When we think of brands, what usually comes to mind are large global businesses, which have been around for decades.
These may include companies such as Coca Cola, McDonalds, Pepsi, Nike, Reebok , etc. In times gone past, branding used to be what big businesses would do to maintain their market share and continue to be front of people through different channels such as newspapers, radio, magazines and television.
With the internet the way it is today, branding online has become an integral part of businesses’ marketing strategies. This has also created new opportunities for individuals to brand themselves and create a presence and following online.
While many small businesses and entrepreneurs have taken advantage of the internet for branding purposes, there are a number of branding myths which may be affecting their whole business.
The simplest definition of personal branding is it is how we market ourselves to others. This is even more relevant for anyone in a service profession such as consultants, trainers, speakers, coaches, therapists, online marketers etc.
Here are five personal branding myths that may be affecting the growth of your business and preventing your business from having the success it could have.
- Personal branding is all about you. This myth may stem from how businesses used to brand themselves in the past, which used to be all about them, how good they were, and what they offered. While that may have worked to an extent in the past, today, building an effective brand is all about adding value to the marketplace.
A good way for a brand to differentiate itself is to clearly identify the problems they solve and how through its branded products, they’re able to offer solutions to those problems…right now.
Too much self promotion is usually a turn-off for most people. There has to be a balance between how much value is being provided and how much promotion is being done.
- Personal branding is about conveying an impressive image. There is often a misunderstanding that in order to have a recognized brand, the brand needs to come across as being impressive or bigger than it really is.
In a situation like that, it could be considered as image management rather than branding. Image management could be regarded as shaping people’s perception of who you are and what you stand for, and ultimately, create a positive image of yourself.
The truth is personal branding is about being “personal” just as the term implies. A personal brand needs to reflect the real, authentic you. It is a reflection of your values and whether your actions are congruent with your words.
- Personal branding is only for people looking for fame. We tend to be influenced by what we may read online or see on television and there isn’t a shortage of reality programs, or news about well-known celebrities. Therefore whenever someone promotes or markets themselves, there may be an assumption that the person is hungry for fame.
A well-crafted personal brand with a clear mission or purpose for existing doesn’t necessarily imply that the person who has created the brand has bad intentions. A personal brand should be judged or evaluated based on who much value it adds to its target market.
- Personal branding is a one-time effort. Creating an impressive website and marketing collateral doesn’t mean a personal brand has been established. If a trusted, well-recognized brand that will be around for a long time is to be built, it will require consistent focus and attention. In other words, it will require work.
A brand is a thing, something you build over time by your actions. It will develop a reputation of its own and will be perceived a certain way by people you don’t even know although they may think they know you. It is important to act in accordance with how you want your brand to be perceived, either in person or online.
- Personal branding is expensive. Historically, building a brand took a lot of effort and the success of the brand was dependent on having a team of brand consultants, who had knowledge of what worked and wouldn’t work. While that may have worked then, times have certainly changed.
Building a brand is now easier than ever especially with the influence of social media and new, better and cheaper technology. There are many resources available now online that can support anyone wanting to build a personal brand. It can be from creating promotional or marketing collateral, creating marketing plans, having a social media strategy or outsourcing any work that could be done by someone else at a cheaper price.
While it may be easier to build a brand now, it certainly is not easy. It will require consistent effort, intelligent strategies and patience of the long term.
Personal branding is all about finding what makes you unique or special in the marketplace, and then communicating that through different channels to the people you want to target. Your personal brand is your story. Your personal brand is what someone experiences of you at any given moment.
If you have the right intentions, are engaged with the people you really want to connect with, and execute the right strategies, you are well on your way to building a well-recognized brand.
Question: What have you found to be other myths associated with personal branding?
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