Heather Lloyd-Martin, ACC
What Is Slow Branding — And Why It's Perfect for Gen X Women
Many Gen X women want to build their personal brand and legacy – but they’re juggling competing responsibilities and don’t have much time.
Here’s why slow branding can help women sustainably build their brand and showcase their authentic selves – step-by-step.
If I had to use one word to describe Generation X women between 1965 and 1980, it would be resilient.
As kids, we returned to an empty house, watched the latest ABC Afterschool Special, and fended for ourselves. We didn’t have YouTube to tell us how to do things. We just…figured it out.
We grew up with the mixed messages of “a man will always take care of you” and “you can have it all as a 24-hour woman.” Remember the Enjoli commercial about bringing home the bacon and frying it up in a pan?
Since then, we’ve lost friends and jobs, watched our parents slide into old age, and cared for our children simultaneously – while carrying a disproportionate share of the mental load.
Nobody told us that “having it all” meant doing it all.
At any given moment, Gen X women are dealing with a lot.
Yet, we power through, get it done, and tell everyone that we’re FINE. (We don’t feel like sharing the real story because we should feel “lucky” things aren’t worse.)
And we don’t talk about what we’ve done because we either (1) worry that we’ll sound old when we do or (2) we’ve been conditioned to shut up and let our “work speak for us.”
So when I write newsletter articles encouraging you to “find your hero’s journey” and “get yourself OUT THERE and build your legacy,” I hear the push/pull resistance.
You want to focus on your work, finally be seen, and build your legacy.
You know that defining your personal brand is essential to help people know, like, and trust you – plus understand your unique value.
And that leads to opportunities.
From the Harvard Business Review:
“In high-performing organizations, at certain levels, everyone is exceptional. To clearly differentiate your value and what you bring to the table, you need to do more than have a good reputation. You need to have an outstanding personal brand.
You have the power to define your brand by aligning your intentions with actions. That is, changing your decisions and behaviors to influence how others see you and to help them connect both emotionally and intellectually to the image you hope to portray. If that image aligns with the opportunities you want, then you are more likely to secure them.”
But here’s the challenge.
How do you “define your brand” when you’re sandwiched between generations and don’t even have time to eat a sandwich?
It’s having the space, knowledge, and permission to do it right. Slowly. And without pushing for an outcome.
Enter Slow Branding.
No guilt. No shoulds. Just baby-step progress that helps women find their footing, pull out of invisibility, and claim their expertise – while living a purposeful life.
The term popped into my head while I was (ironically) getting a massage. Other people may have their own definition, but mine is:
“Slow branding aims to tap into your story authentically, slowly uncover your message and audience, reflect on your progress, and gradually produce legacy work that serves multitudes.
Every word you write and video you create is inspired by a need to share and ties back to your core values and connects with your audience – without an obsession to produce content.”
You’re not madly posting on LinkedIn to keep up with the algorithm.
You’re enjoying the content creation process because it’s tapping into your core work.
You share your expertise in an authentic, perfectly you way – whether that’s your LinkedIn profile, an about page, or an expert article.
You develop a sustainable strategy that honors your time and energy levels – and allows flexibility when life throws you a curveball.
Your website and marketing collateral sounds like you because it IS you.
You can successfully and authentically share your knowledge with stakeholders in a way that connects, resonates, and has an impact.
You’re known as THE woman who can do X – because all your branding efforts led to this moment.
You’re doing less to have more.
The term “Slow Marketing” has been around for a while. Content marketing expert Ann Handley said, “We go faster when we slow down.”
Yes. Yes, we do.
So, I’m claiming slow branding for Gen X women. Let’s pull on some comfy yoga pants and talk about it.
I see Slow Branding having four phases:
Fueling your fire: Remembering your story, celebrating your “beyond the resume” successes, and finding your Golden Throughline.
Sharing your story: Showing how your successes, failures, and traumas changed and formed you into the badass you are today.
Wielding your wisdom: Learning how (and on which channels) to share your knowledge in your authentic voice.
Leaving your legacy: Determining what body of work, memories, and knowledge you want to pass along.
There’s no pressure to quickly figure out your brand voice or to jump into a new social platform. Yes, there’s a process and a design – but it’s one you get to control.
I realized that’s exactly what I did with my new business, Charisma Boost. I didn’t call it “Slow Branding,” but I was extremely intentional about digging into my history, clearing past traumas, sharing my why, and finally writing in my authentic fucking voice.
There was a long buildup before launching my site. I often felt things were moving “too slowly.” It was…challenging. Some days I handled the uncertainty better than others.
I don’t do uncertainty well.
(Side note: My husband snorted after reading that line and said, “No, you don’t.” Yeah. I’m a big fan of predictability.)
The long build-up was worth it. I finally have a process and a brand voice that feels like me – without feeling pressured to do it all.
When the first Well-Branded Woman newsletter launched, I realized I needed to take a huge step back and listen to you awesome women screaming to be seen.
A huge, driven part of me wanted to dig in and produce lots of “spray and pray” content and talk about what I know – SEO content.
I wanted to get busy and work hard and fill those content holes.
Instead, I took the slow branding path, sat back, and listened. Ruby and I connected with so many wonderful women and held space for your incredible stories.
I even reduced my newsletter and social posting cadence to be more intentional and focused when creating content.
I’m moving slowly to go fast.
Your 👏 story 👏 is 👏 a 👏 big 👏 deal.
You don’t have to go quietly.
People connect and relate to stories and a-ha moments. You don’t have to be a world-class athlete or a famous motivational speaker.
You just have to be you. And you have so much to share.
You just have to go slowly if you want to go fast.
Let me know in the comments or contact me if you want to know more about Slow Branding and how it would look in your world – whether you work in-house, work for yourself, or both. I will zip over some additional information and answer your questions as soon as I can.
Slow Branding is a new concept that’s way different than “traditional” branding, so I can’t wait to chat more.
We can move faster by slowing down together.