The Internet and modern technology means that we
humans have more information at our fingertips than any other civilization,
ever. This is an incredible
privilege–but unfortunately, we also have to be careful, because there is as
often as much bad information out there as there is good. Whether it is bad information or simply
a lack of knowledge, there are certain mistakes I see repeated over and over
when it comes to personal branding.
Today we’re going to take a look at several common personal branding
mistakes … are you making any of these?
1) Inconsistency. Building a powerful brand requires a strong focus on the
precise brand you are seeking to create.
It is essential that you zero in on your brand–and then keep hammering
it home. You can’t be an expert
financial planner one week and an eye-opening marketing consultant the next week. Either of those identities could make
for a powerful brand–but if you are bouncing back and forth, you are not going
to stand for anything.
2) Lack of focus. Don’t be vague. Whatever your profession is, I’m
willing to bet there are plenty of people who more or less do what you do. Simply being another generic face will
not get you noticed. You need to
own your niche within your market–and to do this, you need to focus like a
laser on that niche. You aren’t a
lawyer–you are an expert legal advisor for emerging non-profit organizations,
3) Lack of benefit. The core of your personal brand can’t
be what you do … the core of your
brand must be what you provide to your
customers. Do you see the
difference? Shoppers don’t buy
paper towels because they love paper towels … they buy them because they want to
clean up spills! Apple does a
fantastic job with this concept.
Have you ever seen an Apple commercial focused primarily on the
technical specifications of their products? No–because they focus on the convenience, the power, the
“coolness” of their products. It’s
not what you do, it is the benefit you provide to your customers!
4) Lack of originality. Branding is all about
differentiation. I work with my
clients to help them stand out from their competitors. Of course, they can’t do this without
an element of uniqueness. Your
brand must reflect you as a person as well as your professional identity–what
makes you unique? Do you have any
hobbies? Are you a huge fan of a
certain TV show? Are you an
obsessive sports fan? Make these
traits a part of your brand! The
goal is to make your brand unique and memorable–and to do this requires mixing
in elements of your personality.
Are you consistent in your branding efforts? Are you focused on your niche? Is your brand about benefits? Is it original? If so, congratulations–you are well
ahead of many others. If not, you
still have plenty of time to make corrections! Don’t make these common mistakes.
JW Dicks (@jwdicks) & Nick
Nanton (@nicknanton) are best-selling authors that
consult for small- and medium-sized businesses on how to build their business
through Personality Driven Marketing, Personal Brand Positioning, Guaranteed
Media, and Mining Hidden Business Assets. They offer free articles, white
papers, and case studies at their Web site. Jack and Nick have been
featured inThe New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA
Today, Newsweek, FastCompany.com, and many more media outlets.