I’ve been teaching authors for many years about the importance of branding. Of determining what message God has planted inside you that permeates everything you write about.
There are specific strategies for discovering your brand and your tag line. You can’t just say you’re “America’s Favorite Counselor” and that makes it your brand. Just because you proclaim it doesn’t make it so. It has to be how others feel about you. What resonates in their heart when you speak or write and they experience your passion.
HOW TO BUILD AN AUTHENTIC PERSONAL BRAND
I’ve taught about effective branding, and how your brand, tagline, image, etc., should be consistent with who you are and what you stand for, and it should be an intentional thing that you work at to establish.
But I admit it. I didn’t really follow my own advice when I started my radio show on KSLR in San Antonio, Texas.
God graciously gave me the name of the show and the tagline… Always Faithful: Affirming the Faithfulness of God, and then brought me an incredible graphic designer to help me find just the right font, colors, look.
As the show launched and I continued to process my journey of healing in an authentic way and on a highly visible platform, the foundation of looking for the faithfulness of God in every situation was laid.
What evolved from that foundation over the next 12 months was yet another testimony to God’s faithfulness. As He spoke to me, over and over and over again, the words from Psalm 46:10a…Be still and know that I AM God… He also offered His own exclamation mark in the form of visual reminders, the most prominent being benches.
BENCHES, BENCHES, BENCHES — GOD IS EVERYWHERE
Every day I would go for a walk and worship God in the sunshine of Texas, and it seemed as though there were benches everywhere I looked. It took my breath away… almost like I’d been blind to it and then all of a sudden, I saw them everywhere I turn.
So I did what came naturally. I took a picture with my iPhone…every bench I saw and liked, I snapped a shot of. Whatever scripture God was speaking to me that day, I would post with a picture of a bench. Often I would have people comment on the timeliness of the scripture and the encouragement the photo held…scriptures and benches, scriptures and benches, scriptures and benches.
Benches were my constant reminders of His still, small voice inside my heart, beckoning me to slow down, sit and ponder His love and faithfulness.
Pretty soon, Facebook friends from all around the world would post pictures of benches on my page saying “Athena Dean Holtz, every time I see a bench I think of you, think of God, and then spend some time with Him!” Others would find themselves somewhere and see a bench…take a photo and text it to me. What an encouragement that was to me…that this crazy way God was working in my life was touching others, and whispering to them, “Be still…” And all with that simple image of a bench.
Now if that isn’t branding, I don’t know what is! But did I intentionally set out to brand myself as the bench lady who encourages people to slow down, be still, and think about God’s faithfulness? No way. But God was…very intentional!
He knew that image would speak to so many, in a very profound way, even if I didn’t.