Personal Branding for Women – pitfalls to avoid

As a businesswoman, I am passionate about personal branding for women.  

As a passionate businesswoman, I understand the desire for greater career success, the need to prove oneself and the constant quest for progress, and I get excited when I meet other women who are looking to make a difference in the world of business.

Yet I’ve also noted how many of these women struggle to find ways to differentiate themselves and demonstrate their value in the workplace, not because they lack talent or opportunity, but because we tend to fall prey to a few misconceptions about ourselves as women.

Here are three pitfalls terms of personal branding (and marketing) for women, and how to avoid them:

  • Thinking that being a good listener means we should never speak up. As women we tend to pride ourselves on being great listeners. But being a good listener doesn’t mean you give up the right to have an opinion. The most effective personal brands are built by people who know both how to listen well and to express themselves in a real way so that they are heard too.

  • Undervaluing personal relationships. Women are sometimes criticised for being too relational in the workplace, and yet many women are gifted at making emotional connections very quickly. Learn to see this as a strength and use it to build deep, mutually-beneficial networks.

  • Suffering from the superwoman syndrome. Many women believe that building and marketing a personal brand means they either have to be superwoman or pretend to be her. Nothing is further from the truth. People are drawn to genuine brands, but can spot a fake quickly. By being yourself, vulnerabilities and all, you create emotional connections – the key to a successful brand.

Remember, personal branding means being deliberate in cultivating how others see you by focusing on your USP (unique selling proposition), how you position yourself relative to colleagues and competitors and how you ‘package’ yourself in an authentic and noticeable way that makes you stand out. Personal branding is about self-knowledge – understanding what differentiates you from others with similar qualifications and experience. It’s not about being someone you’re not.

About the author
Donna is a branding and marketing specialist who uses her passion and 25 years of experience in strategy, marketing and change management to empower people and teams to achieve breakthrough results. She is also author of the best-selling book, Branding & Marketing YOU, the first South African-based personal branding and marketing book, and her newly released second book, Branding & Marketing You through Teams. Branding and Marketing You through Teams is available in bookstores, on Amazon.comand as an e-book, and directly from The recommended retail price is R230; ISBN Number 978-0-620-57789-2. For more information, visit