In preparing for this week’s blog post, I put out the question on Twitter, “What would you like to hear about this week on the topic of personal branding?” What bubbled up was “re-branding”.
Great topic. Today’s economic climate is creating an interesting juxtaposition: your digital life and reputation is fast-paced, but your business growth may not be as robust.
Every brand needs refreshing to stay relevant as markets evolve. These changes are typically aimed at the repositioning of the brand/company, usually in an attempt to distance itself from certain negative connotations of the previous branding, or to move the brand upmarket.
What about personal re-branding?
Re-branding could involve major changes to the brand’s logo, brand name, image, marketing strategy and advertising. But re-branding is more than a logo change. Don’t make the mistake some big brands may be making – changing their logos and calling it “re-branding”.
Xerox and Pepsi are two brand giants who made the news recently by unveiling new logos. Here’s what they had to say:
” The new Xerox logo is now a lowercase treatment of the Xerox name – in a vibrant red – alongside a sphere-shaped symbol sketched with lines that link to form an illustrative “X,” representing Xerox’s connections to its customers, partners, industry and innovation, and designed to be more effectively animated for use in multi-media platforms.”
“The brand’s blue and red globe trademark will become a series of “smiles,” with the central white band arcing at different angles depending on the product. Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Pepsi Max will use all lower-case fonts for name brands.”
Rule of thumb
Re-branding is more than a logo change. You must define your brand or be defined by others. One of the reasons Pepsi and Xerox felt the need to change may be that they are perceived as “old-fashioned” and not relevant. Right or wrong, in business perception is reality.
But what about Coca-Cola? Coke does a good job of keeping a “core brand” and developing new brands for target markets. The question is not “what business is the company in,” but rather “what is the company known for?” What emotion does the brand evoke? You make the call on which brands evoke emotion.
Your re-branding exercise
What’s helpful to considering a re-branding exercise on your personal brand is to recognize that a strong brand transcends the product and the target market.
The question for you is not “what market do you serve” but rather “what is your reputation, what are you known for?” Because if you don’t define it, it will be defined for you.
Here’s the starting point:
1. Find out how you are actually perceived or what your reputation is. Ask a variety of people.
2. Understand what’s important to your core target market and how your brand is relevant. Extend that to your new target markets.
3. Ask yourself if what you are offering is authentic. If not, it will breed only mistrust.
4. Make sure that your message or what you deliver is consistent. You don’t want to alienate a current customer base by an inconsistent message. That would undermine your efforts.
Beverly Macy is the Managing Partner of Y&M Partners and teaches a social media class at the UCLA Extension. She also co-hosts Gravity Summit events and provides personal branding coaching.