The world is dynamic. Your brand needs to keep up with the times. If the world is talking about social marketing and you only do broadcast advertising, your reputation as a current marketer will suffer. You need to position yourself with the new skills and mindset required for the modern world.
Whether you are looking for a job or currently employed, there are a number of changes that may trigger a need for you to refresh your personal brand. My top six are:
1. New job search or career change. If your job or career goal is different from the job you currently hold or had in the past, you need to rethink how to package your skills, experience and leadership to fit the new objective—in other words, you need to rebrand. Don’t let negative memes about personal branding being for the birds thwart you from getting your message out there. You need to think and act like a free agent. You are your own brand manager.
2. Change in company ownership or leadership. Instead of waiting for the company to reorganize the leadership team, you can be proactive in aligning your strengths and point of view with the new owners or leaders. I worked on both department and personal branding for an HR group at a large company that had just been acquired. We aligned the group’s mission, vision and brand messages in a way that spoke to the business value delivered. We highlighted innovative programs that got data-driven results in talent development, talent retention and employee satisfaction. All of the key managers aligned their personal brands with the department brand and became effective spokespeople for the group. The result? When a huge reduction in workforce was announced, not one of the members of the group was laid off. This was an astounding feat since HR is usually seen as overhead. In fact, top leadership praised the group leader and his managers for their strategic contribution.
3. Change in cultural values. Many companies are searching for a competitive edge in company culture. If your company is undergoing a shift in corporate culture, this represents an excellent opportunity to tune your personal brand to the culture change. For instance, if your company is changing from a sales-driven to a customer-service culture, you need to position yourself as a customer champion in everything you think, do and say. Volunteering to become part of the culture change management team is a way to show your enthusiasm and alignment with the new company direction.
4. Shift in desired leadership traits. Likewise, if your company is putting an emphasis on collaboration and cross-functional cooperation, perhaps you need to shed your lone-wolf image and behavior. For women, the trend to boost the EQ, or emotional intelligence, in 21st century companies is to your advantage since women have an innate capacity for EQ. Package your ability to connect, collaborate, mentor and communicate in a way that maps to corporate objectives.
5. Shift in technology or business strategy. These shifts can represent a great opportunity to be recognized and valued for your expertise or skill set. Even if you do not have the desired technology from the get go, you can become a quick study, volunteer for industry groups that promote that particular technology and become known as someone who moves in these technology circles. The same can be done to demonstrate business understanding and strategic thinking.
6. Reduction in workforce. As mentioned in point #2, don’t be a victim. Be proactive about positioning yourself for the new world order. Understand the competitive pressures your company is undergoing, and position yourself as part of the solution—whether it is the ability to cut costs or the ability to innovate for future growth.
Don’t be afraid of change. Every time your world shifts, it represents an opportunity to be seen in a new light. Take advantage of these triggers for refreshing, or reinventing, your personal brand.