May 14, 2020

“Too many people want their brands to reflect some idealized, perfected image of themselves. As a consequence, their brands acquire no character and no trust”. - Richard Branson

When you work in digital marketing and the online space, whatever area you’re in, you’ll find it’s common to have your values tested. Everyday you see people online sharing content which is untrue. It may not be a bold faced lie, but it’s an adaption on the truth, put out as if it is the truth.

You might find that some of the things you’re taught in branding and marketing, or some of the things you see others doing just don’t really align with your values.

For instance:

The second you make £8,333 in one month, you technically have a six-figure business (and a six-figure business is obviously something that’s super impressive!). However, it’s unfortunately very common practice to fudge those numbers, just to be able to say “I have a six-figure business!”.

Alongside that, we’ve all seen those influencers putting out fake images – some post edited images of their bodies, some post photos with private jets that aren’t actually theirs, just to impress people and bump their sales. As content creators we must take the role to inspire, to teach, not to show off or spread lies.

This ‘fake it till you make it’ approach is finished, people are begging for authenticity, for realness.

I believe that we really need to be the change we want to see

For me, that’s about being a conscious creator and a conscious marketer. It’s about always making sure everything I put out there is done for the right reasons. It’s about making sure that my content is aligned with my values and is put out there to help people, rather than to show off. I think there’s a fine line between inspiring and demoralizing. We should always be asking ourselves if our content is created and put out there with the right reasons in mind.

If you agree with me on this, next time you put out a piece of content and you’re not sure if you’re doing it for the right reasons (maybe it’s coming from a place of ego?), I want you to ask yourself these three questions:

1. What do you really want to say?

What is the aim of this piece of content; what is it that you want people to feel when they’re looking at it? Take a step back and really think about the message you are putting out to your audience. Are you communicating your brand effectively and with integrity? Is your content actually purposeful and does it inspire engagement?

2. Are you being genuine?

Being genuine and transparent isn’t always as simple as it seems. When just a tiny white lie could generate more leads or make you look like a more perfect version of yourself, it’s tempting to stretch the truth. However, branding with integrity means connecting with your audience in a transparent, authentic way; be honest about the real you and what you have to offer. Being honest means to follow through with your promises, being translucent about your business practices, and accurately representing your products. Ask yourself - is this piece of content a truthful way to achieve your aim? For example, if you’re wanting to sell something; is posting a fake or edited picture actually the correct way to fulfill that aim? Could there be a more truthful, deeper way to achieve your goal?

3. Are you staying true to your values?

At its heart, integrity relies on consistency. It means deciding what you want your brand identity to be and sticking by that definition no matter what. Really focus on your ‘why’; think about the values that drive you towards success. After all, your audience will struggle to believe in a brand whose image is constantly changing. Speak with confidence about what you believe in; get back to your roots, and apply your values, vision, and beliefs to the content you share with your audience.

Let’s make sure that we’re always marketing with integrity!

I think it’s really important that everything we’re putting out in the world is something positive. My aim is never to compromise on my morals or my values just to sell something or to benefit myself. I think it’s really important to get clarity on those values early on so we can make sure that we always stay true to ourselves.

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