Personal Branding: How to Rebrand Yourself in 2021
Your personal brand is the combination of skills, values, and experience that you present to the world. If someone has gone through all the trouble of creating a personal brand, then what does rebranding mean? Just like companies, individuals sometimes rethink their brands to bring them more closely in line with their own goals and priorities.
Navigating how to rebrand yourself can be tricky, so we’ve put together the essential guide to rebranding yourself in 2021.
Why Rebrand Yourself?
There are several reasons for rebranding and most people take this step for some combination of the following.
You Want to Scale Your Brand
Perhaps you want to move into a larger market, expand your reach, or attract higher-paying clients. Think of organizing guru Marie Kondo - she began as a sensation in Japan and eventually expanded her brand to achieve a global following.
Your Reach is Diminishing
Perhaps you once had great engagement on your social channels, but it’s plateaued or is even declining. Trends - and people- move on, and a diminishing reach is a clear cause for reinventing your personal brand.
Your Target Audience Has Changed
If you find yourself talking more and more to a subset of your original audience, or even to a completely different group of people, that’s a sure sign it's time for personal rebranding.
For example, a successful recruiter might want to start working exclusively with C-level employees. A personal rebrand could help her position herself in this higher-paying market.
You Want to Keep Up With the Times
Customers' expectations of brands are rapidly changing. According to one survey, 64% of consumers now expect brands to take a stance on social issues. Rebranding can be one way of meeting shifting expectations by showing customers how your values align with their own.
How to Rebrand Yourself
Now that you know the answer to “why rebrand,” the question is - “how?”
Any rebranding will be more successful if it's undertaken in an organized and thoughtful way. We’ll help you get started.
Create a New Personal Mission Statement
If you’re not sure what you’re all about, how can you explain it to someone else?
A personal mission statement declares your professional identity and goals. As we grow and change, our priorities in life and work can shift. An updated mission statement can reflect a new focus or mindset.
Here are some guidelines:
- Start with a list of your priorities; then narrow it down
- Keep it short - one sentence is best
- Write it in the first person
- Focus on your professional purpose
Change the Visual Elements of Your Personal Brand
Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of nonverbal communication. Our brains are trained to make quick judgments, and your personal brand likely has under 90 seconds to make a good impression.
If you are reinventing your personal brand, you must ask what you are visually communicating.
A big step in how to rebrand yourself is simply presentation. Pose, wardrobe, setting, and even hair and glasses are all part of the visual communication of your brand. No one wants to see their tax expert relaxing on a beach in his LinkedIn profile - it appears unserious. Similarly, a suit jacket won’t fit into most web developer cultures.
Invest in having some professional headshots and posed shots taken that reflect your new goals and communicate what you bring to the table. Are you a great team leader and public speaker? There should be a photo of you in front of a crowd on your page. Do you run a successful chain of coffee shops? There should be photos of you holding a mug in your storefront.
Brands should follow similar guidelines, except the images should focus more on team shots or workplace and product offering images.
Color is an incredibly powerful communicator, and color psychology is a growing subfield within digital marketing. Even changing a call-to-action button from green to red can increase clicks.
If you’re not sure how to use color to express your personal branding, Forbes has a useful list of the three primary and six secondary colors with their common associations listed.
Find the attribute you think represents your brand the best, and use its associated color in your branding.
If possible, find a shade that is not being used by anyone else in your specific subfield - this will help you stand out.
Designers can even help you develop a custom palette that will be used across your web presence and published materials.
Your website is your personal introduction to the world. The fonts, images, and tone you use on your website all communicate your brand. It’s important to keep these styles consistent across the entire site.
Your website should also fit into your industry while showing that what you have to offer is unique. It’s a balance of fitting in and standing out.
For example, a corporate-style website with lots of stock photos and lengthy text would feel out of place in an industry that values creativity, like photography. High-energy video clips might be great in real estate - not so much in law.
A logo redesign is a classic step in rebranding yourself. If you don’t have one, consider hiring a designer to create one that represents your new sense of mission.
Logo changes can lead to confusion, so it’s best to change only if the change is accomplishing a few things:
- Keeping up with changing trends, like minimalism
- Communicating an idea more clearly
- Eliminating outdated information
- Integrating important values
For example, Toyota’s original logo was actually the winner of a public logo design contest.
A new emblem was introduced in 1989 that still resembles the original Japanese characters, but also suggests an English capital “T” and includes three ellipses to represent the global values of the brand.
In this case, the logo redesign both communicated the brand more clearly to a new market and provided an updated design in keeping with the times.
Create High-Quality Content
Rebranding yourself will be more effective if you are an authority in your niche, not just your field.
For example, web design is a broad field. If you position yourself as a web designer for tech companies, you will be considered more authoritative in that subfield. If you further specialize and focus on web design for startup app designers, you can focus on becoming the most authoritative voice for that specific audience.
If you already have a past web and media presence, you’ll need to generate high-quality content in the field you want to be known for going forward.
This means writing, tweeting, and creating videos and reels about what you’re passionate about right now - this will keep your past self from overshadowing your new personal brand.
Join Forces with Other Influencers
One of the key reasons for rebranding can be the desire to join a new professional community. Following new thought leaders and getting to know other people in your niche can be a great way to build your network.
Actively seek out avenues to publish your views - depending on your industry, this could be an interview, a byline, or as a guest poster. You can swap guest posts and promote each other's work on your social channels and website.
Getting featured by a beloved social media leader can instantly boost your new profile, but just make sure that your new relationships are reciprocal - you want to build goodwill in your new community.
Determine Your Brand Voice
Perhaps the most important factor to consider when you rebrand yourself is your new voice. How do you want to be perceived by the world? This is your chance to change your tone just a shade - or completely reinvent it.
Most personal brands fall within one of these main categories:
- Positive and inspiring
- Strong and aggressive
These are broad categories. Your own brand voice should be specific and reflect your personal values and goals.
For example, actress Zooey Deschanel is known for her quirky, awkward style; so when people follow her content, they know to expect a particular brand of humor.
Consistency is Key
Reinventing your personal brand can take time and effort. It’s important to locate everywhere your personal brand exists on the internet and update it to align with your new direction.
- Industry organizations
- Author bios
- Your website
Make sure your logo, headshot, tone, and colors reflect your new personal branding consistently across all platforms.
How to Rebrand Yourself on Instagram - Tips
Instagram receives 1 billion unique users every month. The social sharing platform is all about creating engaging visuals, so it can be a gold mine for personal branding efforts.
Update your Bio and Photo
Remember consistency? Your Instagram profile picture should communicate your personal brand voice and style. Quirky, professional, energetic, caring - these are all values that can be communicated through your photo.
Your bio is the most important real estate on Instagram. You have 180 characters and one link to show people who you are and what you can do for them - this is a great place to share your elevator pitch.
Pick a Content Theme
Personal Instagram accounts are fairly random - a pretty sunset or someone’s favorite cocktail.
To use Instagram strategically, you need to pick a theme and post about it consistently. If you are a personal success coach who helps people make career shifts, everything you post should relate to that theme.
Yes, you can be creative, but the message should remain the same across all posts. You can unify different types of posts by using a similar color scheme, like The Home Edit does by emphasizing their rainbow aesthetic on their feed:
Post More Regularly
Most experts recommend posting 2-3 times per week on Instagram, with no more than one post on any given day.
Stories can be posted multiple times a day. The urgency of watching an expiring story leads to greater interaction with your brand. Stories also allow space to be more casual without compromising theme consistency on your feed.
Tag Top Brands
If you’re trying to get noticed in a new niche or gain a larger following, you can tag leading brands in your posts. If you show a high-quality and consistent brand over time, along with rising engagement from your followers, leading brands may reach out to work with you.
How to Rebrand Yourself on Twitter - Tips
Twitter boasts 330 million monthly users and is well-known for its dynamic, often combative atmosphere.
With so many users quickly scrolling through content, you need to make yours stand out.
Develop a Custom Hashtag
Creating your own hashtag works best if it directs people back to a unique event, offer, or campaign. Running these events and associating specific hashtags with them can show others that your personal brand is creative and active.
Interact with Relevant Leaders
Twitter is about the conversation. To grow your personal brand on Twitter, you need to identify the other leaders in your industry niche and talk to them. This can take many forms, from commenting and sharing to positioning your professional brand as slightly different or complementary.
How to Rebrand Yourself on Facebook - Tips
Facebook is still the most popular social network, with over 2.8 billion monthly users.
Unlike Instagram and Twitter, Facebook gives more flexibility with the length and type of content that you can share.
Create Your Own Facebook Groups
Groups can be private or public and are the perfect place for people to interact with your personal brand.
People join Facebook groups for some benefit. So make sure that you’re sharing quality content to your groups, like a free monthly challenge, insider tips, or networking opportunities. You can also use Facebook groups as a way to build your email list of contacts.
Create Powerful Visuals
According to BuzzSumo, Facebook posts with images experience 2.3X the level of engagement as text-only posts.
Useful, engaging visuals that promote your personal brand will generate the most interest among your following.
These can include:
- Photos of yourself (coaching, teaching, writing - whatever it is you do)
- Inspirational quotes
- Funny memes
- Behind the scenes shots
- Product photos
Varying your content keeps people engaged - just remember to keep everything consistent with your brand tone. If you’ve always struck an uplifting tone, suddenly including sarcastic memes will seem off-brand.
Consider including your brand’s logo subtly in each image to keep branding consistent - this works particularly well for quotations structured as images.
Rebranding Yourself - Reflect or Spark Change
Some people rebrand because they want to change their professional direction. Others rebrand because they have already undergone some degree of transformation and want their public presence to reflect that.
Whatever your reasons, personal rebranding is most successful when it is consistent, well-planned, and aligns with your personal and professional values.