Branding for Introverts 🙊
Cultivating influence and visibility when you just kinda wanna be left alone…
A few days ago, I was having lunch with someone who recently walked away from a lucrative CEO position—as in, “Peace out, y’all”—when he saw that his commitment to growing a healthy corporate culture was not shared by the company’s board. And now he’s considering how he needs to be showing up in the world to find a new gig that’s a better fit for his values.
“But there’s something about the word ‘branding’ that just…I don’t know,” he said, his expression a hybrid of befuddlement and the-cream-in-my-coffee-is-past-its-expiration-date. “The fact is, I’m an introvert. And I’m definitely not cool. How do you ‘brand’ that?”
Well not with some phony façade, that’s for sure.
You might be surprised to know that Moxie works with lots of self-described introverts. Authors, artists, consultants, coaches, business owners of various stripes—even those whose work involves serving people individually or in small groups can find the idea of “people-ing” en masse to be a bit off-putting, even panic-producing.
If your idea of a living hell is having to put on a nametag and wade into the middle of a networking event, odds are you’re not champing at the bit to do Facebook live broadcasts. One scary-brilliant client of mine went so far as to cover the camera on her laptop so she couldn’t be seen during our one-on-one Zoom calls.
Do I find that odd? Not at all. It’s simply a reflection of the fact she’s someone whose jam is sitting in a room by herself thinking new thoughts and sorting out complexity. By which I mean really complicated complexity.
Perhaps you can relate… Yet those thoughts you like to sit and think by yourself need a little air time. Your great ideas don’t get to live their best lives until other minds are exposed to them and get to benefit.
So there comes a time when you have to ask yourself a pretty fundamental question: What am I more committed to—being comfortable in my relative isolation and relying solely on word of mouth for more business…? Or finding some forms of elevating my visibility that I can grow to be comfortable with over time?
A core member of our team—Victoria, our super smart and evolved Digital Presence Director—is an unabashed introvert. (By the way, while Myers Briggs has me pegged as leaning slightly extrovert, it’s only slightly.) Anyway, Victoria has become my barometer of sorts for which visibility tactics are “introvert-friendly.” I know I’ve pushed past the comfort zone when she starts looking worried and says “Hmm…mayyyybe….”
Psst… Here’s Victoria, proud captain of Moxie team introvert spotted in a rare selfie, because… ice cream.
So, what’s an introvert to do when you know the time has come to share your magic with the world?
Here, my lovers of solitude, is how you do that: It’s time to plumb those quiet depths and find out who you are at your core, and then amplify that in a way that remains true to your essence.
There’s a lot of talk about “authentic” branding, but what often gets overlooked is the difference it makes when HOW you put yourself out there is as authentic as what you’re saying. If the idea of staring at that little green light on the camera and talking to it for three minutes makes you break out in welts, then don’t do it, or at least not at first.
I strongly urge people to play to their strengths and do what feels good. If you’re doing things that feel good, you’ll do them more often. Despite all the experts peddling their way as THE way to be visible, I’m here to tell you there are plenty of ways to become known for what you provide and the expertise you’ve developed over the years. You just need to sort out which ones work with your personality and your message.
Here are just a few ideas that may be more palatable to the hard-core introvert:
If Facebook live is definitely not your thing (though I do urge my clients to step out of their comfort zone a little bit at least), then consider concentrating on still photography posts on social media. People love behind-the-scenes peeks, glimpses of work in progress, images that speak to what inspires you. You can communicate a lot with a good photo and a thoughtful caption, and it’ll give people an opportunity to get to know you.
Commit to writing a short series of articles and post them on LinkedIn, Medium, and/or Facebook. Map out 3-5 ideas that together provide a sense of who you are and what you’re about, and then just apply seat-of-pants to chair and bang ‘em out. Once you get started, it gets easier, I promise.
Consider interviewing someone you respect who has a larger audience than you, and incorporating their expertise along with yours. Guess what? When that person then shares your thoughtful piece with her audience, BOOM. You suddenly have new people checking you out, and you didn’t even have to take off your bunny slippers.
I’ve had clients score national media coverage without ever speaking to another human. Have you heard of HARO, otherwise known as Help A Reporter Out? Yes, Virginia, it’s possible to respond to a journalist’s posted inquiry with your emailed answers to questions and get selected as a featured expert in a major article.
You could even consider The Moxie Diaries to be another ‘you-do-you’ example of allowing yourself to be known by more people.
These days the gold standard of digital marketing is the one-topic, single-link-to-click email designed to produce a very focused result. That’s a valid model, it just isn’t my preferred model. So I’m trusting my instincts (and preferences!) and am spending my time on what interests me and what I like creating, and I’m trusting that kindred spirits will find something here that resonates with them as well.
Despite all the noise out there, there are a whole lotta people who would rather just be quiet. Yet, they have important things to say.
**Side Note: If you stumbled upon us here via our blog, we highly recommend you take a stroll with us in The Moxie Diaries, our free, email-only, curated digest of inspiring stories & personal essays, moments of beauty, behind-the-scenes sneak peeks, and all the things we’re currently obsessed with.
📢 Calling all introverts!
Can you relate to this? What goes through your head and what gets in your way when thinking about wanting to be more ‘out there’? How do you grapple with the challenges of being Y-O-U in this seemingly hyper-exposed digital age?
I’d love to hear your challenges and what you’ve learned. Leave a comment below and let me know.
Because the world needs more of what the quiet ones have to offer.
With love and moxie,
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