This post is based on a gem from Naval Ravikant. More about Naval here:

Building a strong and recognisable brand is essential. When looking towards this process, it’s easy to identify existing strategies that have been rehearsed and proven to be quite effective, but if everyone were to employ similar ideas, why is it some businesses stand out from the rest?

You have probably experienced this yourself, working through the process of establishing your presence across different channels, analysing competitors, developing an identity… then perhaps wondering, what really separates you from the others in the field, why would customers choose you time after time, what makes them want to keep coming back?

The key

The answer is you. Your identity, is intertwined with your business identity, your values permeate through to become your business values. The “secret” ingredient: Authenticity.

If you want to be rewarded, you have to be irreplaceable. If you want to be irreplaceable, you have to be unique. If you want to be unique, you have to be authentic. If you want to be authentic, stop listening to everyone and everything else. It’s drowning “you” out.

Naval Ravikant

Advantages of authenticity:

  • More credibility builds a strong brand image, which fosters loyalty
  • When your values align with customer values you establish a strong emotional bond, leading customers to be emotionally invested in the brand
  • You set yourself apart from competitors who may prioritise short-term gains

A lesson from the past

Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks, exemplifies how authenticity can lead to business success.

  • Schultz promoted community engagement by encouraging local events and charity partnerships within Starbucks stores. This not only connected Starbucks to its local communities but also made each store feel like a community hub.
  • He encouraged a customer-centric approach among employees, emphasising the importance of friendly and personalised service. This created a welcoming atmosphere where customers felt valued and appreciated
  • Schultz’s emphasis on quality coffee and beverages ensured that customers knew they could rely on Starbucks for a consistent and enjoyable experience at any location

Schultz’s dedication to quality and community was a major driving force in ultimately making Starbucks a worldwide success story.

Test yourself

So is it as simple as just being your true self? Not quite.

Some questions to consider:

  • Do you have a mission that you are passionate about and committed to? Remember these are reflected in your actions, not just your words
  • How important has community been to you?
  • What are the top 3 values, you are not willing to give up?


Think about the questions above and consider where you can better integrate yourself, and you will soon find this will be reflected in your business. Authenticity is about who you are, how you connect with others and what you stand for.