Unless you were hiking a remote part of the Amazon, you probably heard about or read a piece on Miley Cyrus’s performance at the MTV Awards last month. She’s certainly has come a long way from Hana Montana. Back then, the child star’s brand was Disney. Today, it’s a little more Desperate Housewives to say the least.You can argue all you want about the virtues of her performance, but the fact is she certainly has everyone’s attention. She has reinvented her brand.
No one is suggesting you need to reinvent yourself like Miley did, but you may want to take a moment to see if your brand needs a refresh. In your professional life, rebranding may be something very subtle. For example, are you planning to ask your boss for a promotion? If the perception is you’re a smart, talented employee but lack the ability to manage people – you need to think about how you could change that perception. Or, if you may need to do more work to change other’s perception of you.
Where Do You Start?
There is a great quote from Alice in Wonderland.
Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don't much care where –" said Alice.
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.
In other words, you need to understand where you want to go, before you can create a plan on what you need to change or new skills you need to develop. Once you're clear on where you want to go, you can take the necessary steps that will help you get there.
But, you have to be honest about what is possible. As Longfellow once wrote “We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.” If you want to be taken seriously you have to convince others that this move makes sense.
Dorie Clark wrote an insightful book entitled Reinventing You that speaks to the idea that if you can open up new possibilities by rebranding yourself. One of her key points is that "successful rebranding doesn't mean inventing a new persona. It's a shift in emphasis that should prompt others to say I can see you doing that."
5 Key Steps in Any Personal Rebranding
- Define your destination and acquire the necessary skills
- Craft a unique selling proposition and distinguish yourself by leveraging your points of difference
- Develop a narrative that describes your transition in terms of the value it offers others.
- Reintroduce yourself, using digital media and seizing opportunities to showcase your capabilities.
- Prove your worth by establishing and promoting your track record.
Developing a New Brand Can Start Small
- Start volunteering to gain experience.
- Update your LinkedIn profile to reflect new activities, speaking engagements or blog posts you may have written that are positioning you in a different light
- Dress differently. As a society, we are getting more and more casual, but the old adage "dress for the job you want not the one you have" holds true every time. Others need to see that you fit in.
- Take courses to learn to gain expertise. If you've decided you want to move from being an accountant to working at a non-profit, there are many programs that are short and made for working adults who want to learn about what it takes to run a non-profit.
Developing a new brand will take time. I recently read an interview with Alec Baldwin who said that the Internet has made it impossible to allow anyone to not forget anything. Your past will linger out there, but with time and attention, you can open doors to new career possibilities.
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