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Wendy Marx

Unfortunately, the term “personal branding” has been tarnished due to widespread misuse.

However, when correctly utilized, personal branding can transform an obscure figure into a recognized one. Conversely, when misapplied, it can resemble an inaudible shout lost in a windstorm.

Why does personal branding often backfire?

A prevalent misconception is that personal branding is about self-aggrandizement. Many individuals mistakenly assume that labelling themselves as “experts” will automatically engender respect and prestige. The truth, however, is that successful personal branding is not about amassing titles.

To help you navigate the path of personal branding, here are some common missteps to avoid:

1. Mistakenly believing it’s all about you

An impactful personal brand isn’t about singing your praises; it’s about providing valuable solutions to your audience’s problems. Always bear in mind that your clientele isn’t interested in your personal achievements; they want to know how you can assist them.

2. Attempting to Cater to Everyone

You can’t be a jack-of-all-trades. Trying to be everything to everyone is akin to an enormous buffet with an excessive variety of mediocre dishes – it leaves customers feeling overwhelmed, cheated, and bewildered.

Conversely, avoid confining yourself to a niche so narrow that you struggle to generate profit. Avoid niches that are too specific, like offering services only to left-handed people with birthmarks who fear public speaking.

3. Inconsistency

Inconsistency can cause confusion and dilute your brand. Take the example of a client I once advised named Myrna, who used various names and offered different services on different platforms. This lack of consistency caused confusion and weakened her brand.

4. Lack of Authenticity

Never feign expertise in an area where your knowledge is lacking. It’s transparent and counterproductive. Likewise, avoid projecting an image of flawlessness. Your audience wants to see your journey, complete with its highs and lows. This makes you relatable and human.

5. Ignoring Your Online Presence


Your online presence requires consistent management and updating. I’ve encountered clients who were unaware they had multiple LinkedIn profiles because they had created one years ago and neglected it.

An outdated or inactive online profile can give an impression that you’re no longer accomplishing anything noteworthy.

Personal branding, when implemented correctly, is an invaluable tool for professional development and success. By steering clear of these common missteps, you can protect and fortify your personal brand to ensure it serves you effectively.


What strategies have you found effective in establishing your personal brand? Kindly share your experiences in the comments section.

Photo by David Von Diema on Unsplash.



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Wendy Marx

Wendy Marx

Wendy Marx, author, coach and marketing and branding authority is the founder of Thriving at 50 Plus, a coaching program that helps baby boomers find more purpose and meaning in life. Wendy over the last 30 years has helped many business owners and executives become well-known, going from Anonymity to Industry Icon™. Her business articles have appeared in The New York Times, InformationWeek, Inc., Advertising Age, & Fast Company, among other outlets.

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