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    How To Keep Your Personal Brand Intact: 10 Mistakes Women Business Leaders Should Avoid

    Last weekend I participated in a panel discussion on building your personal and business brand at the 2011 Successful Women’s Conference and Expo in Tampa, Florida. I was awed by the amazing and talented women I met—including other panelists, speakers, moderators and audience members. The questions posed were good ones, and while I didn’t always agree with the answers given by other panelists, it proved to be a great opportunity for spirited debate!

    As a woman entrepreneur and woman business leader, I have worked in a couple of different fields and all of them required the creation and nurturing of a “brand.” And now, as a branding specialist, I work with companies and organizations to develop and cultivate their brands. Through these experiences, I’ve created a laundry list of branding don’ts.  When incubating your own brand, keep this list handy. It may save you from making some branding blunders!

    Top 10 branding mistakes:

    1. You haven’t fully developed your personal brand and have no frame of reference with which to make decisions
      This is an easy mistake to make. Research the brands you admire, see how they promote the brand, and use it as a model for your brand. Remember, before you can promote your brand, make sure you have one!
    2. You don’t have a plan or road map on the value proposition for your brand
      You wouldn’t embark on a road trip or vacation without a plan, would you? Create an outline or a 5-year-plan and write down where you want to be in 6 months, a year, 5 years from now. Then do it!
    3. You are inconsistent
      Brands depend on loyalty, but how do they get it? By being consistent. Think about the brands you prefer and pay attention to packaging, messaging, product and voice. Most consumers depend on that consistency, and you can play on that too.
    4. Unprofessional behavior
      All we have to do is think about certain politicians and the photos and phone messages they left behind that ruined their careers. Today, you can’t afford to have racy photos or improper past statements popping up on Google. Keep your personal life personal and use appropriate judgment.
    5. No elevator speech
      You need to be succinct in what you are saying about yourself. It has happened to us all. We’re someplace, and we run into an icon or person of power in our industry. You have one chance to make an impression and you choke! No elevator speech. Get one and practice, practice, practice.
    6. No social media strategy
      The biggest mistake with social media is that you don’t have an integrated strategy. Today, everything is connected. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and all the rest are interconnected more than ever, so the use of careful judgment is crucial. One blunder can spread to all media in an instant.
    7. The “reply all” on your email
      Be careful not to engage in a rapid-fire response about a person or situation. We’ve all had that happen – Resist the temptation and DON’T send an email that could one day come back and bite you.
    8. Assuming that conversations are “off the record” when talking to media
      Nothing is ever off the record. Even at a cocktail party – arm in arm with your media “buddy.” Be very deliberate in what you tell reporters. Always think back to your core message and what you want people to know about you.
    9. Not truly understanding your own uniqueness
      We can become so overburdened by the everyday intricacies of life that we “forget” about what makes us special and different. Take a moment to think about how you’d describe yourself to someone who didn’t know you at all.  It may help you to recall what makes you, you.
    10. Not trusting your feminine intuition
      One of the greatest gifts you possess is your woman’s intuition. I know I rely on it often. It’s that “gut” feeling you get when something just doesn’t sit well with your sensibilities.

    This list comes from my more than 20 years of business experience, and believe me, I’ve made several of the mistakes listed. But, learning comes from failure. If you never fail, you will never learn. So, I hope you will learn from my experience and use the list to your advantage when creating your own brand. Next week, I will address successful tips for creating your brand.

    4 Responses to “How To Keep Your Personal Brand Intact: 10 Mistakes Women Business Leaders Should Avoid”

    1. Neal Alfano says:

      It’s all about Branding and Brand loyalty. Great post Roxanne. Reminds me of Marty Neumeier’s book Zag. I had the opportunity to see him speak and boy was I inspired! I love branding and everything it stands for.

    2. Sam says:

      Kudos on this post Roxanne. Men and women can take away some excellent pointers in the post. Keep them coming.

    3. [...] In addition, If you’d like to read more tips on branding, check out some of my other branding blogs: 7 Personal Branding Strategies for Women Business Leaders and How To Keep Your Personal Brand Intact: 10 Mistakes Women Business Leaders Should Avoid. [...]

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