Rebranding Your Personal Brand: Easy Steps To Stage Your Personal Brand Turnaround
Jim Heininger's story originally appeared in Forbes: https://bit.ly/3gOGc3y
You’ve spent years building your personal brand to successfully position yourself in the marketplace so you can build business and seize the right career opportunities. If done correctly, it is your calling card that works hard to effectively introduce and market your unique differences. But dynamics can change, and you might find yourself needing to renew your personal brand due to a career change or job change, or simply the need to reinvent yourself for a rapidly changing digital economy.
“Rebranding” is redefining an organization’s brand in order to achieve strategic growth momentum. Individuals rebrand for the same reasons companies do. They proactively rebrand to set themselves on a more future-facing path, or they rebrand reactively because their brand is no longer relevant or faces challenges due to crisis (e.g., a layoff, termination or bad exposure).
I know something about rebranding a personal brand through my own recent efforts to better establish more consulting opportunities I find personally appealing. After 20 years in public relations agency leadership, I took on several corporate transformation assignments where I learned firsthand that engaging and motivating employees required more disciplined change management methodologies. I found that rebranding organizations was the perfect combination of these two disciplines—marketing communications and change management—and over several years led successful rebranding campaigns in industries ranging from healthcare to consumer electronics. By repositioning myself as a growth communicator, change activist and rebranding evangelist, it gave me air cover to pursue work in all three areas I enjoy: traditional marketing communications, change management and rebranding.
Here’s what I found to be the essential steps in reinventing oneself through a rebranded personal brand:
Start With Your Equities
Your experiences and accomplishments to date are essential assets in establishing your new brand. Evaluate which equities are strongest, and reframe them to best support your future positioning. Then, identify the newly acquired or adjacent capabilities that, when combined with your past, round out a new positioning that differentiates you in the market. Remember to keep it forward-facing, relevant to trends. People invest in the future, so your new positioning needs to reflect limitless opportunity ahead and not the past.
Write Your New Story
Rebranding means telling a new story, so craft a new personal mission statement. Remember that brands are both compelling and aspirational. Define this positioning in a few short, powerful words. Build the appropriate bridge connecting the best of your past to your future, articulating how your accomplishments are relevant and make you a stronger, differentiated expert in your new sphere. Get this story—some call it an elevator pitch—down straight, and practice delivering it comfortably. Vocalizing the story prepares you to deliver it authentically when the opportunity arises. Ensure that your new personal brand statement has the elasticity to accommodate future trends and personal growth. If you box your positioning in, you won’t be able to tell how your skills and experience are applicable in multiple settings.
Determine Your Leadership Voice
Identify the key characteristics of your new leadership voice that demonstrate the tone you want to be perceived for. Determine how you want audiences to feel when they hear your advice.
Now is the time to update the way you present yourself. What appearance illustrates the personal brand you’ve constructed? Whether it’s a new hairstyle, eyeglasses style or switch to contact lenses, weight loss, style makeover, teeth straightening or whitening, or presentation skills coaching, you’ll want people to see and experience a new you. It is especially important that old career contacts see a positive visual change that shows new energy and momentum.
Produce Brand Guidelines
Be your own brand manager. Outline the language, look, visual context, actions and settings that define how your brand will appear and how. Let these be your guardrails that ensure upfront that all communications and actions stay on brand.
Store Up Energy
The effort you are about to embark on will require superhero energy and effort. Ensure you are prepared to invest the extra time and dollars needed to relaunch correctly. Marketing yourself the same old way will not create a different result.
Develop a rebrand launch plan and timeline to reintroduce your new brand to existing contacts and enthusiastically position yourself to new contacts:
Forget the traditional headshot. Get new bio photos (yes, you need several) that convey a setting and actions to reflect your new positioning. If you’re now a food guru, take a photo in a kitchen, restaurant or colorful market. If you’re a litigator, stage photos in a courtroom.
Outline your ownable perspectives on industry issues, and illustrate them in diagrams to capture attention. Produce short videos introducing your capabilities and viewpoints.
Gather new images to use on your website and social media accounts that reflect your new positioning.
Update all profiles (LinkedIn, social media, website bios), and remember places like industry association membership bios that you might have created years ago.
Launch a new website, or overhaul your current one to follow the new brand content and guidelines.
Join the appropriate organizations that reflect your new positioning. Attend conferences, and meet industry leaders. Look for committee or leadership opportunities to accelerate your connections and visibility. Be present where your new stakeholders are found.
Seek out speaking engagements where your new message is compelling.
Prepare your own thought leadership pieces so that you have byline content to use the first six months. Seek out interviews in trade journals specific to your positioning.
Create a list of new influencers you need to follow and support online. Being seen and making new connections in a new sphere is important.
Remember, brands are authentic and ownable. Don’t create a new brand that you are not, but rather a forward-facing one that positively propels your future success.