Authenticity in Marketing: Capitalizing on Your Personal Story

A few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with a woman (read: seasoned children’s performer and newly published author) about ways she could market her business and new book, as well as alternative sales structures and income streams. Impressed with my ideas, she asked me where I learned about this stuff.
To be perfectly honest, I often feel like a sponge – just naturally soaking up everything I see and hear. It’s true, I feel I have a knack for observation and studying. (As evident through my ability to learn subtle nuances in conversational French when I lived abroad… among other things).
No, I didn’t study business and marketing in school. I am not formally trained with a “license to practice.” And… I’m not afraid to admit it.
I’ve had a much more gritty and real life ride. Observing, studying, practicing and experimenting, interning, making (frankly) amateur mistakes, and occasionally getting it right… oh, and it helps that I follow marketing gurus online; listen to podcasts; read books (!) on business, marketing, sales and human behavior; I talk to people; I go to conferences; I participate in webinars… but the important factor?
The most important factor contributing to my business education is my burning desire to prove that I can make a living (read: thrive) from photography.
So, being the perfectionist and over-achiever I am, I aim to do everything in my power to run a successful (read: profitable and authentic) creative business, so … really, what’s been the most effective tool in learning business and marketing?
Actually having to apply the things that I learn, throughout this journey, to myself and my business.
So, how do I know about branding? Well, I’ve had to figure out what I want my brand to stand for and be known for. I’ve had to look inside and figure out my values, my vision, my mission… and do the hard work it takes. And have the courage to commit (over and over again) in spite of all the nay-sayers.
And, throughout this journey of observing and studying online marketing, branding and business, I’ve been known (mostly in my head, and by some close friends) to get “hung up” on certain terms (in the beginning, it was the concept of marketing, as a whole, and the concept of “systems” in my business). I got hung up on what these things mean and how to apply them. Luckily, eventually, after observing, studying, discussing with others, making mistakes, reflecting, etc. I’d have a eureka moment, where suddenly it clicks and I see how really simple these things were all along.
So, today, I’d like to discuss the concepts of authenticity and value in marketing. I hope that by sharing my experience, I can help you 1. understand yourself better, 2. feel more confident in yourself and your marketing, 3. be intentional in your marketing actions, and 4. really add value to your followers and customers.

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