Authentic vs. Inauthentic Brand

Are you marketing yourself in a genuine or inauthentic way? Most of us would enthusiastically answer “Authentic” to that question. No one would ever admit to being an inauthentic brand. How would you know if you’re not genuine unless you are deliberately creating a false image of yourself?

The Misconception of an Authentic Brand

Some argue that personal branding can lead to inauthenticity, as individuals may feel pressured to create a polished image that may not accurately reflect their true selves.

Most people assume that inauthenticity is deliberate. However, humans live in a reality that is not always based on facts. Sometimes, what makes us an inauthentic brand is that we simply do not share the whole truth about who we are.

It’s plausible to say that it’s not on purpose, either. Mainly because we have never uncovered the truth. We started our businesses and began throwing out offers, sharing inspiring quotes, stating how we are better than our competitors, and revising our own products and services to fit everyone’s needs. Unfortunately, this is not marketing. It’s fishing for survival. 

If you are questioning yourself, ask:

  • Is your brand strategy integrated into your marketing plan?
  • Are you aligning your brand story with your visual image?
  • Are you clear about your brand story, and are you confident in sharing it? Not just on your website or social media but anywhere you are: a networking event, a one-to-one meeting with a lead, the airport, or a Starbucks.

Symptoms of Unalignment

Many people in business often experience imposter syndrome, which is when someone does not believe they deserve success or are as qualified as they say. They may regularly attract the wrong kinds of clients. They get leads looking for the best deal they can and don’t see their value. They are often “winging it” at a networking event or a client meeting.

The truth is that when you’re not intentional about your marketing, your message may not align with your public image. In this case, your audience will come to their own conclusion about who you are. And suddenly, a bad review can be pretty damaging. But one review doesn’t encompass your true depth and how you serve others.

I believe the majority of people who have an inauthentic brand have put little or no thought into what it means. Branding is being purposeful with your message and declaring what you stand for and why. Therefore, I feel well thought out and defined personal brands are actually more authentic than not. 

How to Recognize a False or Inauthentic Brand

Let’s further explore the controversy between presenting oneself authentically and strategically crafting a personal brand.

Some brands appear hugely successful, and their followers love them. They have brand ambassadors who ask you to work with them, millions of followers, and tons of programs selling like hotcakes.

Today, AI is making it easier for brands to fabricate personas that may not represent an individual’s essence. On the outside, however, they look fabulous! Like a shiny new car with the new car smell still permeating the interior.

Sometimes, we won’t know who an authentic brand or an inauthentic brand is.

Rolling Stone wrote a great article titled “15 Telltale Signs of Inauthentic Marketing That Could Be Hurting Your Brand.” Here are a few that they listed.

  • Using generic language or platitudes
  • Focusing too much on competitors
  • Letting others take over the brand voice
  • Jumping on trends for likes
  • Using overused marketing buzzwords
  • Lacking visual consistency
  • Relying on stock photos and images
  • Mimicking competitors

There are many other clues you can look for as well, such as a lack of consistency and brand identity across different platforms. Brands that are too perfect and polished; we’re real people, and we can share a photo or video of ourselves without makeup on.

A lack of transparency is a big one. Have you ever felt suspicious when you went on a website and there was no About Me page? 

Portraying Authenticity

"You are the heart of your business and my mission is to help you showcase the true essence of your brand to an audience who will honor and respect you.

Authentic vs Inauthentic brand

Regarding our own businesses, we must never forget that our audience is not as naive as we think. Subconsciously, most people know when you’re not being truthful.

Anyone who takes the time to develop their personal brand based on their vision, values, and mission is doing so with integrity.

The key to strategizing your brand is to understand precisely the type of people you want to work with. Our best clients will likely be those who have the same or similar values as yours. They hire you because they resonate with your brand. Sharing your actual values will instantly create trust in those you want to work with.

We should be positioning our personal brands by sharing what we know is true about ourselves and how that relates to how we provide service to our customers. This is the opposite of being a phony because you are stating a fact by letting your audience know precisely the type of experience they will have when they work with you.

What experience have you had with an inauthentic brand? Share it below. 

If you need help developing your personal brand so you can confidently share it with your audience, we have developed a program called the Personal Brand Identity Blueprint to help you clarify what you stand for.

For more information schedule a complimentary Brand Strategy Session. This will give you the steps to begin leveraging your marketing and your business.

It has always been my genuine desire to empower women by sharing the truth about who they are. This not only makes your marketing easier but stepping forward through life as the person and brand you are meant to be.