If you’re visible as a thought leader or successful business leader in your space, your brand exists whether you are working to shape it or not. The content you share on your social media channels, the marketing decisions you make for your business and everything in between all contribute to how those watching form an opinion about you and your work. More importantly, all these cues help them decide if they want to interact.
Essentially, a brand is simply the perception others hold about you and you can influence how your audience feels by creating a personal brand identity that accurately reflects your values and personality.
Great brands are built on a well-considered strategy to ensure they communicate with absolute clarity. So, if you aren’t purposeful about your personal brand, the chances are it will develop somewhat chaotically, and your message will fail to resonate with your audience.
We’ve complied for our top tips on how to approach your personal branding in “How To Build Your Personal Brand” but it’s equally as important to think about the things you need to avoid.
When creating your personal brand, authenticity is key. Your brand must be true to who you are and communicate the impact you aim to make in the world, or it will fall flat, lost in a sea of shiny clones that look good but lack substance. These are the common pitfalls you need to steer clear of if you want your personal brand to thrive.
- Lack Of Strategy
Once you know what you want your brand to be like, you need a plan to make sure it connects with the people you’re trying to engage. Working with a branding expert to develop your brand strategy, will help you get really clear on the specific area you can take real ownership of ensuring your key messaging cuts through and differentiates you from others in your market.
- Hiding Your Story
To quote the great Dr Suess, ‘There is no one alive who is youer than you’, which is to say both your triumphs and losses make you unique. Everyone has experience of failing and overcoming losses, and being open about your journey makes you relatable, helping audiences build an emotive connection with your personal brand. This becomes the Hero’s Journey that allows people to identify with your story and buy into your thought leadership so they can find out more.
- Being Like Everyone Else
Both your brand identity and thought leadership need to stand out in the market if you want your personal brand to succeed. Honing an authentic tone of voice and defining key messages that convey your expertise during your strategic planning phase will make it easy for your audience to understand how you differ from others in a similar space and why they should pay attention to you.
Once you’ve established a brand identity and started telling your story, it’s important that you aren’t only showing up to sell. Audiences are savvy and quickly get weary if they feel they’re being sold to each time they engage with you. Developing a monthly content strategy that balances useful insights and connection building with promotional material creates a richer brand experience for your audience and makes them feel more valued.
If your brand feels different each time, in terms of tone, visuals, offer or focus, it will be very difficult for any audience to trust you. Investing in brand management so your output always feels aligned will elevate your brand reputation and help build brand loyalty. This also demonstrates your value and makes your brand feel cohesive and more appealing to potential clients. Remember, the way your personal brand is managed will significantly impact your work, so it’s vital that the agency you outsource this important task to has a solid background in design and brand so they can execute your vision to the standard your brand deserves.
The new personal brand we created for Purpose author and mentor Jessica Huie is a great example of how to carefully curate a personal brand to better represent the thought leader so they can inspire a wider group of people with their message.
If you’re a thought leader with a specific expertise that helps create a positive change in the world, we can help you amplify your message, let’s talk!