How much of yourself are you willing to put on the line for that personal brand?

How much of yourself are you willing to put on the line for that personal brand?

Right from the start, as I got into the sex tech world and began working on the projects, I made the somewhat conscious choice to be a visible part of their external communication strategy, both for the public and the media. It’s been like this from day one.

Even if it looks like a no-brainer move, let me tell you, I actually tried to weigh out some of the potential consequences—or, at the very least, predict some of them.

Suddenly, there I was, grinning back from the pages sometimes of a questionable erotic magazine (yeah, first publishing wasn’t exactly the Times). In my debut in print, I found my face uncomfortably close to a colossal rubber dick ad (probably Orion’s doing), which I presume was more of an editorial slip-up but still it only shows not everything was under my control as I imagined it would be. 

I knew the buzz of the news would stir up opinions in my tech work community. Some reacted with laughter, some with curiosity, and the majority with a big WTF. It brought about some networking mishaps – particularly on LinkedIn, where “specific individuals” interpreted my profile more as a page on Fetlife than a professional networking platform.

And when it came to friends and family, it was like breaking the news that I was joining the circus.

„Wait. Sex- what? What is sex tech? Will you do porn? But like showing the technical side or what?”

But so they say, once you’ve made your bed, you need to lie in it. Flash forward seven years, and the „Sex Tech Ola” label is now written in stone. For good and for bad. 

One thing is for sure. It cannot be erased. 

Another story. The other day, I dined with a client from the adult retail scene. Their store had been taken a hard blow with COVID, leaving employees—who’d spent a solid decade dishing out advice on latex and BDSM gear—scrambling for new gigs.

“Can you imagine their job interviews?” He mused.

Interviewer:  „So, what have you been up to for the past decade?”

Them: „Stretching latex.”

Yeah, it’s safe to say they weren’t exactly taken seriously.

Unsurprisingly, plenty of founders or product owners hesitate to intertwine their personal branding with the adult industry, at least in the early stages of their product journey. At least not before answering the question, “What if it doesn’t work out and I need to leave the adult bubble?”

Your personal brand is like a mirror reflecting how others will perceive you.

Well, it’s not surprising that you wonder if you want to be the poster child for your adult brand. If not, that’s totally understandable. But it could be risky.

The kicker is, that many investors, especially when it comes to women entrepreneurs, perceive your personal brand to gain or break their trust.

It’s a bit absurd, really.

Yet, when you’re sitting across from investors, they’ve got this expectation, almost like it’s written in the stars: „If you’re a woman launching a sex something brand, it’s better if you spill the beans about your sex life, the best way in some missionary talk, say something about the painful intercourse and dry vagina and for God’s sake swear up that making money is the last thing you have on your mind.”

Crazy, right?

Yikes, did I just publicly reveal that plenty of the industry folks don’t give a damn about equality, the democratization of pleasure, and inclusivity?

Maybe, but you didn’t hear it from me.

So again, is your public or social media leadership a necessity that underscores commitment and trust? It depends on how you can play your cards and… what floats your boat.

Allow me to explain something with a personal example. I never laid my eyes on TikTok and barely ever use Instagram these days (strictly for work purposes, mind you). Facebook? Ancient history. And somehow, I could never picture myself busting out some epileptic dance moves to auto-tuned songs, while waxing poems about my vagina, sex toys, or whatever the latest sex tech craze may be. Yeah, I couldn’t think of anything more far from who I am.

However, I do enjoy being on stage and breaking down topics I’ve got a handle on. It feels liberating and calming somehow. Now, that is probably because being on the spectrum gives me a pass to tune down stimuli when I’m flying solo. Meaning my focus and general performance sharpen when I’m not juggling multiple conversations. That’s why I prefer one-on-one press talks, podcasts, and stage talks rather than the chaos of social media engagement and overstimulating push notifications.

Take a moment to ponder a few things:

What approach suits you best?

Are press interviews up your alley?

Do you know what branding and crisis management take?

Do you thrive in the spotlight, and if so, what form does it take for you?

And finally, Do you want your neighbors, grandpa, and whoever else to catch a glimpse of your face next to a huge rubber dick on the paper? (it’s a long shot, sure… but you never know).

Maybe what you really want is to run your day-to-day business, leaving the limelight to someone else. There’s no shame in that.

Big sex tech players hire brand ambassadors or PR pros to handle public relations. Sure, it’s easy for established brands with decades of experience and after smashing all competitors.

But seriously. NOT necessarily. YOU have to BE the ONE.

And you know what? You don’t need to be the next big thing, like Lora DiCarlo (yep, you definitely don’t need to follow this example), Erika Lust, or Cindy Gallop, to nail your branding.

It worked for them- but if your journey is different, focus on your strengths.

You can always hire great talent to be your brand spokesperson representative and work on a strategy with them.

The key is to make that decision early, seek support, and know you can pivot later.

Author: Ola Miedzynska

Founder Sx Tech Eu / SXPR

More posts:

The secrets to marketing sex – what my years in the business have taught me

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