Myths and Misconceptions About Personal Branding
Recently, while attending a business conference, I happened to meet a CEO of a growing company in Bangalore. We started casually discussing what we do and our future plans. He had started a manufacturing company a few years ago, which was growing slowly; his revenues were stagnant over the years.
It was challenging for him to start making profits again, and to establish himself as a leader in his industry. As we started discussing further, I suggested he elevate his personal brand and start by making himself noticed in his niche. Only then would people begin to believe in his business and he could stand out from his competition.
To my surprise the man said, ‘Personal Brand? I own a small business. Personal brand is not for people like us. I would rather spend money on bringing in better technology.’ I was taken aback that he, being an entrepreneur (regardless of the size of his business), didn’t believe in the influence of personal branding at all.
He’s not the only one. I have seen many other people who don’t consider working on their personal brand, and think of it as a worthless investment. It’s either that they don’t know anything about personal branding, or they think it’s just not for them.
This incident made me ponder a lot, and I decided to come up with this post to highlight the most common myths and misconceptions people have about personal branding.
Myth #1: It is not for everybody
Regardless of what you do, and what your profession is, personal branding is for everyone. Like the person I met the other day, I hear many other people saying personal branding is for big-shots and big businessmen, or celebrities and politicians.
Well, they became big and celebrated because they worked on their personal brand. They understood the importance of it and knew it would help in their careers. And now they’re better off. Nobody becomes big unless they start small.
Myth #2: Your personal brand is your appearance
Many people think that what you wear and how you dress is your personal brand. It is a part of your personal brand, but it’s not all. There are several other elements to a personal brand. A person who is well-dressed and appealing but has zero communication skills and incompetent at his job doesn’t have a good personal brand.
Personal branding is a combination of many things, including the way you communicate, your confidence, your knowledge in your field, your skills and strengths, and your external appearance. Good looks does not equal a great personal brand. It just adds to your personal brand.
Myth #3: Personal branding strangles business branding
It is a total myth that personal branding hampers or competes with your business brand. Personal branding, in fact, supports your business brand. A strong personal brand doubles the impact of your company’s brand, and vice versa. If you only focus on the company’s brand and prefer staying in the backdrop, there’s hardly any chance that people will relate to your business.
People always want to deal with people. And a strong personal brand helps you grow your business, in addition to growing your personality.
Myth #4: Personal brand is always positive
There are different ways in which people perceive us. We like some people, and relate with them. We also dislike some people and prefer to avoid them. What we think about others is their personal brand. People, however, believe that personal branding is always a positive thing.
I think this is mainly because the basic understanding of a personal brand is vague to most of us. Your personal brand is a reflection of your attributes. If your good qualities overpower your negative traits, you have a positive personal brand, and vice versa.
If you believe in a myth for a very long time, it tends to become true. So, clearly, believing strongly in myths prevents progression and development. If you think personal branding isn’t for you, you’re never going to explore it, you’re never going to bring out the best traits in yourself to grow both personally and professionally.