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Why do you need a personal brand online? Isn’t it for just celebrities or internet marketers or Youtubers? You only have one chance to make a first impression and that impression is often made online.
During my career as a personal branding consultant, speaker and blogger, I have gathered these top 5 myths people believe about personal branding. Are you falling for any of these?
Myth 1: “My privacy is at stake.”
Actually, actively managing your online presence is the best way to make sure your privacy information is protected. You are in control of what information is out there on the internet for people to see. You are in control of what results show up on the first page of Google when someone searches your name. If you don’t define your brand, someone else will define it for you. I have worked with clients who say they prefer to be invisible online due to privacy concerns but with a quick Google search, I was able to find their home address, employer information, a few old profile photos and videos of their children on Youtube. If you don’t actively manage and monitor your online reputation, how would you know?
Myth 2: “I’m not looking for a new job.”
To be fair, not everybody needs a personal brand online. If you are certain your job is secure for the rest of your working life and you don’t need to attract any new opportunities, or if you are in highly specialised profession such as a government secret agent, then you probably don’t need to work on personal branding. But for the general working population, you are likely to transition between more than 5 jobs in your career. The career landscape is changing, and a great online reputation is not made in a day. So it’s better to do some steps now so you start to build your brand before you need to leverage it for your next change.
Myth 2: “My personal brand is too much about me.”
I understand that in many cultures, it is deemed impolite to talk about oneself too much. We have all met people who are self-centred and can’t stop talking about themselves. Personal branding is absolutely not about bragging about yourself non-stop. The ultimate aim of presenting the best version of yourself online is so you can provide the most value to the people who would most benefit from your expertise and services. One of the key elements of personal branding is authenticity. Look more closely and you’ll find that behind every powerful and successful personal brand is a desire to serve others.
Myth 3: “Working on my company’s branding is more important than my personal brand.”
I have heard this myth from many entrepreneurs, founders, CEOs or business owners. This is one of the biggest mistakes, especially for start-ups founders who are seeking investments. One of the key things that investors look for is the founder’s story, experience and skill.
It’s not only about how brilliant your business idea is. It is about your team’s ability to execute the idea and bring it into fruition.
— Kaitlin Zhang (@KaitlinZhang) January 24, 2017
Your personal brand should support your corporate brand to make it better.
Personal Branding is a leadership quality. It has become important to CEO effective, executive leadership and business success. There are plenty of examples of this in the corporate world: Richard Branson and Virgin, Bill Gates and Microsoft and Steve Jobs for Apple. A quick search on a crowdfunding site like Kickstarter illustrates how story behind the individuals is what makes the company’s brand stand out because people value the emotional and human connection.
Myth 5: “Personal branding takes too much time.”
A strong personal brand is like an asset that continues to pay dividends year after year. Yes, it does take time in the beginning. But once you set it up properly by identifying your brand values, vision and mission, you only need to align whatever else you do to that brand identity. It should save you time in your decision making process and cut out anything that doesn’t align with your values. As a simple example, a great professional looking profile photo can communicate professionalism, good work ethnic, respect, friendliness in under 0.1 seconds of a glance. What you gain from this time invested in developing your personal brand is much more than if you were to spend that time doing a repetitive task that only has a one-time return.
If you need more convincing, read this article on Can Personal Branding Really Save You Time?
In conclusion, effective personal is a worth investment. It can be easily woven into your daily routine. So let’s ditch these myths about personal branding and get started.
Update 24 Jan 2017: I got a video review on Twitter from Phillip Twyford @PTwyford (The Curly Marketer) about this blog post. Check out what he said. And I would love to hear about you think so send me a tweet @KaitlinZhang or comment below.
— Phillip Twyford 👍🚀 (@PTwyford) January 24, 2017
Buj, Margaret. “Why You Need Achievements On Your LinkedIn Profile.” Work It Daily. N.p., 6 Dec. 2916. https://www.workitdaily.com/linkedin-profile-achievements/. 18 Jan. 2017.
Townsend, Heather. “The Rise Of The Personal Brand.” Brand Quarterly. N.p., n.d. http://www.brandquarterly.com/the-rise-of-the-personal-brand. 18 Jan. 2017.
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