Heather Pinay is a branding expert focused on empowering others in their business development, marketing, and self-care. After founding Authentically (Authentically: Business & Life Solutions) in 2016, she has transformed businesses – no matter the budget – with her achievable, human-centered approach and digital dexterity.
A legacy of entrepreneurship, Heather owned her first business at 15. She paved her way through university graduating with distinction in 2010 to blogging, building businesses, and studying branding and graphic design as a freelance designer and strategist. In 2015 Heather lead the Hillberg & Berk marketing team in building their blog H&B Life and since that time has transformed and crafted brand experiences for over 40 independent businesses and not for profit organisations.
Heather’s no-nonsense keynote is inspirational and motivating. Her comedic approach is a sucker-punch to what you thought you knew about business and consumers. Her understanding of human connection and how we learn and absorb information will bring light to what’s holding you back from success and provide ideas on how to rise up and take charge.
Recognised by her writing and grit, Heather was invited to the exclusive Forbes Coaches Council in 2016. Which made her the first person and the only woman in Saskatchewan on a Forbes Council. She celebrates this success a Mother, and a Metis woman in business.
Women often find a dichotomy between self-perception and societal pressure. An internal tug-of-war ensues. “Be thin,” “be curvy.” “Be gentle and demure,” “Lead the office like a bulldog.” “Be sexy,” “Don’t cheapen yourself.” The reality is that society doesn’t know what it wants from us so it is up to you to decide what do you want for yourself and also how you want others to feel around you.
We can often get so caught up in developing a plastic personal brand that will appease the masses. When we chase approval from others we can lose sight of ourselves and this benefits no one. It is a losing game. I believe so strongly that if you learn to be yourself – and the best version of yourself you can win over more clients, more boardroom debates – and find greater happiness.
Neuroscience, the study of the physical brain and psychology, backs this idea up. We all have an element in the brain called the Limbic System. The Limbic System is responsible for human connection. This part of our brain wants us to find our tribe and is always asking: “do I belong?” Brands that make a difference make a limbic connection with their clients – humanizing themselves with vulnerability and honesty.
I want to challenge you to grab a notepad and answer the following questions in developing your brand.
1. How do I want people to feel around me?
An atypical way to begin. Starting with, others brings empathy into our lense. Do you want others to feel heard, accepted, and welcome to share their opinions? In turn this will create an oxytocin release where they bond with you. Think carefully about this one.
2. What Impact do you want to have on others’ lives?
As cliché as it sounds, when you throw a pebble in a pond it leaves a ripple effect that reaches the edges of the water. When we meet others – each of our actions has a reaction. What is the legacy that you want to leave?
3. What story do you want to tell with the way you behave?
Branding is about storytelling and now more than ever about making connections with audiences. Our behaviours and reactions or responses to questions, ideas, problems – tells our story. When you leave the room, what will people say about your character?
4. What story do you want to tell with the way you look?
When we dress ourselves for our brands it is not about superficiality – it is about storytelling and putting your best foot forward. If you feel good about the way you look you will be able to tell a stronger, more confident story. You will be less likely to be held back by the fear of other’s perceptions and more focused on your message.
5. What is quirky about you?
Come on. We are all weirdos in one way or another. “Let your freak flag fly” and embrace what makes you unique. If you don’t – that side of you will fight you until she reveals herself. This is actually really important because it gives you edge and humanizes you. It is not about “exposing yourself” it is about vulnerability and limbic connections. Think about the mommy blogger that can’t keep her house clean. Find you and be that. You’ll attract more of the clients you’re looking for and less of the ones who drive you nuts.
6. How can you show yourself honour?
You are beautiful. You are powerful. You are worthy. If you don’t love and honour yourself it is harder to focus on your career and lifting others up. What can you do today to honour yourself? How about in your brand?
When you can accept yourself in your individuality you can carve out a brand message that leaves a lasting impression on your audience in an authentic way. When we put ourselves down with negative self-talk, get focused on image rather than connection, and clothe ourselves with an image that doesn’t reflect our inner gold we do ourselves – and those around us – a great disservice. If you want to build a lasting personal brand I would encourage you to get comfortable with who you are, expand your presence, and enjoy life and those around you.
Heather Pinay, for the EVE webmagazine.