"On Brand" vs. "Off Brand"
First and foremost, this is not a post about how you should brand yourself or tips/tricks to better brand yourself. Sorry, guys!
This is a post about deciphering what is "on brand" versus "off brand" for yourself.
If you don't know by now, you are a brand. With that being said, you have to identify what is it that you do, how do you function, and how will consumers engage with you as a brand.
I'll use myself as an example.
I'm always torn between what's "on brand" vs "off brand" for me. Granted, we all must filter some parts of our lives. Everything should not be said or shared with the public, especially on social media. But lately, I feel like I have to question every single thing that comes out of my mouth or what I should/should not post on social media. Am I overthinking how I present myself in the public light? Am I too concerned about others approval of what will get a like or comment on social media? If the answer is yes to these questions, then am I really being true to my brand?
Look, I'm no saint nor do I carry myself like a lose canon. However, the more I delve into who I am, I start to question if the person that I am choosing to share with the world is the real me or just the idea of what I want others to see of me.
Look, I'm no saint nor do I carry myself like a lose canon. However, I find that the more I delve into who I am, I start to question if the person that I am choosing to share with the world is the real me or just the idea of what I want others to see of me.
You see, social media has provided a platform that gives everyday consumers a voice to share their thoughts to the larger online community. Usually, people use Twitter to express what's on their mind, their reactions to something or to engage in a larger conversation that is affecting a local or national community, But, this wave of being a brand/social influencer has put pressure on emerging brand voices to take a deeper look at how they engage an audience, build a following and establish a brand presence in that space.
For those who don't know, I work in brand marketing for a living. So, do not get me wrong. I do believe every brand should establish an identity that makes sense to what the brand is doing and how it will function. However, as my own brand, why do I feel the pressure or need to question if this is "on brand" or "off brand" before I post something on social media? I get it. I'm not trying to come off ratchet or uneducated. But dang, to a certain extent, I just want to be the real me. To say how I feel, and not worry about whether its "on brand" or not.
Is my brand voice "Kea" or "Nakea" or both? Are they two separate entities or are they one in the same? When I am around my friends and family, I'm Kea. But when I am at work or networking, I'm Nakea. But to me, the only difference between the two is my name and how I code switch between both settings. As I am getting older, I find that Kea and Nakea are one entity, and that one is not too far off from the other. However, I do notice that Kea is the more authentic representation of me. That's just my personal preference.
Overall, I believe that being true to who you are will always translate over into what is "on brand" for you. Also, knowing who your audience is or the audience that you want to attract. For me, the Kea that everyone knows and loves, is my brand. It's "on brand" to who I am, the type of audience I want to engage with, and attract in my life. Granted, I will also be Nakea, first and foremost. But, I am loving and appreciating my true and authentic self. I have to trust and not be ashamed of what I choose to put out there to the world. Because the reality is, we all are looking for an outlet to share our voice. How we share our voice and what is "on brand" to our personal brand is decided by us, not what other people think your brand should be.
The worst thing anyone wants to happen with their personal brand is someone meets you in-person and you are nothing like the person you portray yourself to be online. That's like false advertisement. No corporate or mainstream brand wants to portray themselves as one thing, when it actuality they are a total different thing. They'll lose customer loyalty real quick; and eventually start to fizzle out or look to re-brand asap! Don't taint your personal brand like that; its not worth it.
People will deem you are an influencer based off of who you are and how they relate to you.
Just be you, that's the only thing that will ever be "on brand".