This is a guest post from Eduard Ezeanu from People Skills Decoded. Eduard is a specialist coach in communication based Bucharest, Romania. If you’re interested in communication coaching,  you can get a free 30 min consultation with him via skype. Here Eduard shares his thoughts on personal branding mistakes. Please share you thoughts in the comments section below. If you’re interested in writing a guest post for us, please check our guest post guidelines.

Over to you Eduard:

 I see personal branding as marketing, advertising and selling all in one. And it’s all focused on your person.

The general awareness about the importance of personal branding for business success is skyrocketing. On the other hand, although many people work at branding themselves, personally I see very few who manage to do so effectively.

As a communication coach, I often study the way people do personal branding and I work with my clients to help them optimize their brand. Most often, I see 3 critical mistakes happening which sabotage a lot of the branding efforts. Here they are and here’s how to avoid them:

1. Creating a Fake Brand

It’s a common phenomenon to simply think about the characteristics and strengths you would like to communicate and then to start communicating them, without taking into account if you truly have them or not.

This is what creates a fake brand which is not consistent with what’s really happening behind the curtains. Although with a lot of effort, a fake personal brand can be developed, it is simply not sustainable.

Once people get to know you and your way of doing things better, they quickly realize that there is a big difference between image and facts. This is serious stuff because it breaks trust, it undermines you credibility and it usually makes you lose a lot of business.

You want to build a personal brand around your real traits and strengths, not the ones you wish you would have. So before going into this process, take some time and do a realistic evaluation of yourself and what you have to offer.

2. Creating a Brand that’s Not Unique

This in itself is a contradiction in terms, because one of the key traits of a personal brand is uniqueness. Through uniqueness, a brand helps you stand out, get noticed and be remembered. It also helps you differentiate from your competition and thus, beat it.

The problem is that most people try to build a personal brand only by sticking to communicating those good all traditional strengths that can’t go wrong: professionalism, dedication, customer focus and so on.

This is a significant problem because even if you have these strengths, almost everybody out there is branding themselves based on them. You don’t stand out by calling yourself a professional and thus, you’re not convincing.

The process of personal branding is based on differentiation. Take a good look at yourself and find out what makes you unique and is also relevant for your target audience. Then, create your brand around that.

3. Not Being Consistent

I know it can be very tempting when you realize that a potential client is looking for a certain trait in a business partner, to try and emulate their taste in an attempt to get them to pick you as their partner.

However, although it can be beneficial in the short-term, doing this for every potential client will eventually make your brand vague and slippery, which will do more harm than good in the long-run.

In personal branding, you want to pick one audience and meet that audience with one single, consistent message. You want to keep the message and the delivery the same across the board. It is this consistency that creates a reliable brand.

One key thing I’ve learned about personal branding is that it’s not a fad and it’s much more than a buzz word. It is an art and a science with a key role in today’s business world. If you want to benefit from it, you’ll have to be completely professional about it.

Eduard Ezeanu is a communication coach with an attitude-based approach. If you enjoyed this article, also learn how to start a conversation and discover how to make small talk from two top articles on his People Skills Decoded blog.

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