content is worthwhile, people who have a focus can put their brands right in the hands of people who are most likely to be receptive.

Tell a Story Through Content
Preaching about a personal brand won’t do anything beyond annoy people who have already read and listened to millions of other similar monologues. Instead, people must be shown the heart of a personal brand through signature content and vibrant storytelling.

Sharing one’s journey through life through a brand can be incredibly freeing and cathartic; one just needs the courage to express themselves honestly.

Network Responsibly
Many emerging brands attempt to establish a presence by disingenuously commenting and trying to connect with other, more established creators. Not only is this ineffective, but it’s also damaging to an underdeveloped reputation. In addition to putting off other brands from ever following or associating with their own, viewers will also take note of the insincerity and avoid the offender.

Authenticity comes from meaningful connections. No one needs to spam the internet or be omnipresent to be noticed. A few genuine comments and collaborations can do far more for a company organically than low-value, phony self-promotion antics.