Consumers now more than ever feel they need a stronger connection with the companies they engage in business. Interestingly, I have noticed more and more corporate surveys are heavily modified with questions about “how do you feel this company represents itself?” Branding and business representation are imperative in todays market. How you come across and are perceived are more important than just a logo and a tag line.
There’s no denying consumers crave a deeper connection with the companies they do business with. And that’s why these days having a fancy website and logo isn't enough to define your brand. Therefore, it's very important to thoughtfully create a personal brand that truly shares who you are and what you stand for. If a brand isn't appealing to your audience or not genuine, it can repel customers. But the process of creating a brand can be intimidating for some. So how do you avoid personal branding blunders when it comes to helping instead of harming your business?
Here's the biggest personal branding mistakes to avoid:
- Thinking you don't need a Brand
Whether you intentionally create a brand or not, every communication and experience you have with customers and potential customers is shaping your brand. That's why it's critical to create a positive brand communication. If you don't take time to define your brand, your message can get wishy washy. That lack of clarity will hurt your marketing efforts.
- Using Copycat Branding
Often when people start out in business they feel like imitating their top competitors is a good idea. Don't imitate, instead innovate. Accentuate what makes you unique. Differentiate yourself. Show why your differences make you a better choice. Do this by creating signature systems, products and messaging that sets you apart.
- Not Being Authentic
Some people take a dress-up approach to branding. They feel like they must be something they are not in order to attract customers. Authenticity in marketing matters more than ever before. Being honest and transparent builds trust. A brand should be genuine and always maintain consistent messaging that is in alignment with your personality and brand.
- Lacking Consistency
Your personal brand promise and message should be clear with every communication. The more consistent your brand is, the stronger it will attract followers. So as you write blog posts, eBooks and social media posts etc., make sure the thoughts, opinions and information shared is consistent with your personal brand. Every communication should reflect your brand personality and values.
- Not Writing Your Own Stuff.
Content marketing helps you develop leadership in your industry. Your fans want to hear from you – not the same old thing that everyone else is writing. Every time you write it's a communication that builds a relationship with your followers. They experience your personality and voice. Make time to write your own tips, checklists, guides and freebies for your content marketing efforts. Writing unique articles also boost your website SEO.
- Not Defining Your Niche
No business can be all things to all people. It's really important to define your target market. Period. The more narrowly you can define your target market the better; otherwise, you risk confusing your customers and you’ll have a harder time attracting the right kind of clientele that you want to serve most.
- Not Loving Your Tribe
Your tribe is a group of people where an unconditional love and connection exists. Raving fans will tell the world how amazing you are. That's why it's important to give special treatment to your tribe. Find your tribe. Love them hard. Give them special offers. Allow them behind the scene's peaks. Share advanced notice about things coming down the pipes.
- Forgetting Quality and Professionalism
The Internet knows all so if you make a mistake, someone's going to catch it. When you send a newsletter with typos or broken links it reflects poorly on your brand. When your customer has a problem and calls customer service, they want their issue resolved. Pay special attention to your appearance. Watch the language you share on social media. Your demeanour should be humble not arrogant. Display ethical behaviour when attending public events. Answer the phone professionally.
Take these lessons to heart and keep them at the core of your personal branding strategy. Even if you feel good about your branding efforts, it's smart to step back and take a look at your existing strategy and double-down your efforts to protect your personal brand.