Will the Real You Please Stand Up – Kim Garst’s Book Urges You To Be Authentic Or Disappear

Will the Real You Please Stand Up - Kim Garst's book shows you how being authentic can help you reap huge rewards and respect in the crowded marketplace...

“Don’t think you can get away with trying to be something you are not. People can sniff out a fake in a heartbeat today.”

Ahh yes, the leap in the brand-consumer relationship brought about by the social media has finally reversed the power. If a brand treats people as gullible and non-intelligent, fakes its way through the maze that is social media – it can get hurt.

Seriously hurt.

Kim Garst’s book “Will the Real You Please Stand Up” opens with a bang. Gatorade buying Snapple in 1994 and failing massively is a glaring example of  a brand not being authentic, true to the values expected by its market and doing what it promises.

This book shows the huge advantage that can be had by brands if only they decided to practice more of who they are, of honoring their word, and being authentic and sincere.

It provides many interesting examples and gives concrete steps on how anyone, from a personal brand to a large corporation, can use authenticity to thrive in the modern business world.

Who is Kim Garst?

Kim Garst is a true social media superstar.

Voted as the Forbes Top 10 Social Media Women Power Influencer, and with her blog Boom Social voted as one of the top 10 social media blogs in 2014 by Social Media Examiner, she has built up a community of over 500,000 followers across a large number of social media platforms.

As CEO of her company Boom Social she provides great resources, help and services to small and medium-sized businesses. She leaps confidently onto new platforms such as Periscope and quickly develops large followings.

If there’s anyone qualified to talk about winning in social media, then that’s Kim, no doubt.

What is “Will the Real You Please Stand Up” all about?

The book’s main premise is that, as social media has enabled consumers to check brands out in a matter of minutes through websites, word of mouth, reviews and crowd thinking, brands can not fake who they are any more.

The only way for a brand to prosper, from individual bloggers to large multinational corporations, is to figure out who they really are, what they stand for, what their values are, and practice those values openly on display in the markets.

In Kim’s words:

“Are you ready for the shocking part? To be successful, you will need to make only ONE significant change, and you can make that change instantly. Sounds easy, right? It is not. It is the one thing I see businesses of all sizes struggle with. To be wildly successful, you are going to need to check your ego, forget any preconceived notions of how you think social media marketing should be done, and—here is the hard part—commit to being yourself online.”

What is authenticity, you might ask? Seth Godin, the marketing legend, “calls authenticity “doing what you promise,” rather than the vague idea of “being who you are.””

Indeed, the author provides numerous examples of truly authentic brands, such as Apple, Coca-Cola, Harley Davidson and Zappos.

The successful, authentic brands (as Kim explains with numerous examples):

  1. Are just like you (Patagonia’s values align with its audience’s)
  2. Are passionate (Zappos with its amazing customer service)
  3. Connect with and build communities (fascinating and bold example of Ford and its Fiesta campaign)
  4. Understand virality (Dollar Shave Club viral video)

How much the world has changed is apparent from this: “Brands no longer own their message. They can try to control it, but they do not own it. Today, consumers own the message.”

This, you might argue, has single-handedly forced brands to “stop hiding behind their marketing departments” and show their real selves.

There are some scary examples of what happens when virality backfires, such as the live tweeting of mass firing at HMV or a disastrous tweet by the Luton airport after a plane crash, but also quite a hilarious one with JP Morgan Twitter chat!

What I like about “Will the Real You Please Stand Up”

The author boldly undertook to explain what authenticity actually means in today’s jungle that is social media, and does so masterfully.

She explains the principles first, and then shows practical examples of how brands handled or mishandled various aspects discussed in the book. That is worth pure gold, and allows you to learn how to avoid mistakes, or handle them if indeed they happen.

But what I found truly valuable is that she takes all the aspects of great brands that we know and admire, and translates them into 8 actionable steps which anyone – personal brand, small or medium-sized business, or a large corporation – can apply in their daily life and work and reap the huge benefits.

Is there anything that you might not like?

This book will hit the same wavelength with every sane person, businessman or executive. It will make a lot of sense if you are in it for the long haul, if you serve your customers right, if you are truly helpful and run your business with transparency and integrity.

However, the get-rich-quick crowd, the spammers, and the impatient types hiding behind their salesy tweets will be disappointed by the key points this book is trying to communicate.

They will be quite disappointed that the hope of the internet as the great disruptor and social media as the greatest spamming weapon of our times will not result in great profits without any work and authentic relationships.

This books lays bare the fact that social media and the internet are just additional channels for communicating your message, but the classic principles of good business still remain – be useful, respect your audience, be yourself and your business will flourish!

As Kim puts it: “[Inauthentic marketers] try to figure out who and what other people want them to be, and then create a false persona to support their preconceived notion of what that imaginary personality would do. This approach has to be exhausting!”

Exhausting indeed.

Conclusion

If you are an entrepreneur, a blogger, an artist, a businessman or a huge corporation – you can not allow yourself to ignore this book!

This is a must read, as it’s effectively a masterful giant case study written by an author with huge experience acquired throughout the years of developing a large and devoted tribe across all social networks. Having such knowledge in a book like this is a true gem, and you’d be reckless not to read it.

Do yourself a favor – buy this book now, read it, study it and save yourself a potential damaging headache from an inauthentic tweet going viral.

Instead, embrace that what you truly represent and communicate it proudly to the world – it will reward you handsomely for it!

Did you read this book? Share your thoughts.

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