What Is Your Authentic Brand?

If there is one thing that I love about Atlanta, it’s the exploding tech and startup scene. On any given night of the week, you can find a meetup, lecture, class, or networking event around town. Most nights you have to choose because there are so many events.

Switchyards recently held their fourth edition of Made In Atlanta, and the guest speaker was Kat Cole of Focus Brands. Kat is pretty well known, even appearing on Undercover Boss, The Today Show, and in too many magazine articles to count. You might know some of the properties that the Atlanta-based Focus Brands owns–Cinnabon, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Carvel Ice Cream.

Kat delivered a fantastic talk, and one of the things that she really drove home was being true to your authentic self. For example, keeping the over-indulgent nature of Cinnabon in tact by only licensing out the brand when it makes sense, and keeping Moe’s dine-in experience open and welcoming with the “Welcome to Moe’s!” greeting.

It got me thinking about artists and bands. Who are you? What do you stand for? Are you trying to be on trend, or are you just being your true self? Trends come and go. Flavors of the week are fleeting and temporary. Have you ever heard someone labeled as a “true artist”? Prince was a true artist. Janis Joplin was a true artist. So was Elvis Presley and David Bowie. They couldn’t do anything but be themselves. Their music and art is an extension of their spirit.

Bands, musicians, and artists– take some time to do some internal homework. What do you stand for? What are you trying to tell us? Why should we listen?