Rebranding isn’t something new.
Businesses do it all the time for a number of reasons.
Maybe the brand is no longer serving its purpose, or maybe it’s looking a little tired and needs a refresh.
There’s a whole host of reasons why businesses choose to give their image a shake up.
However, learning how to rebrand a company, is very different to rebranding yourself personally.
So can people do the same?
What Is A Personal Brand?
You are a brand in your own right.
You’re unique, and your individual characteristics are what sets you apart from everyone else..
Think about how your friends see you.
Are you always the one that’s organised and plans every meal/ trip, or are you super laid back and just follow the rest of the group?
These characteristics define who you are and influence how you present yourself to the rest of the world.
But do you want to change this perception?
Is your current image no longer fitting of who you are?
You can control how you promote yourself and the story you tell. Through your actions, behaviour, words, and attitude you can create an external depiction of your character that is based on what you want people to think.
Being aware of how you portray yourself to others helps manage your personal brand and your reputation.
Why Is Personal Branding Important in Business?
Before the glory days of technology, your personal brand was basically your business card.
You would attend an exhibition or two, and leave this pretty card with potential customers or clients.
This was all they really had to remember you by, and was the only impression they got of your brand. They couldn’t go home and snoop on your social media channels or plug your name into google, all they had was the experience of meeting you.
Now, the world of snooping has been turned upside down!
We live in a public world, and people can find things out about your business by spending a couple of hours researching. Nowadays, every small thing is discussed online, so if there’s anything you’re not proud of, it could come to the surface.
You’re far less anonymous than you would have been even a few years ago.
However, your personal brand can do wonders for your business, if you harness it in the right way. You can influence how people see you, and ensure you present yourself in a favourable light.
By understanding how to brand yourself professionally, you can instill a sense of trust from potential customers or clients. Let them know who they are investing in, not just what they are investing in.
Using your personality and experience can be a very powerful tool in business and can set you apart from your competitors.
Why Do People Choose to Rebrand?
Maybe you’re really well known for one particular thing.
It could be that everyone knows you’re a great accountant and you’ve always worked in finance. You’re good with money and you’ve worked in the profession for as long as you can remember. But, you’re ready for something new. A totally different challenge.
You’re bored of just being known as the ‘accountant’ and want to try a more creative role.
You know you’re ready, but how do you convince other people you’re serious about it?
We’ll go into more detail on this later in the post, so keep reading!
You might need to rebrand to distance yourself from something negative. Perhaps something that happened in the past that you’re not proud of but it’s still hindering you professionally.
As mentioned above, it can be difficult to totally erase these things because of social media.
The alternative is to rebrand, and position yourself in a more positive light.
A famous face who springs to mind here is Spencer Matthews. Now if you’re not familiar with reality TV, this face might not be as famous to you!
As an avid watcher of Made In Chelsea, I’ve followed the lives of these privileged 20 somethings for the last decade. Sad, I know, but it’s my guilty pleasure.
During his time on screen, Spencer was known for partying, drinking, and being untrustworthy. He certainly wasn’t a popular member of the cast, and as a brand, he didn’t promote a good image at all. His behaviour was reckless, and he lacked commitment in anything.
Bringing it up to speed, he’s since left Made In Chelsea and got himself a totally new life and a totally new image.
He looks healthy, happy, and he’s ditched drinking altogether. He’s even brought out his own Gin alternative called ‘CleanCo’ which is very successful. It’s a low-alcohol drink which aims to make people feel like they can still socialise, without the negative effects of drinking.
Spencer is the face of the brand, and features heavily across the website. In every photo, he looks healthy and barely recognisable compared to his days on reality TV.
He’s also married and has two young children. His family and his clean drinking brand cover his social media, and he’s now well thought of as a family man and a loyal husband.
Even as a true fan of Made In Chelsea, I sometimes forget that he used to be on the show- and, how negative my perception of him was.
Spencer Matthews has reinvented his personal brand by distancing himself from the show and aligning himself with a cleaner, healthier lifestyle that people want to buy into.
How to Rebrand Yourself
Although it’s difficult for businesses to rebrand, it’s even more difficult for individuals to do it.
Human beings are complex, and we don’t have a logo or a catchy slogan to differentiate ourselves.
We are the brand, and reinventing ourselves is a careful process. It needs to be well thought out and strategic.
After all, what are you trying to achieve? What is the purpose of your rebrand?
You need to get others on board, and convince them to take you seriously.
If you’ve been perceived a certain way for so long, this image will be fairly solid in people’s minds. You can’t just click your fingers and erase people’s perceptions.
You need to change how people think of you through your behaviour and your attitude.
Understanding this process will allow you to be who you want to be and will encourage others to believe you’re genuine.
Define Your Goals
Before anything else, think about what you’re trying to achieve.
If you’re moving from one department to another in your existing company, you need to identify what skills you’re missing for that particular role.
It’s important you understand what’s required of you to be considered credible.
Ask if you can shadow someone who already works in that job role and learn skills from observing them. Or you might decide to go back to university and do a course that will benefit you in your new career path and give you the necessary skills.
The most important thing is to take your new direction seriously.
Let’s take the Accountant wanting to work in a creative role for example.
We’ll say Graphic Design.
You can’t work in finance one minute, then design the next.
Whilst there will be some transitional skills between the two roles, such as attention to detail, organisation, and time management, design requires a suite of other skills too.
You need to appreciate this before jumping ship.
You can’t expect people to believe in your rebrand if you don’t spend time learning about what’s required of you. It can be a long process and requires genuine time, motivation, and attention. You’re learning a new craft, and you want to be considered an expert in your field.
This won’t be possible if you go into it half-heartedly.
Identify Your USP’s
Understanding your unique selling points will help you tap into potential customers when it comes to your personal rebrand.
What can you offer them that no one else can?
Your USP’s are what makes people remember you and what makes you different to everyone else.
Consider what skills, experiences, and characteristics you have that can be used to your advantage.
Maybe you’re known for having a distinctive hair colour which makes you more memorable and draws people towards you. You could incorporate this into your brand as it sets you apart from other people.
Being the face of your brand is a powerful tool as people buy into other people. Creating a brand image which is distinctive and unique enhances your chance of getting noticed and creates a connection between you and your audience.
You can play on these USP’s in your rebrand to create a strong identity.
Kyary Pamyu pops into mind here.
The Japanese singer has gone global and has caught attention worldwide. Even those not interested in Japanese pop music know who she is and instantly recognise her.
Because of her distinctive image.
From elaborative and wacky outfits such as clown costumes, huge bows, and electric pink shoes, she breaks the boundaries of fashion.
She has attracted huge amounts of attention internationally and has successfully created a powerful personal brand that plays on her unique image.
No one is going to invest in you if they can’t trust you.
So you’ve reinvented yourself and got a great, new product.
In order to make people believe it’s a great product you need to instill a sense of trust. Show them it’s worth their time and investment, especially if you’re now operating in a new industry.
Make sure you attend relevant events, have an online presence, post customer reviews, and be active on social media. Speaking at industry events is also a great way to publicly share your knowledge and position you as an expert.
This helps broaden your reputation and educates customers about your offering.
Basically it’s your job to get your name out there and get your product or service talked about.
To add further credibility, you should align yourself with leading organisations in your field. Reach out to them and see if there’s any way you can collaborate. Making these connections will not only increase your visibility, but will also make you be seen as more respected.
It’s unlikely your old brand will ever completely disappear (another thing to thank social media for) but by taking a strategic approach to your personal branding, you can create a compelling story that explains how you’re evolved.
The more connections you make and the more value you offer people, the more your new brand will be known and sought after.
The key is to solidify your rebrand and make your name widely known.
This can be a little tricky when it comes to your existing network but it’s not impossible.
They know the old you, and are familiar with what that used to mean. It’s your job to convince them that you’ve changed, whether that’s your image, your product, or your service offering.
Thankfully in this sense, social media can actually work in your favour. We all have hundreds of ‘friends’ on Facebook, and numerous vague connections on LinkedIn so people might not be paying that much attention to you.
They can’t keep up with every change in your life, and this provides the perfect gap to reinstate yourself with your new identity.
You can use this space to strategically re-educate your friends, colleagues, and business acquaintances as they’re the ones you need to invest in your new image.
Whether that’s buying your products, recommending your services, or providing job leads, you need to ensure people have the right perception of you.
To start, you should make sure all of your platforms are up to date and consistent. Do you have a really old photo of your LinkedIn which looks nothing like you?
Is your previous job title still on your LinkedIn?
This can be confusing and doesn’t solidify your rebrand.
Next, you should reach out to contacts and tell them about your new direction. Get them on board, and explain what this new direction means for you.
The crucial part of reintroducing yourself is being open and honest with your contacts. You need to ensure they are being told the right message as this builds up their current perception.
In comparison, meeting new clients should be a dream.
They never knew your old brand so will take you at face value. The image you present them with is the image they’ll believe.
Take advantage of this and attend industry trade shows and events to build up your network further.
Match Your Behaviour With Your Values
The secret to success when it comes to your personal branding is consistency.
How you behave says alot about you as a person, and influences whether or not people will invest in you. You’re trying to create an external depiction of your character so it’s key you act in a way that reflects this.
Two people can do the same behaviour yet it will elicit a different reaction.
For example, if a politician was caught doing drugs it would be an absolute scandal and would make front page news. It would be detrimental to their character and the public would be shocked. This is because it doesn’t fit in with their personal branding and what’s expected in the job role.
On the flip side, if a rock star got caught taking drugs it wouldn’t even be news, never mind splashed across the paper. This is very tieing with their brand image and people almost expect this to happen. It wouldn’t come as a surprise and solidifies the perception we have.
Now I’m not saying you’re a politician or rockstar, but you still need to be aware of your personal branding.
It holds a lot of weight when it comes to persuading people to invest.
If you own a small business and talk about how much you care for customers, then this should be obvious.
You should exhibit fantastic customer service and have a solid reputation for putting customers first.
This includes posting customer reviews, being responsive, and engaging with customers both online and offline.
Address Negative Perceptions
As with the Spencer Matthews case, maybe you’re rebranding to move away from an old persona.
Whether it’s a switch in your appearance, interests, or beliefs, people change all of the time and your current brand may no longer be fitting. Maybe you don’t want to be seen as that person anymore and your outlook on life has changed.
But how do you stop other people from still seeing you as that person?
You need to be aware of the content you’re putting out online. Whether you have your own website, blog, or social media, your content says alot about you even down to what accounts you interact with.
Be aware of this and interact with accounts which promote you in the way you want. This helps people build up the right image of you and supports your rebranding efforts.
You should also be aware of what you’re talking about publicly. Is it controversial? Are you touching on topics that could open you up to criticism? What you show interest in should align with your values and what you’re trying to achieve from your rebrand.
It all contributes to a bigger picture and positions you in the eyes of others.
For this section, I’ll touch on Piers Morgan. Love him or hate him, he’s been a serious talking point over the last year.
Before his rants on Good Morning Britain, Piers Morgan was linked to the phone hacking scandal during his time as Editor of the Daily Mirror. Despite denying ever hacking a phone, his name was tarnished and it was this story that jumped out when you mentioned his name.
Bringing it up to 2015, he was hired as a presenter on Good Morning Britain. Never one to mince his words, Morgan was ruthless and spoke his mind.
Yet in 2020, he became a figure of admiration, holding British politicians to account for their response to the pandemic.
He was a front runner in supporting the NHS throughout COVID and passionately argued for their rights.
The public genuinely supported Morgan and believed he was a spokesperson for the British people. They put their trust in him and backed his argument.
What a u-turn!
Whilst he remains a controversial figure, you can’t deny the media comeback of Piers Morgan and the power of his rebranding.
By aligning himself with popular topics, turning against politicians, and speaking in the interest of the public, he positioned himself as a hero.
A great way to build up your reputation is to take advantage of online branding.
Platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest are all great tools when it comes to growing your network. Make sure you’re reaching out and engaging with relevant people as this will open up more doors for you.
Be sure to like posts, comments on posts and share their content across your own social media. This increases the likelihood that they will share your content across their channels which will be seen by their followers.
A great habit to get into is adding someone as a connection on social media as soon as you’ve met them. You might have come into contact at an exhibition or networking event but didn’t have time to discuss your business further.
By adding them on social media, you can follow this up and identify opportunities for collaboration.
There’s also so many formats you can take advantage of when it comes to online branding. The more ways you can get your name out there, the better.
Think about producing videos, photos, blogs, and reviews to engage with your audience. To create a coherent brand, all of these formats should be consistent. It’s not enough to behave in a way that is consistent with your portrayal, but all visual communications need to reflect your brand too.
Consider the colour choices you’re using, the layout, and the language. Do they reflect the right image? Do they convey the message you want people to have?
As with any brand, personal or business, it needs to be remembered and it needs to be memorable.
How Can Personal Branding Influence Others?
Your personal brand is what makes you stand out against other people.
You need a strong personal brand to be considered influential, as you need people to believe in you. By using your personal brand, you can share your knowledge and expertise of a particular subject.
When it comes to advertising, this is extremely beneficial.
Consumers are becoming more savvy and more conscious of their buying decisions. They are less likely to invest in an advert than they are in a person.
They want to feel that human connection and a sense of trust. This is much stronger in driving their decision to purchase a product.
Customers want to see the person behind the brand, which has caused businesses to rethink how they market themselves.
Introducing… influencer marketing.
I’m sure you will have seen it on instagram at some point. This involves a prominent person within a particular niche, distributing content on their own channels to influence others to buy.
Because it’s a person recommending a product or service, people are more likely to invest and see it as genuine.
There’s also been a movement in personalising the main people in a business who then become the face of the entire company.
We’ve all heard of Steve Jobs, right? Or have you been living under a stone?
Steve Jobs used his personal branding to establish himself as the face of Apple.
His own brand defined his business actions as he believes in breaking the rules and being innovative. This is reflective in Apple products and technology and perfectly emulates his desire for excellence.
“We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? And we’ve all chosen to do this with our lives. So it better be damn good. It better be worth it.” – Fortune
Rebranding Yourself: How to Reinvent Your Personal Brand
Rebranding a business can be a tricky task, but rebranding yourself is even trickier.
It’s about identifying what you’re trying to achieve, then developing a strategic plan that gets you there.
Whether you’re moving away from an old persona, or looking to branch out into a new market, you need to convince people you’re serious about your new direction.
This encourages them to have trust in you and will change the way they see you moving forward.