The concept of authenticity is something that’s cropped up for me as I take the step into freelance work. Deciding whether to present myself as a person or a brand, I had a think about whether I really reflect the energy of the work that I do, and whether my name is the right representation of my services.
A friend of mine just quit marketing because it’s never felt true for her. She found the concept of promoting brands through her personal social media accounts kind of a “dirty” practice that made her feel cheap. Working in marketing felt false to her – like she had to put on a mask – because she didn’t believe in what she was doing.
Her revelation made me wonder what it is about marketing that feels so right for me, and how it reflects my personal values. I realise that I don’t just work with business, or with the idea of making small businesses money – that’s not enough motivation for me. I work with people, and I work with communities, and I see individual business success as part of a broader economic and social framework. When business is good, it’s usually good for everyone. Because of that, I’m unlikely to take on clients with businesses that I don’t believe in.
In terms of putting my face and personality on the table as part of my freelance services, I also think it’s a really good step in the current climate. People connect to a person, not to a brand. Social media is really slapping us in the face with this idea – personal connection is at the core of everything we do. And I think that links back to authenticity – people want you to put your money where your mouth is and step out of the shadows. It’s why it’s a good idea to sign off responses to social media on big business accounts with a first name. Put your name on the brand, get in front of a camera, put pen to paper with a blog – whatever way you want to do it, prove that you believe in what you do.