Four Biggest Personal Branding Myths

Personal branding is big business today; a search on the topic brings up hundreds of books, advice columns and branding consultants. Here are the four biggest personal branding myths and the truth you need to heed. We’ll also address where these myths come from and the small kernels of truth within them.

Your Brand Has to Be Your Name

One example of someone who mastered the principle of personal branding is Sam Ovens, online marketing consultant and founder of He talked about it in an interview with Mixergy. In this interview with Sam Ovens, he and Andrew Warner discuss the importance of controlling a web domain that clearly communicates what your business does and who you are. This means having a blog based on your name, your business name, your niche or your unique brand. You can set up a domain for your niche whether vegan mommy, Shariah banking in the EU or Christian activist without it being your name. However, once you create that brand name, you need to use it across all of your professional social media profiles to build brand recognition.

Your Personal Brand Has to Be All of You

While there is a bad trend of saying everything has to be political and the personal is political, this is not true. It is true that your brand should be authentic, not fake. However, you don’t have to bring all that you are to your brand. You should not mix the political with your brand unless relevant, and you shouldn’t bring everything personal into your personal branding.

If you are a Mom blogger, the fact that you have children is relevant to your brand. In this case, do share the fun stories of raising your children with your worldview or the travails of your particular niche. If you are teaching personal finance within a particular ethos, your ethics are relevant to your brand. Your opinions on every local political issue and marital problems are not. If your personal brand is built on a professional niche such as the geology of oil and gas formations or IT security for small business, you should keep your personal life out of the brand and only discuss political matters of interest to your following. This is where discussing regulatory changes that impact your industry is relevant, but complaining about social justice warriors or ulcerative colitis isn’t.

You Have to Be an Extrovert to Have a Personal Brand

If you want to be in face to face sales or marketing, yes, you need to be an extrovert. However, personal branding is certainly possible for introverts. Creating a coordinated set of social media accounts, sharing relevant articles with a few quality comments, and writing an occasional professional blog is within the reach of all introverts. Liking content about your niche or interests and sharing a few of those articles under your profiles generates positive attention and social connections without having to actually meet people. If you’re an introvert who can write, you can reach many by blogging about your area of expertise and what you want to promote as part of your personal brand without ever leaving home or the office.

Personal Branding and Corporate Branding Are Two Separate Things

This depends on the business and the person. In the case of celebrities like the Kardashians or Dave Ramsey (if you want examples as far away from each other as possible), they are their brand. The personal brand is the company brand. Business owners can cultivate a personal brand that includes the business, but a broader range of things, such as the chef who runs a restaurant having a broader brand based on that type of cuisine. A CEO can have a personal brand that overlaps with the company, but includes other subjects as well.

Personal branding can be a difficult concept to grasp for the layman, but once you understand the basic principles, you can start working towards a better brand image for you and your business.

Photo Credit: MarcelaPalma Flickr via Compfight cc