I must give you a disclaimer before you start reading this post. I’ve never read the book, and I’ve never seen the movie. What I know about the movie is that it’s about shades of gray. The phrase ‘shades of gray’ means what you think it means. It means something has a lot of different aspects to whatever it is.

Branding is something that’s complex and has a lot of various aspects. A lot of business owners hear the term “branding” and think it means their logo and color scheme, but there’s so much more than that!

With all the branding strategists, coaches and bloggers out in the world of the internet, it’s just not clear what is right and wrong about branding and what exactly it means. Everyone has their ideas. That’s why branding is the 51st shade of gray, my friends. There are a lot of shades of gray in business. Some business owners think there’s only one way to do things, but there are a million and one ways for us to reach the same result if you’re interested in being creative.

Here’s why branding, specifically, is the 51st shade of gray.

It’s a myth that you need to put all of yourself out there to create a personal brand. Some people hear the idea of using your personality in your brand or read things on this blog and think, “OMG Carrie! I can’t write about my personal life on my blog!” There are so many amazing ways to share personal aspects of yourself without letting everyone know things you want to keep secret. Your clients, readers, and customers just want to know a little bit more about who they follow. They are wondering if you read the same books, are into the same tv shows, or have some of the same life experiences and struggles. You can share all those things without making yourself super vulnerable. But here’s the shade of gray. Vulnerability is one of the things that connects us and builds trust the most as humans. I encourage all of you to find a way to be vulnerable, let people in, but still keep some aspects of your life to yourself. It absolutely can be done. I have plans that if I ever decide to procreate, I wouldn’t share anything about being pregnant with anyone who doesn’t know and sees me in real life. It’s none of their business if my body is producing another human and I have zero intention of letting people know until a tiny person is born. Don’t worry; I’m not pregnant. I know, you’re thinking about how you’ll miss out on all my public bathroom mirror selfies with a hand on my belly. You won’t be missing out on much. Some things are private, and you’re welcome to keep those things to yourself. Each of us may choose to share our lives in different ways, and that’s okay. Just because one famous blogger is sharing all the details about building her brand new custom house, doesn’t mean you have to. You get to be known for your own thing and being your own person. That’s the core of ROCK YOUR WEIRD.

Personal branding is a trend that probably won’t pass for a long time. If you’ve been waiting to inject your personality into your business for whatever reason, because you love a formal exterior, or you want to seem like a professional, just think again. Using your personality in your brand can be an asset if you use the right parts. What’s interesting about us younger generations who grew up with social media at some point in our younger lives or into early adulthood, is that we’re a lot more interested in companies and brands that inject a little bit of personality in them. This generation doesn’t simply want to invest in a high-quality product and excellent customer service. This generation wants to invest in the people behind the company. The more you let those people in, the more you’re rewarded with trust and referrals in many cases. Unfortunately for those of us in the blogging world or creatives online, it’s hard to keep a personal brand separate from a business brand, and it’s wiser to merge it into one brand in a way that suits you best. How does that work? I don’t know. It’ll be different for everyone. Hence, why it’s a shade of gray.

There is no one right formula to creating a brand. It’s a journey with many different paths that all lead to the same conclusion. You have to decide for yourself how that road looks. Take information from other resources and figure out what works and what doesn’t work for you. Create your own boundaries and limitations. Then, whatever those are, OWN the crap out of them.

Branding is a vague thing to figure out. When I was in your shoes, it took me a lot of reading and a lot of testing before it became crystal clear what I needed to do to make brands that worked for me. A brand is something that has to feel right on the inside for you, even if it doesn’t look right on the outside to everyone else. How’s that for a shade of gray?

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