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Personal Branding Tips: Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

We have spent plenty of time going over branding strategies and techniques in this space—so today we are going to take a different approach. We are going to focus on common mistakes that I have seen over the years, and I’ll tell you how to avoid them. As you know, each time you interact with the outside world you have the opportunity to strengthen your personal brand. Of course, the reverse is also true—every interaction also presents an opportunity to undermine the brand you have worked so hard to build. Below are five common mistakes—make sure you are not falling victim:

1) Straying from the core of your brand. This is probably the most common mistake made by business owners. We have talked often about the importance of consistency, so we are not going to go in depth here. Just remember that you cannot be an expert in every subject and you cannot please everyone, so don’t try. Focus on the core of your brand and keep driving those points home.

2) Failure to connect with your audience. If your brand does not resonate with your target market, there is little point to your efforts. First and foremost, it is critical that your brand appeals to your target customers. If you are targeting senior citizens, “hip and forward thinking” is not going to work for you. Similarly, you aren’t going to attract young professionals through an old-fashioned “classic” brand.

3) Failure to buy in. Building a strong personal brand requires time and effort—and if you are not committed, you are wasting your time. Branding cannot be something you think about twice per month, it needs to become a part of your daily life. Every sales pitch, every email you send, every time you address your staff you have an opportunity to reinforce your brand. If you aren’t reinforcing it, you are undermining it. So commit—or don’t waste your time.

4) Copying the competition. Whether it is subconscious or intentional, many business owners tend to shape their brand into a copy of the competition. And while it is a good idea to pay attention to the brands that are competing with yours in the marketplace, simply imitating your competitors is literally defeating the purpose of your branding efforts. Your brand is supposed to set you apart from the competition, not make you blend in. That doesn’t mean you can’t borrow a clever idea from another business—but make it your own, make it distinctive. A strong brand should distinguish you from others in your market.

5) Poor visual materials. Your logo and your company colors are the main visual representation of your business—besides your own image, of course. All of your branding efforts revolve around this visual identity. So don’t go too cheap here—it is important that you have a logo that you can be proud of. Invest in a session with a great photographer and ensure that you have at least one picture that makes you look great. Make sure your visual materials and your pictures truly reflect the spirit of your company and your brand.

Are you guilty of any of these common mistakes? If so, the good news is that you can fix it. But it won’t happen by itself, so get busy!