The Power of Vulnerability

What happens when you allow your brand to show its imperfections?

Vulnerability. Marketing.

Two words that tend to be opposites in their intent.

After all, a brand is supposed to be perfect. Every detail considered. Every word managed. So crisp and perfect that it becomes wholly and completely…

Uninteresting.

Unapproachable.

Void of personality.

In personal interactions, vulnerability is the key to building long-term, lasting, meaningful relationships. Once we experience the story underneath the facade, we can actually create meaningful connections. Our imperfections are what make us highly relatable and truly human.

Recently, I told my own personal story at an event with hundreds of business owners, leaders, and entrepreneurs. There, I discussed how a health crisis changed the trajectory of my life, my business, and my purpose. It was both terrifying and enlightening for me.

Terrifying in its delivery. But enlightening in its result.

What followed caught me by surprise. Dozens of people approached me afterward. Because of my own vulnerability, they immediately unleashed theirs. Story after story. Deep conversations about the pivot moments in their lives. And whether it was health, tragedy, or revelation, I bonded with each and every one of them in ways I don’t even bond with neighbors and some friends.

My point? We burrowed beneath the surface of what we’d like to present to one another and we got real. Walls were broken down. Relationships — real ones — were formed.

The same should be said for brands. These aren’t faceless organizations — they are a collection of people. The more we humanize them, the more we open the door for bonding. The more we tell stories of who they really are, the more we solidify and personalize relationships. The more we have real, unfiltered opinions, the more we let someone into our world.

This matters on a person-to-person level. But it also matters on a person-to-organization level. Show them your good. But don’t be afraid to show the messy process, the flaws, the journey. After all, no one believes your perfection. In fact, your perfection makes you untrustworthy.

So don’t be afraid. Step out. Be vulnerable. You’ll be pleasantly shocked at the result.

Photo of Jim Hume.
Jim Hume
Principal

As the principal and founder of Phire Group, Jim works closely with clients to build brands that match an organization’s reason for being with their desire for solutions. Jim started the agency in 2004 with the philosophy of engaging a brand’s community to help shape and recognize its full potential. With more than 20 years in the industry, he’s worked with clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies to startups in consumer goods, healthcare, technology, education, business-to-business, the arts, and more.

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