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I’m a huge proponent of being yourself as part of your brand for your business. Authenticity and truth need to be at the core of what you say and do. It doesn’t matter if what you say is hurtful or controversial, there are still people who will love your brand if you hurt people’s feelings, look at Howard Stern, Donald Trump or Simon Cowell. The problem for a brand happens when you appear inauthentic because there’s no CONSISTENCY in your actions. That’s what got Paula Deen into this huge financial mess that has all her big corporate sponsors backing off.
In Jim Joseph’s article in the Entrepreneur magazine, he makes these very valid points:

We can learn from this unfortunate example. First of all, understand who you are as a brand. Be clear about your intentions and your beliefs, and align them with your marketing activity.
Secondly, make sure that your beliefs and behaviors align with your customers as well, to avoid any disconnect like we are witnessing with Paula Deen. While some fans have risen to defend her, for the most part, her actions are fortunately out of line with her broader following.
Lastly, a big part of sincerity is consistency, allowing people to trust that you’ll always behave a certain way. These are human qualities that go a long way toward building a brand. The better people know you, the more they will trust and depend on you.
via Lessons from Paula Deen: How What You Say Can Damage Your Brand.

So, yes–it’s ok to be you. Even if that you is racist or hateful. From a brand standpoint that is. Just make sure that you’re ALWAYS the same you. Your brand will thank you for it.
Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

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