Building a Trustworthy Brand: It’s Persona(L)

When it comes to developing your personal branding, trust needs to be a top priority.

Who needs a personal brand? Everyone.
The good news is, you’re already well on your way.
Whether or not you realize it, you’ve already got a personal brand. People have formed perceptions about you and your business based on your presence, positioning, offerings, and behaviors. But is it the image you want to be portraying? Is it working for you?
Today’s increasingly competitive landscape is forcing brands to take a closer look at themselves and discover fresh, creative ways to earn hard-won trust and to stay relevant.
The people have spoken and they’ve done so with their purchasing power. The mass market has chosen direct contact and more personal connections built on emotion & trust over broadcast marketing and one-size-fits-all offerings. They crave real connection, not faceless transactions.
Trusted, mighty brands are built around a framework of authenticity. Infusing your personality into your brand supplies it with the emotional resonance and response you need to stay ahead of the game and stand out in a today’s over-crowded marketplace.
I call this Persona(l) Branding. It’s about putting the persona in personal as you build your matchless individualism into your brand.

So how do you use your persona(l) brand to develop a trustworthy business?


9 Keys to Building a Trustworthy Brand


1. Genuinity

That’s a term I made up awhile ago to fill a Dictionary void. I was never able to identify just the right word to describe the act of engaging in unadulterated authenticity. But now, there it is.
Each of us comes into this life with a set of intrinsic gifts. Along the way, events and experiences shape our perceptions. This unique combination of circumstances are part and parcel of our mission. And they comprise our most valuable asset — our own, one of a kind persona.

2. Confidence

True confidence is born of authenticity. You know it, customers know it. You just can’t fake originality. Confident brands have a subtle, yet distinct swagger. They know what they do and how to do it well.
Work to maintain a healthy level of poise that’s proud, not boastful. Everything about your brand should ooze with confidence, because if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will either.

3. Sincerity

Everything you do has an ‘end-game’ result in mind, and your right people know this. While you don’t have to broadcast your agenda, don’t mask or try to divert attention from it, especially when you’re asked directly. It feels disingenuous and makes people give pause. Honesty is always the best policy and the baseline of all truth.
Customers need to know that you genuinely have their best interests at heart. That you care about their results. They need to understand and believe that you aren’t in it for the money or the status, but rather for the real desire to serve. How are you showing concern for your right people?

4. Accountability

Accountability provides instant credibility. When you put your name and face on your brand, not only does it feel more personal, you become culpable. People know they can count on you to live up to your promises and deliver.
Create a communication portal thats as easy to find as it is to use. Your contact information should be displayed prominently on every page of your website, blog and social media. It shouldn’t take people more than a few seconds to figure out how to get in touch with you.
Stay connected. Make yourself available to answer questions, receive compliments, and address criticisms. Unanswered queries run the risk of creating their own assumptions. And they might not be the ones you want out there.

5. Credibility

The greater the longevity, the more stable you appear and the more confident people tend to feel about working with you. But credibility isn’t just the amount of time you’ve been around, it’s about how consistently you’ve adhered to your core values and promises during your tenure as a brand. Reliability and a sense of predictability add a layer of comfort to potential clients. How persistent are you when it comes to living core values?

6. Experience

What do you bring to the table? Consider both your hard skills and your soft skills. Being able to understand and articulate your experience and how it relates to your offerings is paramount when iterating the unique value of your personal brand.

7. Value

Creating value today means something far more than providing a superior product. It also includes the entirety of the experience with the brand. Your business is tethered to the emotional response consumers have when they think about your offerings. Everything you do should be shrouded in quality and excellence, because when it comes to your one, precious brand- only the best will do.

8. Results

Despite what you may have heard, past performance is an indicator of future results. Meet your right people head-on with positivity laced, mutually beneficial offerings that fill a void in the marketplace. Something that addresses their goals and pain-points, offering just the right combination of quality, value and reward.
A proven track record speaks volumes. Producing exquisite results will earn you a long list of happy customers and brand evangelists. In this emotionally driven economy, third party endorsements are far more impactful than your own first party advertisements. You earn these recommendations by having a brand worth bragging about. Sprinkle your brand seeds in the right fields and others will help cultivate them.

9. Referrals

Brands become and stay emotionally relevant when driven by endorsements vs. advertisements. Try as you might, you cannot advertise your way to success. Direct efforts wield their own weight, but to create truly powerful messages that pack a punch, you’ll need some third party endorsements. Some good PR. When a current or former client endorses your work, they’re putting their own name on the line. The confidence they place in the brand tells a story all its own.
Ultimately, a brand is perception, and to a prospective customer, that perception is reality. There’s no better way to be believable than to be who and what you are. Live your truth and the trust will follow. Personal branding is no exception.

What are the pillars of your personal brand? Have you experienced the power of persona? We’d love to hear your story in the comments!



Melissa Bolton

Brand Therapist™ + Copywriter at Melissa Bolton
Melissa is a Brand Therapist®providing neurobranding and conversion copywriting services to solopreneurs and micro-business owners looking to truly connect with their right people. Leaning on proven psychology principles, she helps clients create a brand presence that's not only explicitly unique, but highly memorable. She offers 25 years of extensive sales and marketing experience through her proprietary brand therapy methodologies. You can learn more about her and how she can help you grown your own brand, right here:

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  1. Ale Walsh

    Working on my own can be a little lonely sometimes, but reading some of your posts make me feel like if I had the nicest and most knowledgeable business partner ever….and that’s brilliant! :-). Thanks Melissa!!!

    Big hug from Dublin, Ireland.


  2. Amanda Sue

    I love it!!!! I adore the “genuity” word/definition. I’m working on that right now in my own brand….I had a coach tell me that I should back off of the nerdy/geeky talk in my copy. But I just can’t. It’s who I am. In my natural, everyday, in person speech…there are references to Doctor Who, Firefly, Alphas, Phoenix/Dark Phoenix…you name it. It’s just there. We refer to things as being softer than a Tribble (I know! You’re asking yourself, if that’s even possible!!), or sounding like Darth Vader…you get the drift.

    So here I am now, rocking my colorful wigs or sassy natural hair, chatting about ink & piercings & cosplay & sci-fi, and routing it all back to creativity. lol

    • Melissa

      I think that’s perfect. There’s only one you- so you have to rock it! It’s your very best asset.

  3. Ellen Zimmerman

    You knock me out, Melissa! First, you start with an awesome neologism — I *love* neat neologisms. Genuinity. So cool! (My toddler grandson came up with “notsolutely.” Also a void in the dictionary for that, don’t you think?) And then, you help us see how being truly ourselves is what will resonate with others. You give us permission to be fully who we are. Love it! I saved this post to read at leisure, so I could drink it in. Thanks for being you and for sharing !!!

    • Melissa

      Thanks, Ellen! You’re pretty awesome, yourself 😉

  4. Jennifer wolsey

    This is incredible! “Live your truth and the trust will follow.” Absolutely! Being genuine is priceless and authenticity can’t be bought.. You totally nailed it.

    • Melissa

      Thanks, Jen! Your work is so clearly loaded with authenticity- yet another reason I am always waiting to see what you’re up to next!

  5. Melissa

    Thanks, Karen! I agree wholeheartedly. The online business world has a way of feeling so impersonal sometimes. The virtual environment leaves customers feeling skittish about who they can trust & with so much competition, brands have to do more to stand out. The best thing we have to offer is our authenticity. It’s one of the only things we can do that no one else can~ capitalize on it and build a mighty business that emits a sense of trust and confidence. It’s a beautiful thing. xo

  6. karen

    Great post Melissa! I have to remember these great points since there are so many others who are doing the same exact thing as you, me, us… It can get distracting and discouraging at times but there is only one YOU. Also, Copycats can’t never be YOU. They are diluted, poor step-down version of YOU and if you stay true to yourself, no one can come close. I gotta remember these 9 points. Thx Melissa!

  7. Justnothertiredmommy

    Although I don’t have a “brand” to speak of at this time, I found all of the author’s points to be helpful in other aspects of life and look forward to getting my act together so that I can utilize the services that both you and she have to offer people like me. After reading this, I feel motivated and capable–thank you!

    • Melissa

      Thank you, always!


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