When you spend any decent period of time around other people - like family, school, work, church, clubs etc - who you are leaves an impression on that group. The longer you are in that group, the deeper the impression that you leave. If you’ve been there for a long time and then suddenly, you’re not ... the people in that group sense your presence missing.
That impression is the idea of you that you leave other people with. It may not be who you are, it may not be who you think you are - and it’s likely to be slightly different for each person. When who you actually are is inconsistent with the impression you seek to leave (think cool instead of authentic) the people that click with your impression, as they are drawn to you, will reach a point on that journey where they feel the clash between real and the impression and check out.
If you want genuine relationships, it’s important to pursue a life where your actual personhood is consistent with the impression you leave. Some would call this “authenticity “.
The same is true of your personal or business brand - the only difference is that you seek to formalise that impression and extend its boundaries further out to interact with people you’ve never met. As you seek to push out the boundaries of your brand and people click with it - as they journey along that brand pathway towards you - it’s important to have authenticity otherwise the same thing will happen. They’ll follow the path to a certain point until they recognise the disconnect and then they’ll check out.
Most of us have an ideal sense of ourselves and when we’re building out our brand, that’s the “us” we’re seeking to communicate. We all know that our present state and our ideal self have a complicated relationship! Rest easy, though, because authenticity is not about perfection – it’s about momentum. Authenticity doesn’t mean we never fail to live out our ideal self, it means that we are pursuing an ideal and when we fall, we get back up and keep going. We have momentum. The disconnect that will drive our ideal clients away is when we create a brand that, intentionally or unintentionally, is incongruent with where we see ourselves or our business going.
Finding this authentic connection between who you are and how you communicate yourself is at the heart of what we do at Life as Art. One of our very favourite things is working with one of our clients and watching their eyes light up as they start to see how they can be true to themselves and have a consistent brand message.
How are you feeling about the relationship between yourself and your brand identity?
Are there any brands you interact with that seem to be really authentic?
We’d love to hear from you, let us know in the comments!
Life as Art is Perth’s leading branding and headshot photographer. We work with our clients to bring clarity to their branding with beautiful, custom photography.