When you really think about it, your personal brand is kind of like a ship you’ve built for yourself. Similar to a sailing vessel, you laid the blueprints and executed its building. When it’s finally set to sea, you’re left captaining it. But maintaining and managing your personal brand requires more energy than most want to admit.
Even the most successful brands take on water at times — from the personal brands of celebrities and thought leaders, to the corporate brands we’ve come to know and love. Seeing other brands experience trials and tribulations often leads you to wonder about your own. You may not be experiencing anything large scale, but there might be a few cracks to consider for future longevity.
Like a small leak on a boat, there are a variety of ways to tell if your brand is sinking. Here’s how:
1. Use your intuition. If you’ve developed a stand-out personal brand, you likely have keen business sense. Take a moment to consider the recent health of your personal brand — does anything look a little funny? If you’re having any doubts or strange feelings, it might be time to dig deeper and consider making a few adjustments.
2. Take a look at your target audience. There may have been a recent change in your target audience. A simple way to tell if your brand is in trouble is through gathering insight from those who matter most to it. Has your audience reach been on a steady decrease or is there less two-way communication recently? You might not be reaching those you originally sought to, and it may be time for you to reposition yourself or reevaluate the specifics for your target audience.
3. Consider the commentary. What are others saying about your personal brand? While you can’t set up a Yelp account for your personal brand, you can consider a variety of sources for feedback if you’re worried about your brand. Spend time evaluating comments you’ve received on recent blogs, conversations you’ve been having in forums, and consider setting a Google Alert for your name. Do your best to develop and maintain a 360-degree of your brand. If you’re receiving a lot negativity, it may be time to act accordingly.
4. You’re experiencing radio silence. Have the crickets been chirping lately? If you experience a lack of interaction, leads, or general communication, it’s definitely time to check your personal brand for a pulse. Things do slow down at times, but something has usually gone wrong if you experience long-term bouts of calm. It may be time to develop a new marketing strategy.
5. Your brand’s vision is foggy. Sometimes the hustle of maintaining your brand can cause you to lose sight of your original vision. Spend time getting back to your roots, and then take a look at the future — is your brand still headed in the same direction? As your brand grows, you will have to adapt the changes into a long-term plan for success. This means utilizing new social channels and expanding your reach.
6. You’ve lost consistency. If you’ve been bouncing all over the place lately, it might be time to send your brand back to the drawing board. Consistency is one of the most important elements of a personal brand. No one enjoys interacting with an inconsistent brand, because it leaves them wondering what to expect. Solidify your stances and actively maintain them both online and offline.
7. You’re distracted. Sadly, your personal brand doesn’t get to take a day off. If you’ve been busy and slightly distracted, there’s a good chance your personal brand could be a suffering from it. Grab the reins before it’s too late.
Don’t let your personal brand take the plunge. Utilize these methods to tell if it’s time to take action!
Have you experienced a brand in trouble? What changes were made?
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.