In this recap series of The Future Is Female conference 2017, we dive into one of the panels, How To Keep Your Personal Brand Authentic In The Digital World. 

  1. Humanise your brand to connect with your audience
  2. Always ensure your brand is relatable
  3. Stay true to yourself as much as possible both online and offline.
  4. Localise your way of connecting with your demography based on the different types of audiences and platforms

These are the four major takeaways from the panellists. Equipped with successful businesses and awards, the panellists were open about their personal experiences and advice.

Humanise Your Brand

“Tell your story from a personal point of view to engage best with your audience. It is all about the human-to-human connection whether online or offline and marketing your brand the way you want to be marketed to is important,” Khoo Yin, Senior Vice President of FleishmanHillard pointed out.

How to Keep Your Brand Authentic in the Digital World ~TFIF 2017 SeriesPauline Ng, Founder of Porcelain, The Face Spa agreed wholeheartedly with the importance of humanising the brand. She explained that she formulated her marketing strategy by thinking about the brand as a person.

“Who is Porcelain? What are the things that Porcelain goes through in a typical day? What might interest Porcelain?

How would Porcelain as a human speak? It helped us connect with the audiences in our target market, and also allowed us to manage our consistency in tone and images. When you’re consistent and authentic in your branding, you won’t get caught contradicting yourself and lose the trust your audience has in your brand.”

Rachel Lim of Love, Bonito added that it is important to caption social media posts and ensure that they are realistic. At the end of the day, people connect to a brand that is real. She shared that constant perfect images and caption can make audiences feel disconnected.

How to Keep Your Brand Authentic in the Digital World ~TFIF 2017 Series
“We asked how we can help, and share how you can incorporate current trends into your wardrobe”
Be Relatable

Love, Bonito, knew right from the start that they wanted to be a relatable brand. They wanted to use the language of everyday female and provide good quality pieces that were timeless yet trendy.

They make it their goal to constantly engage their customers by having conversations and listening to their customers’ interests. Adopting an engaging tone, they do not pose themselves as instructors.

“We don’t tell you how you should dress up, and how your wardrobe should look like. We ask how we can help, we suggest how to incorporate current trends into our consumers’ wardrobes. People are already very discerning on whether you’re true to helping to elevate their wardrobe or trying to push your product at all costs.”

Carol Chen, founder of Covetella, can relate to how a great dress can improve someone’s confidence. She was a shy tomboy when she younger. However, she felt beautiful whenever she wears a gown or dress.

Moving to Singapore, Carol left behind a large and beautiful wardrobe of designer clothes and gowns, many of which she designed herself as a former fashion designer. Despite this, she continues to receive compliments on her style whenever she attends social events.

Her friends started to ask if they could borrow her clothes and it led to her discovery of this untapped market. She realised that she can help other women to feel beautiful and make a profit from renting our her clothes instead of stashing them in a wardrobe.

Thus, Covetella was born. Covetella allows women to rent dresses for special occasions and loan out their designer dresses to recoup the costs of their purchases. Additionally, Carol also provides styling advice to those who need the extra help to pull a look together.

Being True Online and Offline

Clients come to Porcelain to seek help with their skin and entrust their faces into the hands of Porcelain’s skincare experts. Therefore all staff make it a priority to be updated with the latest teachings and technology about skincare.

“We’re one of the first skincare companies to start sharing bite-sized information on how to take care of your skin at home. Information is free for all, but by customising the information it generated goodwill and trust in Porcelain.

When clients come for the first time, we then share a personalised information with our clients that we make face to face. We let them know why their skin is as such, what can be done to combat the skin problems at home, and how Porcelain can help. We don’t hard sell our services, but we want to earn your trust.”

How to Keep Your Brand Authentic in the Digital World ~TFIF 2017 Series
Pauline shared on how bite-sized information on social media creates goodwill and a positive online connection.

Khoo Yin also reminded the audience the importance of fully embracing what the brand preaches online in real life.

“As Rachel mentioned, people are very discerning and one simple change in your direction can lead to a disconnect and a loss of supporters. Be clear on what your brand is all about and ensure your staff and yourself project it clearly when meeting up with clients face to face.”

Localize Your Way of Connecting

While there are many tips and tricks available online backed by research on marketing, these should not be taken wholesale, reminded Pauline. She advises everyone to localise the way of marketing as the consumption of information can be different in Asia and these tips and tricks tend to be catered more to the United States.

Carol also shared the trick of using different types of social media to reflect different aspects of her business and herself and connect with audiences of different wants. For Instagram, she realised that over time it was better to curate it into a fashion feed filled with featured dresses and her outfit of the day because of the user interface of the application. That way, the look of her Instagram page is consistent and not messy.

Her Facebook page embraces a more wholesome profile of her business and her identity, from the personal struggles she faced to set up her physical shop space, what she does day to day as an entrepreneur, and all the non-glamourous side of her business. She is also an advocator of pursuing her dreams, which she often reminds her friends on Facebook.

Carol also keeps a blog where she posts her serious thoughts, mullings and setbacks so that her supporters can connect with her at an even deeper level. She shared how someone recently commented on her blog that the person had thought how she had such an easy life because she was always so positive and the life of the party but realise that she was just as human as the next person, full of challenges, heartbreak and bad days.

How to Keep Your Brand Authentic in the Digital World ~TFIF 2017 Series
Carol utilises different social media to show different aspects of her and about her life.

The panel discussion ended with a focus on the importance of having a set of personal values to guide yourself through hard times, and to keep the authenticity of the brand in check.

“There are humans behind a brand. You can lead a private personal social media profile but don’t forget to draw up a set of values for your brand that aligns with your personal values. It makes branding much easier on all platforms, and let your voice be consistent,” concluded Khoo Yin.

Edited by Joanne Ng

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Founder @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is the Advisor (former CEO) of The New Savvy. She is currently the COO of ABZD Capital and the CMO of Gourmet Food Holdings, an investment firm focusing on opportunities in the global F&B industry. She is part of the founding committee of the Singapore FinTech Association and heads the Women In FinTech and Partnership Committee. Anna is the President of the Singapore Management University Women Alumni. Anna invests and sits on the board of a few startups. Anna is also part of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Career Women’s Group executive committee. Anna’s story is featured on Millionaire Minds on Channel NewsAsia. She hosts TV shows and events, namely for Channel NewsAsia’s “The Millennial Investor” and “Challenge Tomorrow”, a FinTech documentary. Anna was awarded “Her Times Youth Award” at the Rising50 Women Empowerment Gala, organised by the Indonesian Embassy of Singapore. The award was presented by His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya. She was also awarded Founder of the Year for ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards. She was also awarded the Women Empowerment Award by the Asian Business & Social Forum. Anna has been awarded LinkedIn Power Profiles for founders (2018, 2017), Tatler Gen T, The Peak’s Trailblazers under 40 and a nominee for the Women of The Future award by Aviva