Your Brand Is Your Voice. Your Voice Is A Gift.
This week I had the opportunity to speak to the BPW Chapter in our city. The group asked me to speak about personal branding, a topic that I've got down-pat on any given day, but this event happened to fall on the eve of International Women’s Day. I felt self-conscious. I became concerned (concerned? obsessed?… is obsessed the new concerned?) with how I could possibly speak on the topic of personal branding in a way that would be supportive of the magnitude and meaning of IWD. The last thing I wanted to do was come across as disconnected, uninformed or, worse yet, shallow.
I wrestled with this topic for days. I had a few things to say about IWD; I had a few deeply personal stories to share (only one of which involved choosing “the perfect colour palette” ...which is always leopard if you're wondering); and I certainly needed to address the importance of intersectional feminism.
I had so much to say!
My brain worked its hardest to solve this Rubik’s Cube of topics that were so intertwined while at the same time toeing the line of contradiction.
I continued to struggle until I came across a quote that gave me the boost of velocity I was looking for. Thank you Jeff Bezos!
This. This was a step in the right direction. But, I wasn’t quite there yet.
I took these words and kept going, adding what I know to be true:
Your brand is also what’s said when you ARE in the room.
Your brand is what’s remembered about you.
Your brand is what’s interpreted about you.
Your brand may be your first impression.
Your brand is your reputation.
Your brand is your credibility.
Your brand is your voice.
...your brand is your voice?
YOUR BRAND IS YOUR VOICE.
Yes, your brand IS your voice!
And your voice? It is a gift.
YOUR VOICE IS A GIFT!
Your brand is your voice and your voice is a gift.
The truth is, our voices were given to us by the women who came before us.
Given to us by our mothers + our grandmothers + their mothers + their grandmothers who carried us on their strong backs while they cleared our paths.
Given to us by the women who dreamed of the freedoms that we live with every single day.
Given to us by the women who died fighting for our rights.
Your ability to stand as a woman, with a strong personal brand and a voice that others will listen to is a gift. Such an unbelievable gift.
A privilege that our ancestors could not have imagined in their wildest dreams.
Through this lens - the sacred gift given to you by the women that came before you, I had the context I needed. I could share my guidelines for developing a powerful personal brand with the understanding that we have a responsibility to use that brand (that voice) for more just rattling off the features and benefits of a product - for more than selling.
I don’t believe that our mothers + our grandmothers + their mothers + their grandmothers crossed lines, stood up and fought so that we could sell more shampoo.
They deserve more.
The women who will come after us deserve more.
We deserve more.
So while we use our personal brands - our voices - to build our businesses, let’s not forget that not every woman’s voice is being broadcast at the same volume. That there are still women whose voices are being muted and silenced.
Just as the women who came before us gave us the gift of our own voices, may we use that power to amplify the voices of:
women who experience linguistic disconnection and social isolation
women who are neurodivergent
those who present as women
women living in poverty
women in our First Nations communities
any woman who is marginalized or unable to be heard at the same volume as you are
May we use our voices to help elevate others, thereby elevating the collective brand of woman.
Your brand is your voice. Your voice is a gift. Use it wisely for those who came before you + those who will come after.
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