Brené Brown tells us that, “Authenticity is not something we have or don’t have. It’s a practice—a conscious choice of how we want to live.” She also tells us that, “If we want to live and love with our whole hearts . . . we have to talk about the things that get in the way—especially shame, fear, and vulnerability.”

Authentic branding and marketing is not much different from an individual endeavoring to live an authentic life—it’s a practice. It’s not that a brand is inauthentic one day and totally authentic the next. Its level of authenticity is a direct reflection of the willingness of its core leadership to shine a light on its essence and speak its truth (as a company) boldly and forthright. To do that, we have to be willing to be transparent, which is how we show up with vulnerability as a brand.

What gets in the way of being more authentic as a brand is conforming to traditional marketing practices—striving to sound good, versus sounding true. Using gimmicks that tantalize and entice, rather than being vulnerable in our marketing by saying it how we truly want to say it.

Digging deep into a brand requires the risk of “they won’t like this” or “they won’t get us.” Digging deep means there is risk and we are willing to forge ahead anyway because it feels right in our bones.

What gets in the way of being more authentic as a brand is the fear of what people will think, of sounding too different, of being more real than what feels comfortable.

Talking about the fear and doing it anyway leads us to greater authenticity. Why is this important? Because in a world of ever-increasing marketing noise, the way we stand out, the way we connect, is by being real . . . to the core.

Tell us in the comments how you are striving to be real. We honor your authenticity.

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