No new clothes: a story about branding and freedom

Branding and Freedom No New Clothes Thoreau Quote

Branding and freedom aren’t two words you usually see together in a sentence. Let me tell you a story …

I used to go to job interviews in a suit. A nondescript black or navy trouser suit that was ill-fitting in so many ways. Firstly, the anatomy I’m blessed with makes finding a flattering off-the-shelf trouser suit quite difficult. Vanity aside, there I was, a young excited professional creative, going to find a job in my field, looking like an accountant!

Somewhere along the journey into adulthood, I had picked up this idea that this is how things were done. Serious situations like job interviews called for “serious” attire and, we all know that means a suit. Despite the fact that people who already worked at these places never/rarely wore suits. Despite the fact that I was largely being judged on my creativity and, we all know how your visual presentation has the power to influence decisions. My choice of clothing just didn’t make sense.

Presentation is everything

There I’d be, nervous and also uncomfortable, yet trying to present my best self. How could I give people an accurate taste of who I was, when my attire was telling a whole different story? In fact, in retrospect, I’m surprised I got any job offers at all! I know our accolades and portfolios should be what wins us work but, I’m not naive enough to think that employers aren’t swayed by other factors about our presentation (including how we look).

Then I came across the following quote, by Henry David Thoreau:

Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.”

A lightbulb went off.

Me wearing suits was me trying to be something I was not. It was me trying to be something I assumed people wanted to see. Trying to be something I felt was expected of me. It didn’t feel right because it wasn’t right … for me. 

The problem with presenting yourself in a way that isn’t true to who you really are is that, you may find yourself keeping up the pretence for a while. With every passing day, your true self dies a little and you end up miserable, frustrated, resentful… a whole bevy of unpleasant emotions that signal the dimming of your special light.

This is not a recipe for success. 

It does not attract career progression.
It does not attract your dream clients or customers.
It is not conducive to reaching your lifestyle goals.
It does not inspire others.
It does not change the world.

This is a story about branding

You could say it’s a tale about personal branding and the importance of doing it well. Nowadays, whether we’re running our own business or helping to build somebody else’s, we would do well to think about our personal brand. If you’re a business owner, your personal brand and your business brand are intertwined. More and more, people are interested in the people behind the products they buy and the services they engage. 

That’s why I believe that your branding should make your heart sing!

Bank on the freedom to be you

When your branding speaks from your soul, it is automatically unique, genuine and powerful. It will speak volumes to your tribe of people – letting them know they’re in the right place for what it is they need or want.

You already have the ingredients to create branding that rings true to you – it’s just a case of knowing how to access them and then knowing what to do with them.

There is no need to dress yourself, or your business, in a way that doesn’t suit who you are. There is no need to feel uncomfortable or fraudulent. 

No more NOT being free, to be yourself.


Branding and freedom: discover ways to plant authentic roots for your business and help them flourish!

In May 2017, I ran the first Soulful Branding challenge, borne out of my desire to help people create branding that makes their heart sing. Having worked on branding for all kinds of individuals and organisations for the past 10+ years, I’ve learned a thing or two about creating a strong foundation for how you show up in the world (aka marketing), that is aligned with who you are. If it feels authentic, it’s going to be more effective. 

Due to the overwhelmingly positive response to the pilot challenge, I’m creating a more extensive edition – a 5-week online course, beginning this October.

Reserve your spot before September 1st to take advantage of the early bird offer (£75 – approximately $97 and KES 10k). From September 1st, the cost will be going up to £97 (approximately $126 and KES 13,000).

You can find out what past participants said about it and take advantage of the early bird offer here.

You can also join the Soulful Branding Community (for free) here.

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