December 18, 2020
An Introverted Brand (Literally and Metaphorically)
I was a terribly shy kid, and my parents’ strategy for dealing with this was to force me into situations where I had to interact with others: clubs, team-sports, public speaking. Although most of these experiences resulted in some amusing anecdotes (white-knuckling my way through a mock-parliament speech and then missing my chair and falling off a gym riser is one), I grew up thinking that my introverted personality was something to overcome.
Being in various stages of lockdown this year – including still not being back to work at our studio, has finally given many of us the permission to embrace our introversion—no more anxiety about not having Saturday night plans. No more having to psych myself up for a networking breakfast. This year opened the door for me to embrace being myself – by myself fully – and learn how I could use that shyness to my advantage.
Many of us have taken to our social networks to share our experiences. I was much more prolific in the pandemic’s early days, mainly driven by the desperation to hold on to some semblance of a new business pipeline. We met with lead-gen consultant after consultant, all advising us of the same digital marketing strategy: targeted InMail with automated content sequencing.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a firm believer in the power of content marketing – and I’ve witnessed many consultants use this strategy very effectively over the years with excellent results. But recently, and especially throughout 2020, I can’t tell you how many InMail messages and sequences I’ve received. And I HATE them. They’re intrusive – overly familiar – and in some cases down-right manipulative.
But when everything settled, I saw many of our clients not only stick by us but expand their engagements with us in – dare I say – even more meaningful ways. That made me think about what is it that I want to share here?
I’ve always believed that the most effective content program feeds minds, not mindless feeds. So I’ve gotten off the automated communication train – and instead am getting back to just writing content because it helps me test out ideas – and hopefully helps spark an idea for someone else in the process. If a lead emerges from that, great. But that’s no longer my expectation from this platform.
So I’m not at all saying I don’t want or need leads. This year has been hard on our business. (And many others have fared far, far, worse.) But is my expectation that having a million followers or thousands of email addresses in a database will make our business more profitable? No. Even if a handful of people connect with me (and I mean really connect) because they like something I’ve published, that’s not only good enough for me, that’s better for me. Because, as an introvert, I’m better connecting one-on-one, not en masse. I guess I don’t feel comfortable shouting to be heard.
That’s not to say that I think you or another brand expecting a million followers is wrong – at all. The expectations you set largely rest on what fits your personality and your brand. But it’s also more than appropriate to find your own way to connect your brand with others, so it feels authentic to you. There’s no magic formula. And if a quieter, more organic approach results in work you’re proud of, that’s fine regardless of what the lead-gen consultants say.
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