Some people think branding is all about being liked, about smoothing over your rough edges, about hiding who you really are to win over others. In reality, the opposite is true. Branding is about standing out. The best brands are love-it-or-hate-it scenarios.

Think about the most famous people on the planet — Oprah, Donald Trump, Kim Kardashian, Cardi-B, Elon Musk. How do they make you feel?

Think about the brands you love. Apple? Amazon? Target? Wal-Mart? And then think about those you hate. Apple? Amazon? Target? Wal-Mart? How do they make you feel?

Why do they make you feel that way?

Branding is not about being loved — it’s about being selectively loved. It’s about being loved for being exactly who you are and what you have to offer the world. When you’re flying your unique-only-to-you freak flag, some people are going to love it. Others, well, not so much. And that is exactly the point.

As Inc. magazine recently put it, “If you’re not irritating somebody, you’re not delighting anybody.”

That idea can be scary in the competitive world of voiceover, especially to the perfectionist pleasers among us. Especially to those starting out. Especially to those worrying about working in the time of COVID. Especially to pretty much everyone. It feels counterintuitive.

But fear not. Haters gonna hate.

To be successful, your brand needs to be loved — and hated — by all the right people.

How do you know if you’re on the right track? Ask yourself these 5 questions (and answer them honestly) to uncover what people will love and hate about your brand, and you’ll be onto something:

  1. What are you willing to fight for? This answer tells you what you value most.
  2. What’s your biggest pet peeve — what really gets under your skin? Flip that around and that’s what you believe in.
  3. Why are you the best? In other words, what’s your superpower? You have to brag to have a successful brand. If someone is eye-rolling, that’s good — they’re the opposite of who you want to attract.
  4. What’s the quality about yourself you don’t like? Your flaws make you human and allow you to connect with others.
  5. Who do you want to influence? You don’t need to influence everyone. There’s an adage in the VO biz that it only takes six people to make your career. Zero in on a few.

When you put your values on the line, are honest about what you care about and can’t stand, are willing to brag about your gifts (no matter how unusual), are vulnerable to showing your dark side, and clear about attracting the people you want to attract, you are on your way to a great brand, and a great VO career.

When you use your brand to magnify what makes you your one true amazing, unbelievably unique awesome self, you will attract those who love you for exactly who you are and what you have to offer. The haters, meanwhile, will fade into irrelevance. The haters, after all, are not your tribe. They are not your customer. They do not deserve your attention.

What does deserve your attention? You do! Your brand does. Put your energy in yourself and your brand and there is no stopping you. You got this.

For more brand inspiration, join me on Oct. 3 for my “Finding Your Brand Spark: Creating Your Brand Platform and Brand Story” workshop. Register and find details here. You are one workshop away from gaining the necessary knowledge to help you create an authentic, gutsy brand that gets you the success you want and the life you dream of.