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5 Tips for Personal Rebranding

I'm not a geek

For a long time my personal brand has been closely related to a specific company. After I sold this company to start all over again, I needed to rebrand myself. I’m probably not the first person in this situation but there is very little information published about this challenge. Currently I’m just at the beginning of the process, but I will share some of my ideas with you.

1. Give your ego a cold shower

It is easy to get addicted to being “Mr. Important”. The chance is that you either are or you some time have been addicted to this position yourself. Getting your ego stimulated by the number of inbound e-mails and phone calls you receive is not uncommon for entrepreneurs. You are subconsciously bragging about how important you are by telling people how terrible it is to receive so many phone calls and e-mails.

People who have not experienced this addiction might consider it unhealthy, but it’s natural and even healthy. Being “Mr. Important” gives the self-esteem that entrepreneurs need in order to lead their organization in innovation. However, by starting to rebrand yourself you have to accept to be less important for a while.

2. Diversify your name

The reason you need to rebrand yourself is that your current personal brand is not elastic enough to cover what you want to do next. Although it goes against common “expert” recommendations, I recommend to diversify your personal brand as elastic as possible.

Some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs have adopted this strategy with great success; people like Olav Thon (Norway), Silvio Santos (Brazil) and Richard Branson (UK) have earned their fortune by diversifying their activities across different industries and creating an elastic personal brand.

You can argue that Steve Jobs, Ingvar Kamprad and Bill Gates are all worth more money than the entrepreneurial billionaires, but Mr. Jobs & co are all one time start-ups and have invested their entire life into one industry. Isn’t this like playing Russian roulette?

3. Simplify your story

As a part of a rebranding strategy, you need to compile a solid life story explaining how you become the person you are today. You should never be lying about your achievements but sometimes your life can be a bit too complex to actually tell the entire story.

Carefully build your story and make it consistent just as if you would build a marketing story. It does not hurt including a couple of setbacks in your life, as it is more appealing and easy to sympathy with. Nobody likes braggers.

Do not try to tweak your story according to who you are talking with; even though you are not lying, you will not benefit from an inconsistent story in the long term.

4. Get a new contact network

Your contacts already know you by your old personal brand and it will take time to make them understand that you have changed the way you want to be approached. If you used to be the geeky computer engineer you cannot suddenly re-introduce yourself for your existing contacts as a business entrepreneur working across several industries.

The easiest way to deploy your new personal brand is to build a new network and introduce yourself to new people with your new personal brand. After some time away from your old contact network you get the possibility to catch-up with them. They will ask you what has been up since the last time you spoke and you get the possibility to tell them your new life story

5. Dress and act according to your personal brand

Personal rebranding is not only about your story but also about how you present yourself. If you are going to convince people that you have changed, they need to see it before you tell them. The changes do not need to be huge, but need to be enough to be noticed.

Do you have any other personal rebranding tips? Please use the comment form below to let us know what you think about personal rebranding.

Showing (2) comments | Add one

  1. Helen | March 30, 2011 at 11:59 Reply

    I agree with you. I have found the same myself. In regards to your previous contacts – let your new contacts and succesful actions speak about the change in you with what I think is one exception: if you think you can genuinely help one or more of your previous contacts by giving them a good deal or putting them in touch with one of your new contacts for their benefit. This way you establish with them that you have changed and that they should sit up and take notice.

    • Egil Fujikawa Nes | March 31, 2011 at 17:57

      I absolutely agree with you. There are no reason for not introducing new and old contacts to each other.
      – Egil

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