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5 Personal Branding Paradoxes You Must Address

Personal branding is a complex concept that requires careful consideration and attention. As an internal communication leader who believes that organizations are an amalgamation of employees as personal brands, I’ve seen firsthand the benefits that come from investing time and effort into building a strong personal brand.

Recently, I was invited by a large energy major in Poland to conduct a personal branding workshop for their IT managers and leaders. While the team is doing a great job with effectively delivering projects – as a group and individually; they were struggling to manage perceptions among stakeholders about their contributions and impact. It led to stakeholders believing a different narrative based on what they heard from other sources. Also, it resulted in lower levels of importance given to the work done by the local team. This fed a vicious cycle of lower confidence in the team’s abilities and lesser work coming in.

Did each of the team know they had a personal brand? Mostly, Yes.

Did they know what it stood for and what impact it had on others around them, especially stakeholders? The answer is No.

  • How could each of the managers and leaders develop, distinguish and establish their credibility within the firm and influence how the team was perceived?
  • What could the team do to raise its profile among stakeholders using elements of personal branding?
  • How could each of them build an action plan to communicate with clarity, stay consistent, and be committed to building their personal brands while improving the collective impact of the team?

First, the maturity of the organization and leaders impressed me because of their openness to the need for personal branding. Despite the cultural barriers and perceptions that ‘personal branding’ is about boasting and self-promotion, there was interest to appreciate what this approach entailed.

Second, the passion and commitment of the managers and leaders blew my mind. It was very evident that they realized the relevance and importance of personal branding and how it could add value to their professional development, change perceptions, and advance careers.

The workshop raised some interesting paradoxes because of the backgrounds, cultural expectations, personalities, and personal styles. There are several paradoxes that often arise when it comes to personal branding. Let’s explore these paradoxes and how to navigate them successfully.

Paradox 1: If I am doing well at work, why must I consider personal branding?

It’s true that doing well at work is essential for career success. However, personal branding isn’t just about promoting yourself; it’s about creating a clear and compelling narrative around your skills and expertise. By developing a strong personal brand, you can build your reputation as an expert in your field, which can help you attract new opportunities, expand your network, and increase your influence within your organization. Personal branding isn’t about the external world; your internal credibility matters immensely.

Paradox 2: If I am known among the circle of people that matter, why should I be on social media, including enterprise social media?

While it’s great to be known among the people who matter, social media provides an opportunity to expand your reach beyond your immediate circle. By building a presence on social media, you can connect with others in your industry, share your insights and ideas, and build your reputation as a thought leader. You can also use enterprise social media to establish your personal brand within the organization.

Paradox 3: If I haven’t yet started, is it too late for me to build my personal brand?

It’s never too late to start building your personal brand. In fact, many successful professionals have reinvented themselves and their careers by developing strong personal brands. The key is to start where you are and focus on building your expertise, adding value to your network, and communicating your progress authentically and consistently.

Paradox 4: If I engage authentically and consistently, do I need to know how I am faring?

While it’s important to engage authentically and consistently, it’s also essential to measure your progress. By tracking your metrics, such as your social media engagement, website traffic, or speaking engagements, you can identify what’s working and what’s not and adjust your strategy accordingly. Measuring your progress can help you stay focused and motivated as you work towards your personal branding goals.

Paradox 5: If my work speaks for itself, why must I showcase it among stakeholders?

While your work may speak for itself, showcasing it among stakeholders can help you build your reputation and increase your influence. By communicating your progress and sharing your insights, you can demonstrate your expertise and build trust with your network. This, in turn, can help you attract new opportunities and advance your career.

Personal branding is a powerful tool for building your reputation, expanding your network, and increasing your influence. To navigate the paradoxes of personal branding successfully, focus on building your expertise, adding value, reinventing yourself while gaining clarity of purpose, staying committed, and living consistently with your values. Remember to measure your progress, stay authentic, and communicate your progress with the world you want to improve. By doing so, you can build a strong personal brand that will help you achieve your career goals and make a positive impact in your industry. In turn, it will create a positive ripple effect for your team and organization. That’s only if the organization is mature enough to appreciate it.

Like the article? Do share your comments. 

Keen to learn more about personal branding? 

• Take the Personal Branding 101 course on Thinkific: 

• Read my book – Get Intentional on personal branding for professional success and personal advancement. 

• Join the Personal Branding Series: Drop me a note.

• Take a free assessment: 

• Chat with Aniisu on Personal Branding: 

Want to raise the profile of your team and organization from the inside-out? Learn more on how I can help you achieve your goals:

Looking for articles to kick-start your Personal Branding journey? Here they are!

– Personal Branding – the why, what, and how of differentiating yourself

– Reflections to demystify Personal Branding

– Add Value to the World, Build your Personal Brand

– Personal Branding: 6 Reasons that Might Be Holding You Back

– Clarity, Commitment, and Consistency: Key to Personal Branding

Keen to participate in the ongoing Interview Series on Personal BrandingInternal Communications or CSR Communications and share your expertise? Drop me a note at [email protected] 

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