Marketing: getting the message out there about your brand and your value to encourage audience engagement and drive business growth through sales and reputation. With so many ways to market, it can sometimes be confusing or overwhelming to pick an approach. An effective personal branding strategy employs different messaging techniques and tests them for effectiveness. There are some approaches that may work but have an unintended downside. Here are 5 that you should consider avoiding.
1. Repetition Repetition Repetition
Attention spans are short, and it takes very little for your audience to move on. While it’s important to make sure that your message is loud and clear, attempting to accomplish this by saying the same thing over and over can lead to glazed eyes. Repetition can help your message stick, and some items like tag lines and calls to action can make multiple appearances in your marketing campaign. However, bogging your copy down with many ways of saying the exact same thing does little to engage the reader. It’s always preferable to be clear and to the point: say it once, and say it well.
It can be tempting to fudge a little to add some extra shine to your marketing. After all, you want your message to put your business in the best possible light. However, it’s simply too easy to fact-check, and if your claims are refutable, then you can lose critical credibility with your audience. Additionally, your marketing efforts should ultimately enhance your brand and encourage sales. Unhappy customers who had expectations based on your marketing can cause exponential harm to your business. Focus on your unique value proposition and emphasize your true worth.
There can be such a thing as bad publicity, and sometimes a negative issue becomes part of the business narrative. Using distraction, a marketing effort can ask the audience to focus on another, hopefully positive, issue entirely. But a tap dance performance to draw attention away from a negative issue does not address that issue, and its potential consequences will eventually be felt. Finding a constructive way to meet a challenge head on will go much further in building brand credibility than burying it with a flurry of other topics. Own your challenges and transform them into opportunities.
4. Playing Off Fear
Fear is a well-established marketing tactic. It helps create a sense of urgency that drives your audience to look for a solution, which you happen to provide. But fear can go too far. The message “act now or the world will come to an end” lacks credibility. Also, focusing on the negative consequences of inaction, you are missing out on the opportunity to develop a positive association with your brand. Your potential customers are wound up to make a quick, reactive “fight or flight” choice, which does little to enhance your long-term relationship with them. Use messages that inspire trust and convey expertise instead of fear.
We see it all the time: a negative marketing campaign that dwells on the weaknesses of the competition. The trouble with creating this narrative is that your audience is now sensitized to the issue, and if, in fact, your own business suffers from this weakness, it will come back to haunt you. If you know you aren’t the cheapest solution, don’t call the others expensive. If you have a specific scope of capabilities, don’t say the others can’t meet all needs. While you want to distinguish yourself from the competition, you should avoid setting a standard that you may not be able to meet. When marketing, be sure of your brand’s capabilities before making comparisons to the competition.
The essence of marketing is to distill a message and convey to your audience why the message is important to them. Instead of employing marketing gimmicks as a short-cut to brand awareness and quick sales results, focus on authenticity, opportunity, and strength to build a personal branding strategy with longevity and long-term success.
© 2020 Jennifer Dalton
Jen Dalton is a personal brand specialist with entrepreneurship in her DNA. She helps business owners and executives define how they show up as leaders, make the most of their strengths and tend to their legacy, growth and visibility. The author of two books, frequent speaker, podcaster and “Purpose Sherpa,” Jen is a critical resource for any person or company that wants to define their brand and differentiate themselves in authentic, credible, and relevant ways to the market.
“5 Essentials for Every Thought Leader’s Marketing Toolkit”: https://www.brandmirror.com/2019/12/18/5-essentials-for-every-thought-leaders-marketing-toolkit/
“5 Ways a Start-Up Founder Can Increase Visibility”: https://www.brandmirror.com/2019/11/16/5-ways-a-start-up-founder-can-increase-visibility/
“5 Ways to Increase Your Content and Build Your Personal Brand”: https://www.brandmirror.com/2019/06/24/5-ways-to-increase-your-content-and-build-your-personal-brand-2/