Being True to You as a Brand

Today’s small-business environment is evolving away from a “smoke and mirrors” approach to one of authentic “self” as part of the marketing mix.

With YouTube and use of social media on the rise, the individuals who represent the business are becoming more memorable than the business itself. It’s beyond spokespersons… beyond Dave Thomas making burgers or Lee Iacocca talking about cars. It’s about personally connecting with your client/audience by personalizing your brand. Among my favorite examples of this in advertising are Apple’s “Hi, I’m Mac and this is PC.” But for small-business owners, it works even better when authenticity is integrated as part of your complete approach to marketing your business. 

When you’re naming your business, being authentic to yourself and what you do is key. For instance, my friend, Ivana Taylor, is a brilliant marketing guru. She works with clients to develop a “positioning plan” that goes well beyond mere marketing. She develops a unique mix – a strategy stew – designed to get to the heart of what companies want most: getting the customers they love the most to love them right back. This all results in more sales to the customers they enjoy working with.

When Ivana decided to brand herself online, she did things differently. For her online marketing, she pretty much ignored her official business name, Third Force. She even got rid of her Third Force website. Instead, she took a leap and focused on connecting with her customers through her blog, aptly named “Strategy Stew.” And since launching her true self and honest advice into the blogging world, and positioning herself as authentic (she also loves to cook, so the stew thing really works on many levels), her business has skyrocketed. (You can check her out at

So, what do you do in your marketing to keep it real?



2 Comments on “Being True to You as a Brand”

  1. Ivana Taylor says:

    Hi Patti – Awesome article. But you knew that. I agree with you that authenticity is key and I think that the words we use to communicate value have to be authentic too. I’m going to vent over morning coffee – but if I have to read another “corporate blah-blah” sounding web site or piece of literature that sounds vapid and empty I’m going to puke. My advice to business (of any size) don’t be afraid of sounding like who you are. Your customers won’t think you’re stupid if you speak their language. You’ll be stupid if you don’t.

  2. pattirenner says:

    Enjoy your coffee!
    And you’re right about a fear of sounding like who you really are. I recently worked with someone who wanted a more “elevated tone” to their copy, targeted to doctors. She’s not a doctor, but she wanted to sound like one. But it’s just not who she is — and it simply doesn’t serve people well to be who you’re not.
    As Judy Garland once said: “Always be a first-rate version of yourself instead of a second-rate version of someone else.” With that, I’ll click my heels three times and go home.

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