Authenticity is perhaps the most important concept in personal branding for luxury real estate marketing professionals. Without authenticity, you live in a masquerade. What is at stake if you forego authenticity? Quite simply, it is your own happiness.

Recently, Andre Agassi published an autobiography in which he admitted to be caught up in a masquerade.  He was forced by his father, who recognized his extraordinary talent, to become a champion in a game that Agassi would come to hate.  In his recent TV interview it was obvious that he suffered a life of quiet desperation during the time when his brand was perceived as being the “rock star of tennis”.  Canon, the camera company, capitalized on his brand image of being a rebel (which was the brand name of one of their models).

Reactions have been mixed from his contemporaries and fans.  Resentments have been expressed by some.  At the root of these resentments is the feeling of having been duped by Agassi’s charade. 

Many people might say that this is a sign of the times. But, there is a deeper lesson to be learned, which is what Agassi, the staunch supporter of education, is now trying to tell the world.  That is, there may be much to gain by living a fake existence, but in the long run it is your own happiness itself that is at stake.

As brand strategists, it is our job to assist our clients to drill down to their core identity, identify what is truly important to them, what they stand for, what their genuine values are, not the values of others. Only then can you make explicit, in the form of a graphic representation and a genuine marketing message, the authentic personal brand. 

We ask our clients what they can do better than anyone else in their marketplace. But, they also must be truly passionate about doing it. An authentic pursuit cannot be one based on seeking the admiration of one’s father or the crowd at large.

It was only when Agassi admitted to himself that he was caught up in a masquerade that he shaved his head and discontinued wearing a wig (his mask).  He chose tennis on his own terms and became passionate about the game.  No one can minimize his extraordinary accomplishments. But, the best accomplishment of all was choosing an authentic life.

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