This is a guest post from James Adams.
People often brand themselves as an expert in a field or an authority on a topic, but are careless with the way they present themselves, calling into question their expertise, and injecting doubt into the minds of potential customers. Here you will find 11 common mistakes that people make with their personal brands and suggestions that will help you avoid them.
Customers tend to value consistency. That’s why Coca Cola strives to produce its products so that they taste exactly the same no matter where they are made or sold. Similarly, you should be consistent in your thoughts and opinions as you present them. If you are supporting one product today, try to avoid turning against that product tomorrow, barring any unforeseen or unknown information. If you change your opinions or positions too often, customers will begin to question your credentials, something that will have a devastating impact on your personal brand. Define your thought patterns and opinions so that your brand is always consistent.
Lack of Detail
If you are an expert about a topic, you should be able to discuss it in detail. When you avoid questions or cling to generalities, you convey the impression that you do not actually have the understanding and the experience required for someone in your position. This diminishes your value and leaves your credentials suspect. Show that you know what you say you know: doing so will establish your brand.
If you are an expert on a subject matter, you should know the latest news, findings, and opinions about it. People often advance themselves as a technical expert on a brand, but seem unaware when that brand is in the news for having a defect or a major product announcement. If you say that you are in the know, people expect you to know something: when you don’t, your personal brand gets hurt. If you are to represent your personal brand as one that is expert, you should at least take the time to stay up to date with news, trends, and opinion.
Whether you write with bad spelling and grammar or speak with slang and poorly conceived sentence fragments, you are going to have a hard time selling your brand to someone who has developed a certain amount of decorum. Even if you have mastered essential material that helps you support your own brand, you sabotage yourself when you neither speak nor write correctly. Take the time to listen to yourself talk. Read your own writing. Get a handbook of style and learn how to communicate with properly constructed sentences.
An Army of One
If you are such an expert, than why is your personal brand completely unknown? To have credibility, you need to have other people in your field willing and able to testify to your competence. Many people stay to themselves, failing to participate in the community and to build rapport with others in the same field. Rather than stay in your own zone all the time, get out there and meet people. Learn what the current issues and trends are in your field and share your thoughts and opinions with others.
Lying about your knowledge, skills, or experience will not pay much in the way of rewards over time. People will expect you to back up your brand with the truth, so when you fail to perform, they immediately begin to question your competence. Save a lot of trouble and build your brand and your life with the truth. You probably have heard that “the truth hurts.” Sometimes the truth does hurt, but your personal brand will always do better if you deal with it up front.
People often fail to believe what they expect others to believe about their personal brand. Do not say you are an authority: be an authority. Often people limit themselves because they do not believe they can succeed. No matter what strikes are against you, you can find a positive aspect of your brand. Once you have found it, promote it and believe in yourself that you are the ultimate authority on a particular subject or product.
People make the mistake of expecting results too quickly when it comes to their personal brands. You have probably heard that patience is a virtue. We all want instant success, but it rarely comes. Your personal brand can take some good points if you communicate to yourself and to others that you are into the creation of your brand and that you are prepared to spend the time, money, and other resources to make it the best in its field.
Social Media Advertising
Building your personal brand is about interacting with others and establishing your credentials. Logging onto social networks only to propagate self aggrandizing propaganda will turn off potential clients. If you let people get to know your personal brand by knowing you, you will have the ears of a lot more people.
Poor Personal Management
How will you expect people to trust your capability to manage their affairs or to meet their needs when you do not do the same for yourself? By exemplifying self discipline, punctuality, and organization you will establish yourself as one to be both admired and hired.
Everything and everyone has both good and bad characteristics. It’s hard to build a desirable personal brand if you never have anything good to say about anyone or anything. Even if you have had a difficult life, employers and clients don’t care: they want someone who will build them up, not tear them down. Get control of your thoughts and your words: you’ll be surprised at how popular you become once you focus on positive things.
To be successful, you must avoid these 11 common mistakes that people make with their personal brands. By building your brand on high quality substance, you will rarely have trouble when you seek to persuade clients to choose you over others.
James Adams is a writer and researcher who works at CartridgeSave, an online specialist supplier of printer cartridges based in the northern English city of Manchester. When he isn’t writing guest posts, James analyses and reviews printer hardware and accessories. He also posts on their blog where he focusses on covering new hardware releases in the print industry. In his spare time he spends too much time on XBOX Live and enjoys nothing more than food from his native South Africa.
Photos by Shutterstock.