What Personal Branding & Marketing is Not
There’s a cloud of confusion that seems to surround personal branding. People have ideas of what they think the term means, but many of those ideas are quite far off. I deal with these incorrect assumptions time and time again, so I’ve put together a list of four things that personal branding is not to try to address them.
1. Personal branding and marketing is NOT pretending to be someone you’re not
This is probably the number one myth I come across. There’s a misperception that personal branding and marketing means pretending to be somebody else – the funnier, cleverer version of you. In actual fact, pretending to be someone you’re not is likely to cause you trouble in business. The truth always comes out.
Personal branding is about taking a long, hard look at yourself, finding your strengths and weaknesses and identifying what makes you different from others in your industry. Personal marketing is about highlighting your uniqueness and best talents to get noticed and stand out from the clutter.
The best personal brands are those that are authentic. People recognise a ‘fake’ and are attracted to those who are genuine.
2. Personal branding is NOT image consulting
Although image plays a part in your personal brand, it’s not the only aspect of personal branding and marketing. Yes, it’s important to make a good first impression visually.
Nobody will deny that image counts. But, but if you can’t back up an awesome image with great performance, your style won’t get you anywhere.
3. Personal branding and marketing is NOT just about networking
Networking is a valuable tool in your personal branding and marketing arsenal, but it’s not the alpha and omega.
You might be the world’s best networker, but if you don’t know how to communicate what differentiates you from the crowd, you’re just another business card in your contacts’ rolodex.
Networking is most effective as part of a structured personal branding and marketing plan. Define your personal brand and then find out what sort of networking will work best for you. Think about how to market yourself authentically as you network.
4. Personal branding and marketing is NOT for celebs only
Personal branding and marketing is not just for the likes of Oprah and Richard Branson. It’s for anyone who wants to grow their personal profile and business opportunities in the workplace. You don’t have to be famous to develop a powerful personal brand.
So what IS personal branding and marketing?
Personal branding focuses on your USP (unique selling proposition), how you position yourself relative to colleagues and competitors and how you ‘package’ yourself in an authentic and noticeable way that makes you stand out.
It’s about knowing yourself and understanding what differentiates you from others with similar qualifications and experience. Powerful personal brands have a sense of purpose and a desire to make an impact.
Remember, your personal brand is your greatest asset. Look after it; protect it and grow it.