One of the hardest parts of self-branding is learning how to remain objective during the multi-step, and sometimes arduous, process. The truth is human nature seems to require us to become emotionally involved in our work, and that is especially true for those who must live their brand identities in a public marketplace. When you are the product being sold, or when you are an entrepreneur who has created a business based on personal attributes and identity, there is little to no separation between the self and the brand. The good news is this fusion creates authenticity and a strong connection with the audience. However, the flip side to this unique situation leads to subjectivity, a very real danger to any growing business.
So, let’s take a minute to discuss actionable advice that will help you step outside of your self and learn to view your brand with an objective mindset to make unbiased and sustainable business decisions. If you haven’t yet begun the branding process using my bestseller From Individual to Empire: A Guide to Building an Authentic and Powerful Brand, this shortlist will undoubtedly help your approach before you’ve turned the first page.
Make sure your mindset is in a positive state.
Make sure your mindset is in a positive state. throughout my book. As author Shawn Achor drills down into his research, he proves that we make better, more rational, and more sustainable decisions when our brain is free of stress and negativity. Here are the facts as Achor points out in his TED talk, and expounded upon in his NY Times Bestseller The Happiness Advantage:
“If you can raise somebody’s level of positivity in the present, then their brain experiences what we now call a happiness advantage, which is, your brain at positive performs significantly better than at negative, neutral, or stressed. Your intelligence rises, your creativity rises, your energy levels rise. In fact, we’ve found that every single business outcome improves. Your brain at positive is 31 percent more productive than your brain at negative, neutral, or stressed. You’re 37 percent better at sales. Doctors are 19 percent faster—more accurate at coming up with the correct diagnosis when positive instead of negative, neutral, or stressed.”
Remember, positivity can be the slight edge needed to go from average to an outlier. And this proves why.
Understand that what is true, may not sell.
While you are on your branding journey, you will come across a few key steps that will determine how successful your brand may become in the future. One is editing all your truths, everything that makes you unique, your life experiences, values, and traits, into a palatable product for the consumer. This must be a ruthless activity, leaving many, many truths on the cutting room floor. But, if done correctly, this step will actually double as a lesson in objectivity.
You must cut out the fluff anyways, so naturally, we should cross out traits and values that may prevent the audience from understanding your brand. The goal is to embrace the fact that it is not a slight against you if something you love or something you deeply connect with may not be sellable to your chosen target audience. It doesn’t take anything away from your uniqueness or your life experiences. It just may not be relevant to the product you are promoting.
Giving yourself an outsider’s perspective, namely the consumer, will help you develop an objective mentality that will help keep your brand on track. Pulling the truths together that are important to the consumer will provide long-term focus. Focus not only relieves stress about the brand identity but also protects your ego from negative feedback.