Personal branding the right way with Ethnie Miller-Simpson
Whether or not you are seeking employment or trying to start your own business, personal branding is important. You need to have an idea of how you would like people to see you and what you represent. Who are you truly? Well, CEO of Zinergy International - a signature branding execution agency - Ethnie Miller Simpson, shared with Outlook a few common mistakes that individuals make with their personal branding.
1. Ignoring your DNA - who you really are
Building an effective brand means being clear about what you want to be known for or hired for. It also includes incorporating who you are at your core - your DNA - and using that to impact people around you, creating a following. It can be a Jekyll-and-Hyde situation when people incorrectly and falsely build a brand that they think people want and not who they really are. The psychological strain becomes too great at some point and, like an elastic band, many pop under the pressure or are simply found out, and the brand they worked so hard to build implodes. And nothing is harder to fix than a damaged brand.
2. Underestimating the memory of social media and the Internet
All information about you creates a footprint and that includes the possibly unkind, thoughtless comments you made about a friend in high school right up to the presentation you made at the local service club last week that showed up in the newspaper. Your online presence is a part of your personal brand, so be thoughtful about what you put in the public domain.
3. Forgetting that truth and authenticity ride in the same car
Individuals expect you to be authentic and credible. In short, do not pretend to be someone you are not. Punishment by social media is scathing and it has the memory of an elephant.
4. Being inconsistent
Being inconsistent means that across all of your social media and public-facing platforms, newspaper articles, speaker kits, your personal or company tagline, profile and images are not all the same. Have your photo taken professionally and, even at the risk of being called a 'one-pic pony' use an image that builds familiarity and maintain that across all media. This can, of course, be freshened up every three to four years, but ensure the messaging is consistent and on-brand. Do not dilute your brand with too many pictures in the public domain if you cannot maintain it, or which do not serve your brand.
5. Losing focus and forgetting to be 'On Brand'
It is 'easy' to create content that is trendy, hip or spur of the moment but later on, you look back and realise your brand is not serving its original objective. And if that was deliberate then by all means continue. However, just check to see how effective this is with your constituents and followers. If it isn't, you may have gone 'off brand' and must recalibrate.
6. Ignoring the maintenance
As with all things, the design and creation of the brand, which come first, are very exciting. However, the real money or proof of the pudding is in the maintenance, and this is required. If daily e-upkeep is too time-consuming then go for a weekly schedule, but ensure your followers are fed a steady diet of brand-relevant information.
7. Relying on your resume
Spending 40 hours per week scouring newspaper ads, rewriting and posting resumes is so last season. To get noticed and build a powerful personal brand, you really need to be a thought leader with a credible opinion that others want to hear and solicit comments from. This is a senior stage of brand building that many persons overlook or do a disservice as they chase 'likes' and a huge following on social media. A simple test is to ask yourself what you are interested in, really good at, know lots about and want to share with others. You cannot be all things to all men and work at simplifying and strengthening your brand message
As you develop your brand try not to share too much information bombarding your audience with boring, overused, or overly personal status updates. Not only is this a security risk, but it also weakens your brand. Just be selective and focused.
9. Not sharing your journey
Craft the challenges and successes in an interesting way to help and educate others - making your brand not only endearing, but also enduring
10. Don't make it all about you
Yes, it is a personal brand so it will be about you and, under pressure, you may not realise that your personality-based brand is more self-centred and self-serving rather than enticing; efforts to boost the personality-based brand may turn off fans rather than make them ambassadors. The solution then is to be more impact-driven and focused on engagement, speaking more to the ambitions and dreams of your audience rather than yourself. This will be of benefit to others who then become your evangelists.
Ethnie Miller Simpson
Chief Branding Officer and CEO
Zinergy International ... from insight to innovation. Office: 876-908-2410;
876-631-3411; Cell: 876-381-5844;
Fax: 876-631-3374 (fax).