Common Branding Mistakes You Should Avoid

Branding mistakes not to do in starting your business. According to Forbes and LearnVest, there are at least “6 Things That Could Be Hurting Your Personal Brand.” Whatever your business is or what company you work for, your personal brand is just as important as your business or company’s brand.

Let’s start with Social Media.

So you may (or may not) have an active social media presence. Maybe you started tweeting, liking, sharing, and pinning a few things. But… well, you know, “life got busy”, and your could’ve-would’ve-should’ve social media profile suffered from detrimental social sharing deficiency disorder. (Yes, that’s an actual condition that affects way too many social media profiles. I’m kidding. But it is a genuine concern and is a bad sign for personal brands.)

6 Worst Branding Mistakes

Below are six famous branding mistakes you must avoid.

Mistake #1: Letting your Social Media Profiles Go Stale

One biggest branding mistake is letting your social media profiles go stale. Why invest the time creating a profile, crafting your bio, and uploading a fantastic headshot. (that we all know required an elaborate series of cropping, by the way, to fit into that perfectly annoying profile picture square frame) just to tweet nothing to an audience of crickets? You know. That awkward sound when things are super awkwardly quiet. I’m emphasizing the awkwardness of stale profiles, obviously.

Piece of Advice: Who cares if you don’t know what to tweet about? So what if you don’t have a stellar marketing team that handles all of your social media “handles”?

Dive. In! Tweet. Like. Share. Go ahead and just pin. It.

Share your thoughts. Display your intelligence and sense of humor. (However, always respect others online and offline because there is no faster way to set yourself up for disaster than bashing others.

If you’re going to bash, keep your thoughts to yourself in your diary. And then bury it or burn it to avoid giving a diary thief (or your competition) a reason to blackmail you in the future.

There is nothing to lose as long as you are being yourself. Again, you don’t need to hire a marketing team to tweet for you. After all, you’re already a pro at being yourself.

Mistake #2: You Don’t Know Your Elevator Pitch

We have only one chance in every work to make a first impression. After that, it’s gone. This is true for in-person images as well as online prints.

So if you have only seven seconds to make an impression in person (depending on the speed of the internet), you may have more or less time to make an impression online.

Thanks to Google, your future employer, client, or business partner will know too many things about you before ever meeting you.

In fact, depending on how cohesively you brand yourself, your online presence might be a “make it or break it”. The decision for that potential employer, client, or business partner when they decide whether to reach out to you. So if you’re just starting to brand yourself, it’s a good idea to think about your “elevator pitch.”

“Er, what’s an elevator pitch?” You say.

You don’t have to be an entrepreneur or an executive with a fancy title to have an elevator pitch. An elevator pitch sounds intimidating but keeps in mind that you are not married to one elevator pitch.

Pitch Accordingly

When meeting someone new, don’t recite your experiences in chronological order. That’s what your LinkedIn profile is for. Spare the details so you can focus on maximizing relevancy.

When pitching, remember to focus on what you have in common with this new acquaintance and share only and only relevant details. Otherwise, this person will think you’re a bragger. Give them the “hook” and quickly ask them about them instead. And the more you know, the better equipped you are to position yourself to make a decent first impression.

Think Relevancy

When pitching, talk about things that matter. Something that your new acquaintance can relate to or value. Did you meet each other at a conference? Ask the other person to share thoughts on the keynote speaker’s presentation. Were you simply introduced through a mutual contact? Share how you met your mutual acquaintance and carve a conversation accordingly.

Mistake #3: Sharing the Wrong Content

There’s really no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ content per se. However, you should be able to deliver a pretty darn impressive elevator pitch by heart. Use your elevator pitch as a guide to help decide what types of content to share with your networks. So you say you’re an “innovator.”

Share articles on innovative technologies and businesses. Arguably, Google and Apple tend to be the leaders in that scope. So mentioning Google’s recent acquisition of DeepMind, a so-called “artificial intelligence,” and Apple’s patent-pending interest in a technology that reads users’ moods would surely impress your audience.

If you’ve pitched yourself as a “natural born leader,” then share inspiring quotes and thoughts of other “natural born leaders” you’d want to be associated with. Better idea? Connect with them on Twitter and retweet the inspiring thought leaders.

Mistake #4: You’re Stuck in a Title

It’s easy to play the roles we are expected to play. After all, every little detail about our fancy (or not so fancy) titles, including the company culture. We work in, and who we know in our networks kind-of-sort-of defines whether we like it.

However, that doesn’t mean we’re stuck in our closed networks if we don’t want to be there. Breakaway from time to time! We’ve all had survivor jobs. That’s what intelligent people do. Take a survivor job, exceed expectations, maintain relationships, and earn a few more valuable contacts that could open up other opportunities.

Or, if you are happily swimming in a specific niche, you can strategically take advantage of that niche to sharpen your personal brand. (Let me know if you want to learn more about strategic branding.)

Learn Forever

The best business people and most creative thinkers understand the necessity of continuous learning – not just in their specific industries. But – what’s happening in other industries and maybe even outside of the business world entirely?

Again, we are guilty of playing the roles we are expected to play. We automatically talk about what we think we’re supposed to talk about. Therefore we share content that we really don’t care to share just because everyone else in our field or industry is posting, liking, sharing, tweeting, and thumbs-upping.

So how do you really stand out? By not sharing the same content.

Instead, talk about things you do care about. This is your opportunity to show who you are and what you’re really about.

So if you’re not happy with your current job, don’t get stuck branding yourself with a title you don’t want. Remember, you are your best branding expert whose mission is to promote and market yourself. So think about your 5-year plan. Imagine yourself as that super successful woman (or man) and brand yourself as that innovator, leader, creator, or inventor. Show your skills and vision. Envision a future you.

Mistake #5: You Don’t Have Your Own Website or Blog

Picking the Right Domain Name. Depending on how you brand yourself and how sophisticated you’ve developed your brand, it may or may not be the right time to purchase your domain name as your (Oh, and if that’s already taken, good luck finding something decent that you’ll want to commit to forever. Choosing a domain name is like choosing a tattoo.)

So the obvious argument here is to just go ahead and buy that domain with your first and last name. Yeah, just to own it. However, a counterargument would be, “Why buy a domain if you’re not going to use it? It’ll just be a waste of money.”

With that said, you can get away with not buying your domain name just yet… and perhaps you’ll think of something creative in the future that’ll be more exciting than your (Maybe something like or the name of your business or company.

You should consider owning the right domain name because what if you start your own business or company in the future? Your competitor buys the beloved domain you should’ve purchased just to post negative things about you on the site. Or what if someone else purchased a domain name you should’ve bought sooner just to sell it back to you for an exponentially large amount of dollars?

Mistake #6: Your Online Persona

Your Online Persona Doesn’t Reinforce Who You Are In Person. This is the simplest and easiest but most crucial mistake not to make with your personal brand. Whoever you say you are online should reflect who you are offline and in person. A brand is not really a brand if it is not authentic. (Like that thought? Tweet it.)

If you say you’re a visionary, others will expect you to act and speak like one in person. Nothing will throw anyone off more than mismatching online and offline personalities.

So there you are, Six branding mistakes not to make with your personal brand.


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