In a transparent world we become self-trained to seek out two things; authenticity and consistency. Aside from ignoring everyone and everything, that is the only way manage to sort through the rubble of online noise, tweets, posts, photos, blogs, videos, likes, shares, reposts, diggs, links and articles.

Authenticity and Consistency.

Regardless of what you communicate your brand represents – it is truly defined by what is said about you when you are not present.

When we set out to do, well, anything we open ourselves up to that public observation and evaluation. Do our actions reinforce what we say we represent or is what we’re doing deteriorating the facade of what we claimed to stand for?

If you stretch out the timeline long enough – the success rate of an individual or a company to falsely construct a brand falls to zero.

And we have all been witness to the fall out from even the biggest of companies and the most iconic of personal brands when they are no longer able to pass the test of authenticity and consistency.

No longer are the days of sweeping something under the rug, disguising or masking. Overtime, through the lens of our transparent society, it will become subject to the evaluation of it’s authenticity and consistency.

We see this happen in an even accelerated pace within our own industry. Saying you stand for one thing but doing another. Developing a style of content and then engaging in something which shatters it. Claiming to have one intent until a true one rears its face.

Think about the brands, be it corporations, small businesses or personal brands, which resonate with you the most. They have remained authentic about who they are, what they stand for and what they are trying to achieve. And consistently, over time, everything they work to do reinforces that authenticity.

Now imagine the brands which have disappointed you. And that is the right word to use as it is a disappointment when a brand does not hold up to the scrutiny of evaluation. Distrust begins to brew and then comes your attempt to separate yourself from that brand.

It was just over a year ago I gave a presentation on the use of stories and storytelling in one’s marketing and branding efforts. During that seminar I discussed the dangers of having a misalignment in what a company is promoting compared to what it is claiming it stands for. Those watching us are far too smart to be fooled forever and once that trust has been severed – it is almost never repaired.

Authenticity and consistency are achieved simply by being genuine. When you are genuine in your goals, your intent, your direction and your action there is little need to be microscopically evaluated.

This is not about freeing yourself from all criticism however. Your goal in being genuine is not to appease everyone, but to affirm to your true supporters and evangelists that you are authentic and consistent in what you represent.

James Patrick
Twitter @jpphotography
Instagram @jpatrickphoto