Personal Brand

by Dawn Bentley


There are some potential pitfalls that can hamper your efforts to develop an effective personal brand. Below are some hints and tips on how to avoid them:

The brand is not true to you

You may develop a brand based on what others think you should do. If you put too much emphasis on what others think you should be doing and how they feel you should be behaving, and this is at odds with what you think and out of alignment with your values, you are likely to develop a brand which is not sustainable. A personal brand is about being authentic and remaining true to your values. If you develop something different, you will slip back to your ‘old ways’, as these are more natural and comfortable for you. Acting in a way that is at odds with your values and beliefs is more likely to cause you stress.

Standing your ground takes courage and confidence and you’ll know when you have made the right decision because it will feel right, being in line with your values. If you follow someone’s advice on how you should behave or what values you have and it feels uncomfortable, it’s likely to be ‘at odds’ with your true values. That is the time to stop and take stock. Ask yourself if this is this really going to deliver the brand you want.

The brand is right, the setting is not

What if you develop a brand that doesn’t fit with your organisation? There is every possibility that you may realise that to do what you want to do and be who you want to be you will have to leave your organisation. If this happens, you were probably vaguely aware of it already, so going through this process has simply brought you clarity. The good news is you have now completed all the work necessary to find the type of role in the right type of organisation to achieve your goals!

Be focused on what you want and be clear about what you bring to the party to get your next role.

It doesn’t feel right

Perhaps you have developed a brand that just doesn’t feel right. If this is the case, you will more than likely find either that you have developed a brand that does not truly fit with your values or that your vision is not really what you want it to be. Go back to the two exercises on values and vision and, if it helps, get someone to work them through with you, someone who has your interests at heart. You could consider getting a professional life coach to work on this with you.

It may simply be a question of asking yourself what do you really, truly want?

Be true to yourself

The main pitfall is the danger of developing a brand that is not really you, because it’s too different from who you are and therefore becomes too difficult to live up to, so you don’t enjoy the experience. When you are trying to be someone who is too different from your core values and beliefs, you will come across as incongruent and unconfident, so you will not appear to be enjoying what you are doing.

Developing a personal brand takes time and personal commitment. Some people may see this as a drawback, especially as it goes with asking yourself some tough questions, but it’s worth the effort.

If you are very clear about your objectives before you set out and are aware of the key pitfalls listed above, you are more likely to develop the brand you want.