Personal branding myths, busted: it's not all about exposure


There are many myths and mistakes women make with personal branding. The first is believing that building a powerful personal brand is all about exposure. Here’s a #truthbomb for you: there are plenty of high profile women with all the exposure in the world who are struggling with positioning their personal brand for maximum impact.

Undoubtedly, being visible is an important part of positioning a meaningful personal brand, however without effective strategies in place to have the impact you are seeking, lots of exposure will lead to lots more exposure… And not all exposure is created equal.

At every step of the way, creating a powerful personal brand is about being the leader in your field. Your clients, followers and fans are looking for certainty from you – they want to see the roadmap for the journey you are taking them on. Where certainty is absent, confusion grows and it creates chaos. Not only will a confused market not buy, but they will become quickly disillusioned with your message and seek out other leaders to fill the void. This will impact your ability to achieve the results you’re seeking and to create the change you see possible in the world. Often the key gap between the results you have and those you want are a meaningful personal brand.

Here are the top 3 mistakes high profile women with lots of exposure make with personal branding:

1.      Believing that meaningful personal branding is about building a crowd. It’s about building a movement. A clear, high quality movement that people can align to, aspire to and feel cohesive with. Building a movement requires much sacrifice and investment – it’s about understanding that the purpose at hand is greater than yourself. Many high profile women believe they are building a movement and sacrificing and investing to do so, when in reality, one look at their work reveals, they are building a crowd. Often they’ll have high quantity of followers or fans that aren’t buying from them, or who are liking but not championing. All the best experts know that the number of followers you have is not a quality indicator for the movement you’re truly building.

2.    Thought leadership is more than just publicly sharing your thoughts. Randomly sharing thoughts and feelings without clear strategy on how it contributes to and progresses you towards your purpose and mission is not developing thought leadership. There’s thoughts and then there’s thought leadership. Thought leadership is all about changing thinking, positively disrupting and creating a legacy and lasting change. A selfie whilst griping about how long you had to wait for your coffee, is not thought leadership. It’s griping about how long you had to wait for your coffee. Building a powerful personal brand as a barista, creating a new and unusual blend of coffee and changing the way coffee is produced, consumed and ultimately the relationship a person has to their coffee in their everyday life is thought leadership put into action.

3.    Talking about themselves and blaming clients, followers or fans

This is a hard truth of developing a meaningful personal brand, but it’s an important and necessary truth: your clients, fans and followers do not care about your feelings. It's not because they're not caring people, they are. It's that they care about the results you can achieve for them and the problems you solve that matter to them. A photo of your breakfast isn't relevant to them unless you are creating thought leadership with relation to the breakfast and your post relates to helping them. Truly connecting with your clients, followers and fans means everything has to be for them and about them. A powerful personal brand is merely the vehicle for the purpose and change you’ve set out to achieve. Many high profile women make the mistake of talking about their why and story all the time, instead of talking about their clients why and story. They also make assumptions about what their clients ‘should’ know or understand about them and blame their clients for the results they are getting instead of understanding that the gaps we see in our clients are gaps in ourselves. They are an opportunity to ask how we can add more value to help our clients be their best selves. Ultimately, it's about the change you are creating for the greater good. The most difficult part in all of this is recognising this is a problem for you - many don’t recognise the critical mistake they are making.

4. Cognitive dissonance between an online and in person brand. How many leaders have we been inspired by and yet when we meet them in the flesh, they don't demonstrate the characteristics and values their personal brand is built on? Cohesive online and in person branding is essential, whether speaking at events, working one-on-one with clients or meeting and greeting fans. If you build a personal brand on the basis of empowering women and yet in reality disempower them in every day interactions, that will create conflict between your online and in person brands. The saying is true, it takes a lifetime to build a meaningful brand and one moment to destroy it - ensuring it aligns across the board is critical for success.

It’s true that these problems directly impact your quantifiable results as a personal brand. The good news is that resolving these key problems is possible with an effective strategy and approach. If you’re ready to create a meaningful personal brand that truly connects with your clients, followers and fans for maximum impact, please feel free to reach out.


Shevonne Joyce