Reinventing your personal brand

By karlsmith-then…, 13 September, 2013

Hiya! Karl here…

The month of September signals the beginning of a new season in nature … life has its own seasons … perhaps it is your season to rediscover ,reimagine, reinvent and rebrand yourself…it is ultimately our only insurance policy to protect ourselves against stagnation and irrelevance.

YOU’VE WORKED long and hard, sacrificing to build a solid reputation. When you’re out of the room, you know what they’re saying: She’s an innovative marketer. He knows everything about the Natural Stone market. But what if you now want to rebrand yourself?

Sometimes the changes are major (such as mine as a former Regional Executive at The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants) into a Training, Speaking, Coaching and Consulting Business Advisor. Sometimes the rebranding is subtle, as for an executive who wants to advance but needs to overcome the knock that he’s “not good with numbers”.

We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done. Your path may make perfect sense to you, but how can you persuade others to embrace your new brand—and take you seriously? I’ve learned that the following five steps are key to reinventing yourself for the business marketplace, whether your desired changes are large or small.

ENVISION YOUR DESTINATION: Rebranding isn’t easy and if your plan is poorly thought out, you’ll end up confused, lost and in search. That’s not all … you will confuse others as well … they will smell your confusion miles away like a cat smells sardines long before they see it. Start by determining where you really want to invest your energy. What is it that you really want? Imagine the sights, sounds and smells of your destination.

DIFFERENTIATE AND LEVERAGE YOUR UNIQUE PROMISE OF VALUE: What’s your unique promise of value? What will be different in the lives of your audiences after they have experienced your unique promise of value? That’s what people will remember and you can use it to your advantage. After losing her comfort and security - as a result of a divorce - one of my clients had to reinvent herself. She had to transform her hobby into sustainable income. We uncovered and packaged her personal brand as an expert within the healing industry and then designed a networking strategy to teach her Influencers to refer rape and other trauma victims to her. Her unique promise of value is to offer healing beyond the physical aspects of healing … a gift so needed in today’s world.

DEVELOP A SCRIPT: You used to be a Chief Financial Officer … and now you want to consult and do life coaching? It’s human nature to have many interests, to seek new experiences and to want to develop new skills. Unfortunately, however, people often view that as the sign of chasing the wind … you are not really committed or you don’t have the knowledge. It’s unfair, but to protect their personal brands, I help my clients to connect the dots and then develop a coherent script that explains exactly how your past fits into your present.

REINTRODUCE YOURSELF: Once you’ve embraced your rebrand, making new contacts is the easy part—they’ll take the new you but they will still search for your authenticity. The harder slog is reintroducing yourself to your existing network. The truth is, the vast majority of people in your existing network aren’t paying much attention to the NEW YOU. It is your job to deliberately, persistently and consistently educate your existing network about the NEW YOU.

PROVE YOUR WORTH: There is a world of a difference between knowing and showing. You literally have to demonstrate (I’m not talking about setting up websites, dishing out profiles and business cards faster than a horse can run - and then wait for the phone to ring off the hook …)it. I may like your website, you, your profile or business card a lot, but unless I see proof of your skills and I’m confident that my contacts will experience a ROI, I’ll hesitate to put my own reputation on the line by sending you referrals.

As ever, I remain at your service. Meanwhile, if you have any questions or if I can help you in any way, please don’t hesitate to call me!


Karl Smith



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