In business, people don't establish relationships with companies - they're seeking to work with other people, individuals who share their values and understand their professional needs. As such, taking time to establish your personal brand is an essential part of any successful career.
But once you create your personal brand, how do you keep it growing? It's easy as long as you avoid these common mistakes.
1. Forgetting to market yourself in good times and in bad
Promoting oneself is often easy when it comes to periods of great prosperity - but what about when things go poorly?
Of course, this is a challenge for many smart marketers who are looking to stay relevant during times of economic and business turmoil. However, it's imperative to look at this uncertainty as an opportunity to adapt your message and re-establish yourself as a trusted thought leader.
Marketing yourself during bad times requires you to communicate to your key constituencies while addressing some of your industry's issues. By providing innovative solutions, you can set yourself apart as a person that can be depended on despite what the current business environment may look like.
2. Forgetting that you are your best salesperson
No matter what your position at your company - be it the administrative assistant or the CEO - you're always advertising your brand, whether you realize it or not.
Think about it - every interaction with a customer, co-worker or even your boss offers cues to who you are as a person. Do you keep your promises? Do you admit your mistakes and hold yourself accountable for your actions? Are you reliable when it comes to deadlines?
Even if you never utter a word, other are constantly judging you based on these factors, and as such, it's imperative to make sure that your deeds and words are consistent in order to build your personal brand. Be sure to toot your horn to make sure others see your accomplishments, but then back it up with your actions.
3. Ignoring that people "buy" you because they connect with you
Remember that relationships serve as the cornerstone of every business deal, and as such, understanding your clients can help you stand apart from your competitors. This means not only being able to list their company's business needs, but also recognizing their emotional ones too.
Be sure to ask them not only about how things are going on the job but also in their world away from the office. You don't need to know all the details of their personal life, but noticing if they're having a bad day or celebrating their achievements can go a long way towards building lasting loyalty.
4. Failing to have your plan B ready
Having a contingency plan in place is an important part of any branding effort - it not only gives you much needed confidence but it also allows you the flexibility to make sound decisions regarding your clients, even if you have to do so quickly.
Of course, it's impossible to plan for every scenario, that's why you have to view every situation is a chance to learn and grow. After all, sometimes the most innovative solutions comes from personal failures.
If this happens, take a deep breath and reach out to your affected customers, then get back in the race and begin anew, stronger and wiser than before.
5. Focusing too much to the voices in your head
We've all heard them, the occasional voices that pop up in our heads telling us that something isn't good enough, or that we're going to fail. But we shouldn't always believe what we hear.
The truth is, nothing stifles motivation more than negative thinking. This is why you need to be mindful when it happens to keep it from sabotaging your personal brand.
So when you hear these thoughts, ask yourself, 'Are they rational?' 'Do they come from a place of fear or uncertainty?' 'Would you accept these comments if they came from someone else?' If the answer is yes, then take time out to address the concerns. Otherwise, give yourself permission to embrace the unknown before tackling the new task before you.
Key Takeaway for Personal Brand Building
Having a healthy personal brand is one of the best ways to maintain a successful career. To ensure your brand's continued strength, you have to take steps to protect it from self-sabotage - be sure to plan for unexpected industry downturns while nourishing relationships with your customers. Remember, also, that you are your best salesperson, and that deals are closed by both your words and actions. And finally, be sure to not dwell on negative thoughts as they serve as potential roadblocks to your ultimate success.
This post originally appeared on Bryan Kramer's blog.