Having a personal brand has been a major attribute of very successful businesses and individuals in the past and currently. Ever asked yourself: “why is he/she so famous? What do people see in him/her?” The answer is usually that the person has created a brand so powerful and relatable that they could be selling toilet paper and the public would act like it has never been done before.
Many people talk and write on the topic of personal branding almost daily. However, with so much information about branding being made available, there is bound to be a lot of junk scattered amongst the gems. We recently came across some personal branding advice that was so misleading, we couldn’t stay silent. One really bad piece of information stood out the most, so here is our take on the worst advice about personal branding we’ve ever heard:
“Personal Branding is Just About Marketing Yourself”
Personal branding is NOT about marketing yourself at all. A clear distinction has to be made between branding and marketing. While marketing conveys the impression of selling a product that may or may not be what it claims to be, good personal branding cringes at the thought of presenting ANYTHING that is not true to self.
So, what is personal branding about? It’s creating and presenting as true and authentic an image of yourself as possible; showcasing your area of expertise and standing firm publicly about your values, goals and plans. Who are you? How are you perceived? What does your name stand for? That is your personal brand.
Never attempt to “market” something that is not true to yourself because you will never stick to it in the long term. Because of the major influence of social media platforms, you have access to a great variety of ways to make yourself known, to engage with people and to present your brand. But notice that the brand must exist before it can be presented. Social media is therefore NOT the starting point of branding. Selling yourself is NOT the starting point of branding. True, effective personal branding starts with you; your self-awareness, self-assessment, self-acceptance and self-development. Know yourself, your passions, strengths, weaknesses, values and you are on your way to developing a personal brand. Personal branding begins with self-analysis and never ends. It is a continuous learning process as you identify your areas of weakness and seek to gain knowledge in order to make those weaknesses an area of strength.
The Ultimate cheat sheet for branding gives a step by step approach for personal branding.
It is tempting to jump straight into marketing and product-pushing with no thought as to the way you are perceived, your trust-base with your consumers or the specific needs of the people you connect with. Social media is meant to be just that: social. It is not a place to promote yourself with no thought of others. The purely, product-marketing approach to business does not add value to your client base and can be quite a turn-off. Rather, your social media messages should be an engaging blend of your personal story, your own content as well as others’ content. This demonstrates that you are not self-centered and actively care about the wide interests of your audience and is a sure-fire way to build trust.
So disregard what we consider the worst piece of advice about personal branding. Refuse to get sucked into the marketing game of pushing product and running the risk of annoying your future clients. Take time to develop your brand, connect with people, establish your identity and only then present your product.
Not sure where to begin? Finding it hard to manage your online presence? We care for you. Contact us.