We’ve all laughed about how someone’s driver’s license, passport photo or employee ID snapshot doesn’t look at all like that person, or whose business card photo is at least twenty years younger than they are!
It’s funny because the picture is out of sync with the reality. But having your brand match your business is no laughing matter.
What happens when you go from being an established, well-known professional in one field to creating a new company in a very different type of business? How do you take the best of one world and carry over those benefits to a new identity? And how do you get people who know you in one role to see and trust your proficiency when you decide to change what you do?
I’ve been interviewing dozens of people for a new book I’m working on about reinvention and making a Fresh Start Success. In each case, highly experienced people with plenty of degrees and corporate experience ended up making a big career switch in mid-life. For every one of the people, making a successful transition required strategizing how to get the people who knew them in their ‘past life’ to see them differently now.
It’s a topic that’s dear to my heart, since I reinvented myself from corporate marketer to entrepreneur/marketing maven, to social media expert, to bestselling author. I knew what worked for me, and I was eager to find out what others had done.
Here are ten top personal branding secrets of successful career-changers and life reinventers:
- Clearly communicate the change you’re making through social media and your web page.
- Create a company name and a tagline that explains what you do, so you can position yourself in the minds of the people you meet.
- Don’t put off having a professional logo and website created.
- Come up with a one sentence introduction that focuses on who you serve, what you do, and what benefit/result you create.
- Once you have a name and logo, print up business cards that do you proud.
- Print up at least 500 cards and give them to everyone you meet. And I do mean everyone.
- Expand your personal network, but don’t jettison your old colleagues.
- Post photos of every step along your journey.
- Ask for testimonials and recommendations.
- Tell stories about what you’re doing.
Changing careers, starting a new business or reinventing yourself takes courage and effort, but you can have fun with your fresh start and enjoy the journey. By making personal branding a conscious investment of your time and focus, you’ll be ahead of the game in rallying friends to your cause and reaching new customers in record time.
Gail Z. Martin owns DreamSpinner Communications and consults with professionals and businesses in the U.S. and Canada on strategic social media. Gail has an MBA in marketing and over 25 years of corporate and non-profit experience at senior executive levels. She is the author of three bestselling books on new media marketing: 30 Days to Social Media Success, 30 Days to Online PR and Marketing Success and 30 Days to Virtual Productivity Success (Career Press). 30 Days to Social Media Success made TheWashingtonPost.com’s Top 5 Business books, was chosen by Fed-Ex Office and Office Max to be among a handful of books featured in-store, and has been mentioned in media including Inc., The Wall Street Journal, Worth, and Fox Business News.
Find her online at www.DreamSpinnerCommunications.com, on Twitter @GailMartinPR and blogs at BigDreamsAndHardWork.com or on email: Gail@DreamSpinnerCommunications.com