Several years ago I learned that I have a personal brand. I didn’t ask for it or try to create it. Others just gave it to me, based on what they’d observed. Nobody brands me as a musician, football player or preacher but sometimes I’m seen as an author, a life coach or a blog writer. A brand like this is one’s image. It is what sets people or products apart from others. I’ve got one and probably you do too.
Harvard Business Review recently (March 2011) addressed how we change our brands. “People reinvent themselves all the time,” according to HBR, especially when they move in a new career direction or take on a new challenge. Five steps can facilitate this process.
1. Define your destination. Think through where you want to go and where God is calling you. Acquire the skills and credentials to move into that new role or direction.
2. Consider how your present brand and experience could leverage you into something distinctive from where you are now. Probably this was at the core of my shift from counseling to becoming a leadership coach, coach trainer, and writer about coaching. I built on my past to create a new direction and image for the future.
3. Develop a rationale for the change, something that others understand. Successful rebranding doesn’t mean “inventing a new persona.” It’s a shift in emphasis that prompts others to think that your new direction makes sense, building on your past to develop something new.
4. Reintroduce yourself to let others know about the shift. This includes people in your social network. Your old brand may not disappear entirely but eventually others will come to accept your new focus.
5. Prove your worth. Let others see that you are competent, credible and committed to your new role. That reinforces the new brand. You send a confusing message if you hang on to your old brand while embracing the new.
Do you have a brand? Does it need to be reinvented? Is this only a business idea or does branding apply if you are a coach, mental health professional, academic or pastor? Should Christians be concerned about branding? Please comment.