A topic that’s near and dear to my heart.
And, one that’s been widely discussed by many marketers and businesses for years.
On one hand you have those people who think defining and being ‘on brand’ in all you do – is important.
And, on the other – you have people who think personal branding is just a gimmicky word, made up by marketers.
I’m one of the former.
(My background is as a Personal Branding Strategist – so I admit I am slightly biased).
In fact, I’ve been sharing the virtues of identifying and living your Personal Brand right back in my days when I worked in the career industry as a Career Coach & Personal Branding Strategist.
So, in today I’m sharing the common myths and mistakes when it comes to personal branding.
Along with my 7 Personal Branding Principles (drawn from my two decades plus experience as an award-winning Personal Branding Strategist) to help you build a powerful Personal Brand that is distinguishable, uncopyable and irresistible for YOUR ideal client.
Common Myths (Mistakes) about Personal Branding:
- Think it’s a fad and unimportant
- Confuse Personal Branding with Corporate Branding/Brand
- Trying to be all things to all people
- Think in order to stand out – you have to be controversial in language and/or imagery?
- Try and emulate what other ‘successful’ people are doing
- Listen to the advice of others – telling you who they think you should be
- Focus only on the external brand components (images, logo)
Personal Branding Principle 1: Your Personal Brand is: Your Reputation
Your Personal Brand is your Reputation.
It’s your Promise of Value and Promise of Expectation.
People are already talking about you and your brand – wouldn’t you like to influence what they’re saying?
What do you want to become known as a Trusted Authority in?
Is your name mentioned when your ideal client asks: “Who do you know that does (fill in the blank)?”
It should be.
Personal Branding Principle 2: Authenticity is NOT an overused buzzword. It’s paramount!
From marketers brandishing the word ‘authenticity’ around the place and being anything but – authentic.
Through to people misusing the word and using it as an excuse for bad behaviour (i.e. my temper is authentic for me), that’s NOT what authenticity is.
Especially when it comes to your Personal Brand.
Authenticity is discovering and defining your unique brilliance, your individuality, and giving yourself the permission and freedom to show up as the best and intentional YOU.
The BEST and INTENTIONAL Y.O.U!
Personal Branding Principle 3: Less is More
We’re told ‘you need more content, more frequently, and across more platforms’ to stand out. If you’re building your reputation as a trusted authority, I suggest ‘LESS IS MORE.’ Here’s what I mean…
⚠ NOT more content but the RIGHT content
➞ Is relevant AND nurtures your ideal client along the Buyer’s Journey as you build know, like and trust;
➞ Challenges the status quo in your industry, bringing unique insights that only you can share based on your expertise;
➞ Compels him/her to take that next step when you invite them to do so.
⚠ NOT more frequently, but the RIGHT frequency, RIGHT format, approach
Are they busy? Provide bite-sized content.
Do they prefer listening? Create a podcast
Do they prefer reading? Then, write.
Or better yet, offer your content in a variety of formats and at varying lengths so your content can be enjoyed by your ideal client no matter their situation or preference.
⚠ Not more platforms, but the RIGHT platform
Don’t be tempted to follow those ’platform-hacking’ tactics.
YOU don’t need to hack anything.
Your work, and the impact you’ve been making for decades will validate your expertise.
You just need to know how to bring it forward in the best possible way.
While find the RIGHT platforms and continue to focus your efforts there.
Personal Branding Principle 4: Be a Category of One
I recently read an article that advises businesses to sign up to their competitors webinars and to monitor their websites to alert you to any changes in their wording and experience, so you could remain informed as to what they were doing.
I get what they’re saying BUT, if you’re a Change Maker and aspiring Thought Leader – I would advise you NOT to do this.
Because it’s distraction.
Instead, YOU should be innovating your industry.
And, not be using your competitors as a baseline.
In fact, your competitors should be following YOU to see what YOU are doing.
Sure, get on webinars and get on websites – but of other industries – the industries that are regularly performing global studies on what’s working, shifts in consumer behaviour, new technologies etc and incorporate that into the work you’re doing.
Be mindful where you put your attention.
Especially if you want to be seen as an Industry Thought Leader.
And, if you’re focusing on what makes YOU unique – it won’t matter if competitors try to copy you.
Because it’s your unique gifts and strengths (that is in your DNA) when blended with your knowledge and experience, which can NEVER be copied.
BE a category of ONE!
Your Intellectual Property, which includes your Signature System. The processes and methodologies you came up with to address outdated approaches in your industry.
Your Signature Slogans and sayings, which you use to challenge the status quo in your industry.
New and improved ways of doing things. That no-one else is doing.
Focus on that.
Personal Branding Principle 5: Speak to an Audience of One
When it comes to your #PersonalBrand and Message – when you try to speak to everyone – you end up speaking to no-one.
Your message goes unnoticed. And, adds to the noise and clutter.
Instead, get to know your ideal client – very well
From the challenges she faces; to her immediate, pressing needs.
And speak to that.
With your Umbrella Statement – that captures your promise of value and expectation in a way she understands and can relate to.
Right through to your Core Content Themes and Core Content Topics.
A compelling, consistent #PersonalBrand and message that speaks to an audience of one – your ideal client.
Personal Branding Principle 6: Be Distinguishable & Uncopyable
If someone were to take your message, remove your name and replace it with theirs and no-one would be the wiser because it could relate to them too – your message is NOT distinguishable.
Introducing The Distinction Triad.
- Your Aptitude
- Your Attitude
- Your Approach
And, when combined with your Invisible Thread (see Principle 7) NO-ONE can copy you.
Just like your unique finger prints, so are you!
You just have to identify what those unique elements are and bring them forward into your #PersonalBrand, your story, and your message.
Personal Branding Principle 7: Identify Your Invisible Thread
This is what ties everything together in an irresistible way.
Key Milestones and Markers (which are relevant to your ideal client) which continues to validate your IP, your Signature System and methodologies and how you are innovating and challenging the status quo in your industry.
And, when woven together in an irresistible and compelling way, which confirms why your ideal client NEEDS to work with YOU!