This is what I will tell you from the streets of hard knocks, reinventing my own brand from stagnation to relevance. Here is a word you must remember every day...That word is TRUST.
Recently, I lost complete trust in someone I considered to be a friend & business partner. Trust for me is a big deal, both in my relationships and with my work. I try my very best to be transparent and I expect that in return. If I can't trust you, then I don't want to work with you, be connected to you or be around you.
For me, once trust is lost, nothing can ever be the same.
Do people trust what you say? Can they trust, that you will do what you say you will do? That your intentions are good, and that what you say doesn't change with the weather, or with who is listening in.
Of course, there are times when we don't have control over a particular situation or circumstance. There are also times when the odds are against us and it looks like we aren't being completely honest about a situation. And it almost seems like there is nothing we can do to protect our integrity from those who will try to steal it.
Still - Are you consistent? Are you ORIGINAL or just a phony?
Do you want to build a loving relationship? Perhaps you want to build a platform, build better engagement, build a hard rock fan base or LOYAL customers for your business? People who will actually patronise you and buy your products or services or buy into your message.
Your operative word should be 'TRUST'... yes trust because no one will buy a product, partner up or do business with a person or brand they don't trust.
I see so many people who want to be like me, sound like me, write like me, look like me...and sometimes, I wonder - "what the heck" , what happened to just being you? Why are you stealing my identity, my style? Of course, I am flattered. But as someone who empowers others to be the highest expression of their authentic best, it bothers me a little, to see someone be a cheap version of the original.
And these days, your brand or value is not what you or your advertisers say you are. Your value is actually what your CUSTOMERS, tribe, audience, friends, collaborators say you are.
So while creating that perception. Is the perception you create relatable?
Is it based on falsehood, or is it based on authenticity?
The problem with branding these days is that people create a perception of perfection that is totally non-relatable to their target audience.
You can advertise all you want on social media about your seven-figure business or that quick fix you created? But your audience won't believe you.
You can wear the finest most expensive clothes, take pictures on the red carpet, chewing clean dollar notes for breakfast, lunch and dinner...or bath in a champagne-filled jacuzzi, with caviar all over your body. They still won't care, because it is not their everyday reality.
You can gain trust and credibility by being AUTHENTIC, by being real, genuine, honest and transparent - even if it hurts, even when it hurts because you don't compromise on your integrity.
Look at Celebrities like Prince, Michael Jackson, Ellen Degeneres, Madonna, Oprah, Martin Luther, Mandela, Mary Slessor even Nigeria's Fela... none of them were/are perfect...oh they had/have flaws, but still they defied the norm, went against popular beliefs, did their own thing, kept it real and created their own IDENTITY.
You can't question their Identity. Their Legacy will forever remain timeless. Even with their flaws, so many people still want to be like them.
So why do you want to FIT in when you can stand out?
Why do you want to be forgotten, when you can be REMEMBERED for being you, for being true?
Why do you want to be society's expectation of you, instead of your authentic self? Why do you want to cover up your uniqueness, instead of standing NAKED in all your warts & glory?
I can tell you that the only thing that can make a difference to SPOTLIGHT you from a crowded market place, even in the midst of people who wear the exact same clothes or do the exact same work, business, or craft that you do, is your AUTHENTICITY, because in truth, no one can do a better job at being you, than YOU!
So keep It Real and Build TRUST!
To Your Greatness,
Stay Authentic & Keep Winning
- Alex Okoroji