The Power and the Pitfalls of Personal Branding

There is growing recognition that being ‘good at what you do’ isn’t enough and that a strong personal brand can be the differentiator that sets you apart from the competition.

Jeff Bezos of Amazon summed it up when he said; ‘everyone has a personal brand; it’s what people say about you when you leave the room’. The question therefore is not whether you have a personal brand, but how effectively you manage it?

Consciously managing both image and reputation on and off-line will greatly improve relationships, profile and success. When we are authentic, communicate effectively and are consistent in our behaviours, our personal brand is a powerful tool, maximising profile and presence.

But what happens if we leave personal brand to chance, or commit brand blunders that detract from the brand value rather than building it?
Here are five faux pas to avoid when it comes to building a powerful personal brand.

1 All style, no substance
Personal branding is not about style over substance. Whilst great first impressions are the necessary foundations of any relationship, to create a credible brand and reputation it is crucial to back up the initial impact with the delivery of a quality product or service.

2 Be fake
It’s about being authentic and being YOU; the best version of you. People will spot a fake. We talk about a ‘gut’ reaction when we meet someone for the first time. If we like them the chances are they are congruent in their communication – their verbal and non-verbal communications are consistent. To fake this, for example, imitating something you are not is exhausting and in the long run impossible.

3 Be vanilla
You can’t be everything to everybody – try and please all the people you can end up pleasing none. Accept that a strong brand will resonate with some but repel others. Stick to your principles and express yourself. Be clear on your message and communicate that consistently, online and in person.

4 It’s all about me!
To build a successful brand it is not about you, it’s about serving others. Being generous is a great personal branding strategy. Develop a reputation as a giver and a great connector. Sharing your expertise let’s people experience what you excel at.

5 Online only
Social media has been instrumental in increasing awareness around personal branding. Having a clear, consistent message across different platforms online is important but should not be exclusive. People may google and get to know you virtually before you meet face to face, however your impact in person is paramount. A strong handshake, professional image and ability to connect and converse effortlessly are crucial.

Now is the time to evaluate where you are with your personal brand – make it a priority and don’t leave it to chance any longer. Remember, if you don’t decide how to brand yourself, others will, and it will be you that faces the consequences.

If you’d like to know more about building an effective personal brand join me in Leeds on Tuesday 22nd April for the next CIM Regional Event: Click here for more information