One of the challenges of personal branding is staying focused. As we’ve talked about in the past, an effective brand is focused on a few traits or qualities. When you think Rolex, you think “expensive, high quality timepiece.” If Rolex sold cheap watches, their brand would be destroyed. Imagine the impact on the Wal-Mart brand if they began selling high end, expensive furniture. Or imagine if Taco Bell began selling hot dogs. In each of these cases, a strong, focused brand would be weakened by trying to do too much. The key to a strong brand is focus… and that goes for your personal brand as well.
If you’re hoping to build a strong personal brand, the first step is identifying the traits and qualities that you want your brand to consist of. For instance, maybe you’re going for “young, focused, witty marketing professional.” Once you’ve determined these qualities, you can think about driving them home. The key here, once again, is focus. Each interaction that you have is an opportunity to broadcast your personal brand—and that means you have many, many opportunities on a daily basis to stray from the core of your brand. Do your best to avoid sending mixed messages—if you’re trying to establish yourself as a dedicated and hard working employee in the mind of your boss, don’t contradict yourself. Don’t spend 15 minutes Monday morning complaining about how tired you are, even if your boss doesn’t mind—or is complaining himself. Stay focused on your message.
For many, the toughest part of establishing a personal brand is the realization that they can’t be an expert on every subject. Just as Rolex would destroy its brand by offering a watch for $19.99, you’ll destroy your brand if you try to be everything to everyone. If you’re a tax consultant, be an expert tax consultant. Don’t try to be a real estate advisor, stock market guru, and foreign policy expert—even if you are knowledgeable in these areas. A well rounded personality is great, but a well-rounded personal brand is meaningless.
The key to establishing your personal brand is consistency. Determine what you want your brand to stand for and resist the temptation to be an expert in everything. Focus on the core of your brand and drive it home… over and over and over.