Embrace The Grey

If I hear the word authentic one more time, I think I might just puke.

That, up there, is my authentic (pun intended) voice. I know we live in an age where everyone is trying to stand out online–where there are no barriers to entry for anyone who wants to say or sell anything. And that’s precisely it- -the no barriers part makes it so crowded, that you end up having to really let down your guard to tap into who you are and what you have to offer. I have an issue with absolute black and white authenticity in a business sphere. It is not just about being true to who you are, but being able to relate that back to what you are providing and selling. You need to show what you bring to the table is something of value for people and is connected to who you are. I don’t want to know about your exercise schedule or food habits—not unless these issues are an integral part of why you started your business or are directly related to your services. In that case, I want to know in full detail about it.

So, for me the outcome is a grey type of authenticity–one that is related to your business and framed to match your product and consumer. Only when there is a little bit (not all) of you in the business, will it stand out from the others.

Here are some ways to embrace your selective self as an important and relevant part of your business.

1. Use Your Story

You use your curated and relevant story to get close to your customers, to show you empathise with them. Your personal and brand story are linked. It’s not just about a catchy tagline for your company– your story and journey on how you started this business as well as why you started it are the foundation of your brand and important in planning how you want to move it forward.

2. Identify the Purpose

Do you have a product, service or platform for a specific consumer? Are you there to curate or spread knowledge from a specific industry? Are you there to share your values of a specific way of living or doing things that are different from the norm? Are you trying to spark action from consumers through what you are doing? Is the end object to make a difference? Perhaps, it’s a bit of all of it? Think about your product in these aspects and finding your purpose and your communication will become clearer.

3. Keep It Simple

While it’s great and essential to identify your Why, please don’t forget about the What. You need to have a great and distinct product or service you are fundamentally offering to your consumer, which solves a problem for them. That product or service is built on YOUR knowledge, values and personal experience as a founder. This will make your potential consumers trust you. So, pick your niche product and focus on it—say no to the other 100 random things –the rest will follow quite organically.

4. Be Selective

You can show all your authentic self on your personal social media space if you desire. But, in the business sphere, be a little grey and choose what you share. No drunken pictures or table top dancing shots—unless you run the hottest club in town! Get inspired by what you experience and read–then, break the rule book to create your own grey business narrative. Remember, you need to share knowledge, not sell it.

5. Make it Fun

A head of a company needs to get down on everyone’s level and be willing to let their hair down when it is needed. Come up with ideas that will make your consumers smile and make their experience enjoyable- weather it’s through a blog, event, or sale. Sometimes, being a little funny will just cut through the noise and make you stand out.

Want more great ideas on how to tell a relevant story to consumers in your industry? Get in touch with us for a personal consultation at [email protected]
What’s The Story is a Singapore-based digital content focused consultancy. For more tips on branding, storytelling and communicating effectively, please sign-up for our monthly newsletter through our website.