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Home » Business Owners

3 Mistakes to Avoid in Personal Branding

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.

6 Comments »

  • Patricia@lavenderoils said:

    HI Eduard and Matthew

    Really great tips to take into consideration. For my blog I decided early on that I would be myself. That way I am being unique and branding will be much easier.

    When people come to my blog, or I visit theirs, they will see who I am and the interaction that happens is with a real person. My brand is becoming known and now with products introduced I give excellent customer service that hopefully will bring my customers back to re-order.

    When I post my products out, I wrap them and write a hand-written thankyou note. I also put in my business card so they have a reminder of the products on offer and my blog address. Best practice, integrity and an inviting manner is what I strive for with my personal branding.

    Also if my customers have questions, if I do not have the answer I will research and find the answer for them. I do not pretend to be an “expert” but I do strive to always deliver excellent customer service.

    Patricia Perth Australia

  • Eduard - People Skills Decoded said:

    Hi Patricia,

    That extra effort you’re putting into interacting with readers and making their experience more personal will benefit you a lot (or maybe it already does). After all, a blog is a tool for connecting authentically with people. Otherwise we would just go with a website.

  • Jonny Gibaud said:

    A great article Eduard.

    A note to add on brand consistency.

    The point of Personal Branding, from a professional perspective, is to package who you are in a way that people can easily choose to “buy into” or not.

    If the choice is not clear, peoples default option is to “not buy into you” or your brand and so the key consideration in a Personal brand is – “Is my brand clear?”

    The second key consideration is consistency. It is impossible for people to buy into something that is constantly changing. People can only align themselves with you and your personal brand if it is consistent.

    Therefore a brand that is both clear and consistent, will be successful to its target audience. A brand that is both unclear and constantly changing will not successful, regardless of the audience.

  • Eduard - People Skills Decoded said:

    Awesome point Jonny,

    Now that I think about it, I believe many products, services and persons don’t sell well because the potential buyer doesn’t have a clear image what they are about. So they stick away from what they don’t understand.

    PS: nice avatar 😉

  • Steve@Lifestyle Design said:

    Eduard and Matthew,

    Thanks for the post. You make some really good points. branding is very important, the branding done wrong is pretty useless. If you are not able to display and have the skills your branding for or your branding completely the wrong way or simply copying something is too similar to someone else’s brand. It probably hurts far more than it helps.

    thanks for some solid insight. I appreciate it. Have a great weekend.

  • Eduard - People Skills Decoded said:

    Hi Steve,

    I think branding and imitating others are complete opposites. You can follow the same branding guidelines, but if you copy the brand, you’re in trouble. Good point.