Your personal brand is what people think of you and say about you when you’re not in the room. It’s the space you occupy in the minds of others.
For example, think of a person you really admire. What are the words that would crop up if you were to describe that person? Now, think about how you want to be described when others think of you.
Some of the biggest stumbling blocks to achieving the personal brand you desire may be things you do that will impact how others perceive you, without you even knowing about it. Here are the top four behaviours that might be damaging your personal brand:
Consistency is actually far more effective than occasional flashes of brilliance. Think about areas of possible inconsistency in your career. Do you occasionally hand in fantastic work but frequently deliver sloppy work in between? Do you make great emotional connections with people at networking functions and then never follow up? Do you sometimes come to work with your hair, make-up and outfit looking perfect and others times show up looking like you just fell out of bed? Examine your behaviour, communications and interactions and ensure that you are consistently portraying your personal brand in the best light possible.
Not being relevant
The effort you put into marketing your personal brand will only give you results if it’s relevant and makes an impact on your target market. Assess what you’re doing – each and every action – and make sure it’s delivering value to the person you’re targeting. You may be offering a long-term client the same services you’ve offered for years, not noticing her needs have changed and your offering is no longer relevant to her. Make sure you’re solving clients’ problems and providing them with solutions that are relevant to the challenges they face.
Trying to be like other people
Building a personal brand is not about pretending to be someone you’re not. It needs to be authentic if you want people to buy into your brand. Looking at what your competitors or colleagues are doing and trying to imitate it is not enough, you need to think about the unique strengths and talents you have and find a way to package those to deliver value to your target market.
Not taking advantage of opportunities to showcase your expertise
It’s not arrogant to put your knowledge and experience to good use. In fact, if you’re not showcasing your expertise and using it to provide solutions to people’s problems, you’re not only missing out on opportunities to build your career, but also depriving people of your skills and talents. Don’t stand back to avoid seeming arrogant when opportunities present themselves. If your boss wants a volunteer to lead a work group and you know you’d do a great job, put your hand up. If you have expertise in a niche field, offer to present a workshop or write an article for an industry publication.
Remember, if you don’t take responsibility for your personal brand, others will do it for you.