Being seen AF is as complex as you are
How do you use brand story throughout your social media content?
When it comes to being visible AF, having an impact, creating a meaningful business, and growing your personal brand online, one of the things that speak directly to your audience’s soul is your why.
The old Simon Sinek’s teachings are still relevant today–”People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
The “why” is your brand purpose, what’s behind everything you do, and how you do it. It can serve as an inspiration to social posts, website copy, and how you show up online.
But, within your brand story, there are other possibilities. You can add different layers when creating content and make your brand even more exciting and visible to your dedicated fans.
Take what happened last year over the summer. I scrolled my LinkedIn feed, which I don’t do very often, and a post grabbed my attention. It was about the latest online buzz by Patagonia. My thought was: Holy cow, they did what? They put a tiny, tiny, hidden message “VOTE THE ASSHOLES OUT” in the tag of a limited edition pair of shorts.
The marketing-to-vision perfect match
The famous message was tiny in length indeed, but evaluating the number of comments, it was significant in the context of the brand mission and vision.
I couldn’t resist reading the comments. People were outraged, angry at Patagonia because of what they did; they shouldn’t be meddling with politics, saying they will never buy anything from them again, you know the drill. Only a few were still loyal to the brand.
Despite all the rage, as it turns out, what Patagonia did was not off-brand. It may have come as a surprise to some, but their website clearly says:
“We’re in business to save our planet. We aim to use the resources we have-our voice, our business, and our community to do something about our climate crisis.
We’re Part of a Movement for Change.
From supporting youth fighting against oil drilling to suing the president, we take action on the most pressing environmental issues facing our world. Connect with environmental groups through Patagonia Action Works and take action to protect people and the planet.”
So the tiny message was a form of protest, taking a stand for what the company and loyal customers believe. The goal was also to alienate the audience not aligned with their intentions.
On a side note, let’s not forget Nike’s ad campaign a couple of years back starring Nike’s Colin Kaepernick, who was the first to kneel during the US national anthem before NFL games to protest racial injustice.
The ad had a massive backlash, people protesting by burning Nike’s shoes and selling stock options. Then, in the summer of 2020, during the Black Lives Matter protests, you could see people kneeling, apologizing to Colin for how they treated him back then. Life has strange and brutal ways to show us the truth and turn things around, doesn’t it? And, sometimes, it is for the best of us all.
Are you a “doing good” personal brand?
Anyhow, both Nike and Patagonia are connecting with their audience and building a brand based on shared values. They are “doing good” brands!
Beyond their products, they appeal to their customers through inspiring them, overcoming obstacles to win (the underdog journey) and through social and ethical issues.
If all these are aligned in your brand message, a deep bond is established. As something bigger is at play, together, the brand and customers will act on these issues and turn the world into a better place.
Now, leading with values is not easy because you’ll be exposed to unfriendly comments, cancel culture, and beyond. But in the crowded online world, using your beliefs and core values in your brand message makes you stand out. All that without using scarcity and FOMO methods.
Authenticity and passion are crucial, and you’re on the way to creating a passionate community, eager to learn from you, follow you, and spread the word. You’re seen as authentic if you’re living the you preach, a true leader.
You choose what works for your personal brand message
Like any human, a personal brand is a complex ecosystem. Your “why” can blend with your brand values; they are not necessarily the same. Whether the values are climate change, human rights, racism, water protection, sustainable energy, organic food, they can help your brand become magnetic in a different way.
And, you choose how you lead and show up online. The message doesn’t need to be “in your face,” like Patagonia did, to be effective. Dream big, start small, most of all, start.
What are your thoughts about the subject? Are you willing to take the risk and make your brand values or the big vison part of your core message?