Personal Branding 101: Six Classic Branding Mistakes to Avoid

Personal branding isn’t something that is ever “done”, as I’ve written before. Building an effective brand is a journey. It’s an ongoing process. It requires consistency and it requires that you create and adhere to a plan.

But while the goal is to consistently strengthen one’s personal brand over time, the reverse is also possible. Below are six common branding mistakes that will sabotage your efforts to build a powerful personal brand. Are you committing any of them?

1) Poor focus. You can’t be everything to everyone. Your personal brand should be focused around a few key qualities—your unique skillset, your sarcastic sense of humor, or your years of experience, for instance. Trying to “do too much” ends up diluting your brand, and you end up not standing for anything. Identify the most important traits or attributes to highlight, and focus your efforts on them.

2) Being Mr. (or Mrs.) Negative. Nobody wants to be around negativity. So no matter what the specifics of your brand may be, stay away from negativity. Don’t complain on social media. Don’t start a phone call by complaining about the weather or your local sports team. Stay positive and upbeat as much as possible, and your brand will be that much more appealing.

3) Misunderstanding your audience. Do you understand your audience? I mean… really understand them. Do you know their hopes and their dreams? Do you know the fears that keep them up at night? It’s critical that you understand your audience in a very comprehensive way so that you can tailor your brand accordingly.

4) Expecting instant results. You can’t build a powerful brand overnight. Unfortunately, many business owners grow discouraged if they don’t see instant results—and as a result pull the plug on what could otherwise be a very successful initiative. Understand that building a personal brand is a long-term project, not something you accomplish overnight.

5) Putting it off. Branding requires consistent work on your part (or on the part of your staff). Updating social media, blogging, networking… it all takes time. And because most business owners are extremely busy, in many cases they end up putting off their branding efforts as they don’t seem as immediately important. Unfortunately, this mindset leads to weak or ineffective branding efforts. If you’re serious about your personal brand, commit to it!

6) Not telling the truth. The worst thing you can do when it comes to building a powerful brand is to make promises you can’t keep. Don’t make outlandish claims or crazy promises just to close a deal. While these tactics may be helpful in the short run, in time it will come back to haunt you. Be honest and upfront as you create your brand… that way you can be sure it is built on a solid foundation that won’t crumble over time.

Personal branding can be extremely profitable for business owners. We’ve talked extensively in this space about the process of creating an effective brand. But if you’re committing any of these mistakes, you’re making the job much harder for yourself! Feel free to get in touch with me or any of the other agents at the agency if you’d like to learn more.