Before We Believe You

Behind the mask

We buy products and services every day.

Some we need, some we don’t. But we’ve heard good things about them so we buy them.

Who have we heard good things from?

Our friends. Our family. Our colleagues.

People we trust.

Why do we trust them? Because they’re not a mystery to us.

They don’t wear masks. They don’t hide behind veils. They don’t try and fool us with trickery.

They simply are.

You’re in business. You have a blog. You have a podcast. You want to be popular. You want people to like you; connect with you; follow you.

You want people to trust you.

We will. Just don’t wear a mask. Be yourself. Be true. Be honest.

We know you need to occasionally have your professional head on. Your business head. But does that mean you need to trick us? Does it mean you need to be the person you’re not, the business you’re not, the people we’re not?


So wear the mask, but make it transparent. Wear the hat but make it your own. Pull the veil down but let us know it’s still you underneath. Make us trust you. Let us know who you are and that it’s you each time we talk.

That’s the way you’ll get our business. Our eyes on your blog. Our acceptance on Twitter. Our recommendations to our friends.

If you want us to believe, then make us believe in you. It’s not that hard.

Is it?


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Blog consulting with Danny Brown

Enjoy this post? Share your thoughts below:


  1. says

    I should probably wear a mask, shouldn’t I? Both personally, professionally and literally.

    It’s funny. I’ve “allowed” myself to be more “me” in my professional life. I wasn’t exactly sure how that would go over, as I’m not exactly likable, but so far it’s paying off.

  2. says

    What your saying is spot on. People who I connect with me say it’s because I wear my real life on my virtual sleeve.

    I want people to buy my stuff, it’s not a secret. First they need to know who I am and trust me.

    So I talk about myself and family. Put up pictures from my life and use topics inspired by my life.

    Thanks for the post and people don’t be afraid open those window into your life.

  3. says

    You nailed it, Danny!!

    The first thing I learned when starting to blog was that influence is everything in this industry. And influence only comes when people feel like they can trust you.

    It’s all about People Skills 101 really. If a person met another individual in person, they wouldn’t have an image (or in the case of Twitter, an egg) in front of their face masking who they really are, so why do people online feel the need to do so, is completely beyond me.

    While I don’t have any stuff to sell at the moment, I do know that one day I will; and it’s just as important now to build that relationship with people as it would be if I had a product. People tend to remember the smallest things about other people. The wrong thing sticks out just as the right thing does; they both stick out like a sore thumb!

    I’m so glad that I decided early on to be and to show the real me, no exceptions and no apologies. I don’t hide one aspect of my life from anyone I meet, physically or cyberly. I think it’s actually even more important to do so in the cyber world, since images and realness is all we have to go by. It’s quite elementary… or at least it should be.

    Great post though, man! Thanks for uncovering the veil on this. Loved the image too, btw! 😀

    • says

      Haha, love the example of the Twitter egg, mate – can you imagine that? Might be a great fancy dress costume, mind you! 😉

      Great point about trust, and consistent trust. There’s always the danger that trust (once earned) can be broken.

      I’ve seen it happen so many times, and the fall-out lasts far longer than a crappy start. At lesst with a crappy start, you can often get a second chance.

      Break someone’s trust in you, though, and that’s a very hard thing to get back, if ever.

      Have a great weekend, mate.

  4. says


    The authentic voice is has rhythm. I’ve always believed it’s that rhythm that people connect with. When you’re in super business mode you lose that authentic voice rhythm (unless you’re extremely good which most of are aren’t or your authentic voice is super business mode) and the connection is lost. You because just information on a page.

    That might sound very theoretical academic but I think it’s an important concept.

    Love the post… Have a great weekend bro.

    Ryan H.

    • says

      LOVE the example of rhythm, mate. When you think about it, no matter how technologically advanced we get, we will always fall back on the heartbeat of something, whether that’s people, business or similar.

      And there’s no more powerful rhythm than the beat of a human being.

      Cheers, mate!

  5. says

    I was in a conversation about this yesterday on Google+ We were all in agreement that being yourself is crucial but as one person said (a Buddhist teacher I hasten to add!), which I thought was both hilarious and spot on:

    “Be yourself, just don’t be yourself at your twatiest”

    I’m hoping that the translation from a conversation between 3 Brits isn’t offensive to anybody! If it is delete it Danny and I apologize.

  6. says

    ‘Twatiest’ now that is a word right up there with ‘asshat!’ and I have not heard it in a long time!!
    Point being there are a lot of people online that hid the fact that they are twats!

    I don’t think many of them would care to show up here, as they would soon be outed for that.

    The point you make is striking in its necessity to be stated and yet it needs to be stated. I am tired of some of the sheer nonsense that people try to pass of on the electric dancefloor.

    I always come back to Tim Sanders book ‘The Likeability Factor’ and it relevance today. I vote yes for more of this, so thanks Danny Brown.

    • says

      You know, I’ve had that book in my library for a very long time, mate, and still haven’t read it.

      Thanks for the reminder, and here’s to asshats continuing to get things wrong so the rest of us get things right. :)

  7. says

    Trust is really hard to earn in business. And really easy to torch.

    It is also why even though I keep seeing this stuff that we trust our social networks so much…but when I investigate reality we tend to trust

    Our friends. Our family. Our colleagues. who we know in person.
    And those in our social network that have let the veil slip so we know who they are.

    Sadly with business especially brands …especially BIG BRANDS…we have no idea often if they are likeable vs them making stuff we like. But if you can truly be likeable and trustable it goes a long way.

    I am sure Gini and Shonali would agree that trusted and likable companies tend to be more truthful when something wrong happens.

    • says

      It’s funny, yet so true mate – very often we determine where our trust will go based on how a bad situation is handled.

      Show humility and accept responsibility, and you’ll go a long way. Show disdain and “It’s someone else’s fault” – well, good luck with that… 😉

  8. says

    G’Day Danny,
    I fully agree with this “Be yourself” stuff. It was first popularised by Bill Gove way back in the 1950s.

    I’m not sure if this little story is germaine. But I’ll be myself and tell it anyway.

    You may have heard of an entertainer called Michael Feinstein. Michael specialises in the music of what’s sometimes called “The Great American Songbook” The songs and music of the 30s, 40s and 50s.

    I once heard an interviewer ask him, “Why don’t they write songs like that any more?” He didn’t hesitate. “They don’t need to” said Michael. “There’s thousands and thousands of those songs out there already.”

    Unless you really are “the next Cole Porter,”………’ll be as useful as the “next Babe Ruth.”

    Just have fun.


    • says

      So true, Leon. I think I once read that all songs are based off the same three chords – it’s just what you do around these chords that’s different.

      Will have to check this Bill Gove fella out, sounds interesting.

      Cheers, sir!

  9. says

    No, it isn’t. Be true, be honest, be yourself. And don’t be someone who just wants my money. 😉

    Seriously those three words summarize everything that needs to be said about being a nice person. Great post Danny, have a great weekend!

  10. says

    Without trust, there is no TRIP; only RIP. #clever

    For those who’ve not read Dov Seidman’s book, “How” (which I highly, HIGHLY recommend) TRIP stands for Trust, Risk, Innovation, Progress. If we can’t trust others to support us when we take risks, we’re less likely to discover innovation, which is the foundation of progress.

    How do we engender trust with our customers? Simple. Make promises. Keep them. Fewer goals. More commitments.

  11. says

    Just be you the rest will follow, especially if you become a trend – they understand those now.

    Seriously though the best advice comes from Dr Suess:

    Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

    Surrealism as a child is fun as an adult it becomes pretentious. Drop that and have fun at work like you do at home or did when a kid, being real, being you kicks all doors down. Think most people know the MC5 song Kick out the Jams song if not catch it here:

    Whatever you do be you not me or anyone else, it’s the way forward. Simple reality inside and out :)

    • says

      You know, it’s funny mate – I never knew who Dr. Seuss was prior to moving to Canada, and then once I started reading his stuff, was amazed at how on the money he was. Sometimes we really just need the simple approach, eh?

  12. says

    Hi Danny,

    I absolutely agree with everything you just said, but I have a question. I personally don’t like it when companies hide behind logos and images of the business as their profile pics / avatars in social media. To me, that’s like hiding behind a mask, but I understand that it’s not… what is important is how you behave and that you build trust in being you and building strong relationships… I’d love to see a real human when it comes to businesses and social media.

    • says

      Yeah, that can be a funny one, mate. I’m a big fan of having the person primarily, and then the logo as a swish or bottom banner. But, I guess the bigger the brand the less the need for faces? Or so it would see, anyhoo.

  13. says

    Quite a wonderful post to be reading on a weekend! We should be knowing that how much we may lie to others, we can’t lie to ourselves! :) And once you are honest and believe in yourself, others shall follow!

  14. says

    Great post, Danny. There are some people that definitely deserve to see the mask. Some don’t. All depends on judgement, which really is not an easy think to learn. Thanks for the great post!

  15. Aaron Andrews says

    Nice post Danny! This is an area where I need to improve on some times I pull myself back a lot fearing that what I’m saying will offend somebody and in the process I feel like I am not being myself. I want people to see who I am on my social networks, I have not been transparent while wearing my mask.

    • says

      You know, mate, I was the same for a long time. But then I realized two things – if people are offended by something I say or write, then we probably weren’t a good mix to start with.

      And, more importantly, if it passes muster with my wife and children, then that’s all that really matters at the end of the day. :)

  16. says

    G’Day Danny,
    suggest you google “Bill Gove” you’ll find lots of stuff about him.

    In 1954 he gave an address called “Billy Be Yourself” It’s what he says he would tell his four tear old son should he want to become a master salesman. Worth a look mate.
    Best Wishes

  17. Dillon Slattery says

    I have got to agree with you. When you are yourself around people most of the time the interaction will be a pleasant one. Although there are always situations where you have to curb some of your less professional thoughts and actions, it is always the best to just say what you want to not what you feel they want to hear. I have been in the situation of the person saying what you think they want to hear and it didn’t go nearly as smooth as when I said what I really wanted. Being yourself is always the best both professionally and personally.

    • says

      The great thing about actually being yourself is people know exactly what they’re going to get with you. And that simply saves time on both ends, to decide if there’s going to be a synergy for working together.

  18. says

    I was raised in a home where “liar” wasn’t in our vocabulary, we didn’t need it because we didn’t do it. I am so thankful to my mother for letting me realize how important it is to be your true self to everyone you come across. Yes, of course it is important to be more professional in certain situations but to simply be an authentic person is vital. I believe strongly in authenticism. If you are comfortable enough with who you are and what you stand for then there is no reason to hide behind a mask. I love this post because I am passionate about it!

  19. says

    Hey Danny, Loved your this post also! I think you have made a very valid point. I think for any successful business venture it is must to have a ‘Trust’ factor with all your buyers and Users. I have added this section in my best selling book also.

  20. says

    this is a very interesting blog. Trust is harder and harder to come by these day not only within people but within companies too. Who wants our bujsines and who wants to reveal themselves from the unknown and get public with their cutomers? I like the idea of people revealing themselves, having different “hats” for different styles of your buisness, is nice. Good idea.

  21. says

    Thanks for this post – I need to figure out HOW to do that. As technical support, I am trying to answer questions and provide helpful advice… but share pics of me – or my kids? First – WHY? Second – WHO CARES? I mean, yes, I want ppl to trust me so they will have a relationship – all my sales comes from people who have spoken to me on the phone and ‘like’ me (not on FB, but for real). How do I volunteer that kind of stuff on my website? I *am* myself, but just not sure how to make *me* relate to my *profession*. THoughts?

  22. says

    Hey Danny, this is the first time I’ve come across your blog and I’m happy to say that I couldn’t agree more with this post. I just wrote a similar article discussing the value of personality in blogging. I’m tired of bloggers hiding behind marketing hype. If a blogger uses a genuine tone, includes personal images of themselves and backs up their articles with real-life experiences then I’m 1000% more likely to trust (and buy from) them.

    Anyway, you’ve got yourself a new subscriber :).

  23. says

    Indeed, writing from the perspective of an elected city councilor it is imperative a voter believes you and knows you and respects you — and believes you — in whatever order the voter wants, before the voter votes for you.