Brand Language: How Do Real People Use Your Brand’s Buzzwords?

 

My friend (Jenn Cusick of Luminate Wellness) and I got into one of those crazy Facebook thread conversations about the word “authenticity” the other week. She’d just read a blog post I’d written about Elon Musk and she had a question. In the post, I said Elon had real “authenticity” even though I thought that word had become “terrible.” She wanted to know what the word meant to me. So I explained that

I find it’s a buzzword that people want to associate themselves with without contemplating its meaning too deeply. Are people really that honest when they have strategic intent? Also, can ‘too much honesty’ be a professional liability or even just plain bad for your team/workplace/life? In general, I prickle a little bit when marketing lingo seems to appropriate moral concepts glibly.

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July 8, 2015

A ‘Keeping It Real’ Lesson From Elon Musk

For the last few months I’ve been buried neck-high in a book-writing project with some very intelligent, very interesting clients. In the course of researching content for the book I’ve been watching quite a few interviews with various entrepreneurs and industry leaders. (You know you’re a researcher when the makeup of your YouTube recommended videos list takes sudden hairpin turns. They used to recommend videos of kids dancing to Beyonce. Now it’s all Richard Branson and direct mail marketing.)

Anyway, last night I watched this video, featuring Elon Musk being Elon-Musky: all buttoned-down eloquence and even-keeled charisma.

“Authenticity” has become a terrible word, but he has it, and I appreciate it. Listen to what he says from about minute four to eight about navigating a period of acute anxiety. It’s real talk about making a hard decision and a huge investment and then waiting to find out whether the roof is going to fall down on your head or not. Nobody is so intelligent and strategic that they can bypass moments like these.

As the group therapy people say, “Thanks for sharing, Elon.” I really mean it.

[Author: Kristin van Vloten]

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June 10, 2015

How To Put An Actual Human Soul Into Your LinkedIn Summary

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I have an idea for a killer new app. I’m thinking of calling it ‘Impressivizer’. You load it up with all your favourite industry buzzwords and it spits out a LinkedIn summary that you can simply copy and paste to your profile. Everyone is going to use this thing! I mean, imagine: Impressivizer will shave tens of minutes from everybody’s busy schedules, tens of minutes that were previously devoted to creating LinkedIn profiles. An inhuman generator to do the work of millions of sleepy, unfocused professionals fitting in tasks in between answering emails and checking Facebook.

The Average LinkedIn Summary Is A Massive Wasted Opportunity 

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December 10, 2014

‘Be The Change Room’: 3 Novel Ideas For Beating Presentation Anxiety

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As a truly spazzy stage fright sufferer, I deeply emphasize with nervous clients who are about to make presentations or go on-camera. In the tenth grade, all music and drama students at my school were forced to try out for a production of Annie by singing ‘Tomorrow’ in front of the teacher and a few student adjudicators. My audition ended in wracking on-stage sobs after a mere one or two shaky bars. I was crying so hard that my sniffles and choke-sounds were reverberating in the Suddenly Most Uncomfortable Auditorium In The World. That’s me.

I can travel from 0 to 100 on the anxiety-meter in less than 10 seconds.

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November 28, 2014

Power Pose

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I had my picture taken at the end of July. My photographer, Kim Mallory, is a sensitive woman, so she quickly registered my anxiety, a surging awkwardness that made me feel subtly out of control of my own body’s movements. Kim is good at what she does, so she could deal. By the end of the session, her guidance had me smiling without so much tension that my teeth threatened to rocket out of my face. The portrait above was one of her later shots, taken after I became more relaxed and conversational.

I’ve been mildly dysmorphic since I was little. I’ve acquired the complement of attitudes and habits that mark the lives of mildly dysmorphic people. Fortunately, a combination of mindfulness training and lifestyle habits that reinforce healthy psychology has helped me to manage my tendency towards morbid perfectionism. But on occasion I do feel a twinge of it. Sitting for a professional photograph is one such occasion, I guess.

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August 21, 2014