Is it time for a change in your career path? We all have those moments when we feel the seasonal shifts in our professional lives. Sometimes these are triggered by personal life events–children, aging parents, an illness. Often they are part of bigger trends in our industry (boy has my industry changed from the days of shooting on film to 4K cameras!).
The three keys to a successful personal re-brand are the same elements needed for any strong brand: Storytelling, Community, and Authenticity.
1. Storytelling. Everyone has a brand story–even individuals and small companies. So tell your story. And if your story now includes a new service, or a new focus, or a new location–tell THAT story. How?
Curate & Share-Help people sort through the clutter in your new area of expertise by tweeting about a new study, or build and share a useful resource list. You could write a how-to blog post on the topic (and send an email to your clients to better share it). You could build an infographic on a new trend and pin it on Pinterest and share through other social platforms. And don’t forget to curate for yourself by following thought leaders in your new area of work.
Even better, let your Community tell your new brand story. See next paragraph!
2. Community. My friends Maddie Grant and Jamie Notter in their useful book Humanize say “Everyone has customers, stakeholders, suppliers, members, constituents…but not everyone can honestly say they have a community.” I would turn that a bit and say you probably have a community you haven’t really thought about. It might be your religious community, it might be people in your neighborhood, it might be friends through a music group–you are connected to many different communities and can reach out to all of them to let them know what changes you’re making and enlist their help.
How? Your community can help promote your new website, or retweet your new posts. They can suggest new contacts for you, or post endorsements on Linked In. And speaking of Linked In, try their nifty new “In Map” feature, that lets you visualize your personal networks (mine look like a squid–with the head being my digital media contacts, and the tentacles being all the different communities that I participate in through work and play).
3. Authenticity. One of the most important components of a successful brand today is that you are who you really are, across all platforms and networks. There once was a time when people had personal Facebook pages separate from their professional ones. Those days are gone. (That doesn’t mean you can’t segregate which posts go to all your “friends” and which ones stay amongst a select group–take the time to break out your friends groups in Settings, people! Google+ lets you do this from the get-go–much simpler!)
So if you are making a career shift–be transparent about it. In fact, engage your Community with your evolving Story by crowd-sourcing ideas you can use in your new field, or location or area of expertise. You can do this easily through social platforms. But you can also do it In Real Life! Talk to people and ask for advice and believe me, they will share.
And now your new personal brand will be connected to lots of other personal brands that are evolving, too.
Amy DeLouise is a digital content creator who consults on brands and is always evolving her personal brand. Follow her occasional tweets on the subject (and #nonprofits, #video, #food, #fastcars ) @brandbuzz.