Last year, I made the difficult decision to rebrand. When you are confronted with the notion that it might be time to rebrand yourself, you’re going to instantly associate that decision with failure.
But that’s not at all what a rebrand means.
The fact is, we all change over time. Our looks change, our passions change, and our goals change. It would be ridiculous to expect our personal brand to remain the same throughout its existence.
That would be boring. And it would be a bad business move.
You should always be looking for ways to reinvent, scale, and reimagine your business. Most people associate a new brand to mean changing up the brand styling (i.e. your logo). While this is what most companies do in order to keep up with modern aesthetics, sometimes it’s worth changing a companies overall mission statement.
In fact, Apple’s 1995 “Think Different” rebrand is exactly what made it the success that it is today. As the former creative director puts it, this campaign alone, “Play[ed] a pivotal role in helping Apple achieve one of the greatest corporate turnarounds in business history.”
But here’s what most people don’t point out: you can also rebrand your personal brand.
When your passions change, your business model might change, your ideal client might change, and your personal brand statement might change.
That’s what happened to me. And I had nearly 100K followers across my platforms.
A year later, and I still think a rebrand was the right call.
Here’s What Happens When You Rebrand Yourself – My Experience
I started blogging around 2015. Back then, I was known as the Gluten-Free Avenger. And because this was prime time for both Avengers and the gluten-free movement, my blog took off.
For the next 4 years, I steadily built my following as an influencer. It was fun to work with brands, get free hotel stays, and cultivate a community of lifestyle fans who devoured my cooking recipes and travel hacks.
Until I wasn’t happy.
Being a social media influencer wasn’t my job. In fact, at the same time, I had built my own company, Online Profile Pros (formerly Dating Headshots, Inc.) Our goal is to help people with their personal brand messaging and digital footprint across various platforms. We retouch bios, take lifestyle images, and coach individuals on their online profiles. And anything goes; we help people get dates on Tinder and we help people land their dream jobs on LinkedIn.
The more successful OPP became, the more detached I felt from Gluten Free Avengers. So last year, I changed everything to, simply, Claire Bahn.
But Claire Bahn was tired of talking about How to Plan the Perfect Beach Picnic. I wanted to talk about branding, social media marketing, and how I was able to build that 100K personal brand.
So I tried to mix in some of my business talk every other week alongside my lifestyle content— until I just couldn’t do it anymore.
Here’s What Happened When I Rebranded
Because Online Profile Pros was doing so well, my husband and I launched another branding business designated for 7-Figure personalities: Stratus Branding. At the same time, I wanted to leverage my existing personal brand to talk about all things business. So I made the full switch in my social media and blog content.
And nobody was listening.
Despite SEOing my blogs, using the right hashtags, and showing up consistently, my followers who originally came to me for lifestyle content seemed to drop off the face of the earth. The numbers were still there, but the engagement was… disappointing to say the least.
So, I went for the full rebrand. I wrote nearly 50 blogs on personal branding and created an entirely new Instagram account.
Here’s what happened:
It’s only been a few months since the full rebrand, but it’s been a lifesaver. My engagement is at a steady 29% right now and I’m getting dedicated followers and potential clients.
This is why I’ve always said it’s better to have 200 real fans that 2,000 non-fans (aka people who don’t care what you’re doing).
Just this year, I’ve scaled my business and onboarded my own team. Everything is moving a lot quicker. I even booked a speaking gig at one of the largest entrepreneur conventions in the country.
More than just financial success, my work-life balance is 1,000 times more manageable. Starting fresh with my personal brand opened me up to more possibilities because my message actually resonates with me. It makes creating content easier, it makes landing clients easier, and I feel more secure with my business than ever before.
So, should you rebrand yourself? If your message no longer resonates with you, I think it’s not a matter of if you should— but when.
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Your follower count DOES NOT equal success. In fact, many of the accounts you're following right now do not have real, active followers. That's what I mean by "real fans." As a personal brand strategist, I can tell immediately when someone's social media accounts have used black hat tactics such as follow-for-follow or paid bots. And you know what that says about their brand and their business? They're untrustworthy. If you're relying on vanity metrics to boost your personal brand, I'm telling you right now… it's doing the exact opposite. If you have 20K followers and only 3 people are leaving comments and you're only getting 200 likes, there's something fishy going on. Even worse, it shows that your business is EXTREMELY out of touch with your ideal client. 20,000 unengaged fans is hurting your business. But your 200 REAL fans are helping your personal brand SKYROCKET 🚀 and providing you with a sustainable, reliable, and successful business. How often do you see these types of accounts with TONS of non-fans?
5 Ways to Rebrand Yourself For Success
Despite my own experience, there are various reasons why a rebrand may be on your mind. Maybe you’re losing followers or maybe you went viral and you haven’t figured out how to scale your brand from that opportunity.
Another reason to rebrand is simply a change in the times. Household brands like Dunkin Donuts have rebranded to make a mark on their new products, while brands like Uber changed their logo for a more contemporary look.
Whatever your issue is, here are 5 ways to ensure your rebrand produces success:
1. Change Your Aesthetic To Demolish the Competition
While style branding is just one tier of your personal branding strategy, changing your brand’s logo, colors, and overall look can work wonders to set you apart. According to Oberlo, using a signature color can increase brand recognition by 80%.
If you’re not seeing the traction you would like, it could be an issue with your branding. Maybe it doesn’t stand out enough or maybe your font is too hard to read. That’s where a branding designer comes into play (we offer this at Stratus Branding). They’re the experts when it comes to differentiating brands from their competition. This is why I use purple instead of the traditional pink that you see in most female entrepreneur brands. I easily stand out without having to do much else (plus, it’s my favorite color).
Pro-Tip: In order to figure out which colors or fonts are unique in your industry, search your industry hashtags on Instagram. Visit the accounts in the top 9 posts (if they’re a personal brand) and make note of their colors and fonts. You’ll probably start to notice a theme. Those are the colors and fonts you’re not going to use in your personal brand marketing.
2. Cut Ties With The Toxic
Let’s face it, there have been hundreds of cases where celebrities or influencers have been shamed for associating themselves with toxic people. But it’s actually much bigger than that.
CEOs and even actors are known for their personal brand. This is why they have to be really careful about how they act and what they say. Toxic behaviors or outbursts can damage your reputation (and your brand) in an instant. That’s the reason why Mike Jeffries is no longer the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, and it’s the reason why you never see people like Charlie Sheen in films or TV anymore.
If you have been heavily scrutinized because of someone within your inner circle, it’s probably time to cut ties and rethink your message. When it comes to your personal brand, what you believe in is what gets people to like, know, and trust you. If you’re close with someone who is widely perceived as someone with a negative message, you’ll fall on that sword right along with them.
So— it’s time to cut ties.
This strategy works even if we’re talking about a business partner, a colleague, or just a friend. If they’re causing chaos and destruction to your business or they’re simply not supporting your business goals, it’s time to change up your inner circle. Find people who truly value your mission statement. Then, use this opportunity to showcase your brand in a more authentic and admiral light.
3. Expand and Bump Your Prices
Did you know that PBR sells for $44 a bottle in China?
PBR, the same beer you can buy for a dollar at happy hour at any given bar here in the States.
That’s because Pabst Blue Ribbon knew that they could leverage their 176-year-old brand as a classic commodity in China (where they know about PBR’s low price tag).
You can do the same thing with your personal brand. If you’ve been given the chance to pursue opportunities in a different field or you’ve been invited to work with an international brand, raise your prices.
Even if you’re simply branching into a new local market, use this opportunity to rebrand as something unique— as something that stands slightly apart from your personal brand.
This is kind of what I did. My influencer brand wasn’t really doing much for me except inflating my social media numbers. But instead of letting that all go to waste, I rebranded myself and carried over my expertise so that I could bump up my prices and scale my business to a point that I never could with just a lifestyle blog.
4. Know Your Niche
When you’re just getting started with your own company, you instantly know your market and your industry. Social media managers want to be seen as an expert within the marketing industry, writers may want to “make it” within the journalism circle, and makeup bloggers want to be seen in the beauty community.
Take a moment to really think about which industry you’re in, and write it down. Now, write down three different categories within your industry that people are known for.
For example, in branding, I could be known for website design, style design (i.e. logos and graphics), or I could be a branding coach.
Clearly, I choose a branding coach. However, I niched down even further to brand myself as a personal branding strategist.
In order to know your niche for when you rebrand yourself, you need to map out a web of possibilities. Start with your industry, list three potential sub-categories, and then niche down each of those categories even further.
Out of all of those options, which section do you know the most about? Which one can you see yourself being the expert in?
How To Be Seen as an Expert
Let’s look at another example. You’re in marketing. You could be an SEO expert, a social media manager, or an advertising mastermind.
Maybe you’re better at social media management than you are Facebook ads. So you’ve chosen the SMM niche.
As a social media manager, which platform do you enjoy managing the most? Which platform analytics are you the most in tune with? Are you always on top of Instagram’s newest features or do you know all the tips and tricks to be seen on LinkedIn?
From there, choose which one suits you best. Let’s assume you’re really good at Instagram.
Just like that, you’ve rebrand yourself from a marketing expert to a social media manager to an Instagram strategist.
Now you can create an even more refined message and detailed content around your new image (and maybe choose new colors and fonts to go along with it!)
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Time to introduce myself! Hi! I’m Claire Bahn, a personal branding strategist, as well as the CEO and Co-Founder of Online Profile Pros and Stratus Branding. I have been helping people strategize and create their best personal brand for over 10 years. As an influencer with over 70k followers across my social platforms (@clairebahn) , I’ve learned so much about the importance of creating and maintaining your personal brand. Fun fact: I am also a former model and actress! I’ve done several commercials and even print ads. I lived in New York City for 8 years and relocated to Los Angeles with my husband in 2013. I also love wine and have two adorable and rambunctious miniature pinschers named Beau and Trixie. Tell me a fun fact about yourself!
5. Improve Your Content Strategies
One of the first things I wanted to do for my rebrand was to get out as much content as possible. If you go back far enough, you’ll see that my blog is saturated with traveling and cooking content. This means that it’s going to take a while for Google to see my website as an entrepreneur website because my website is ranking for all the wrong keywords.
So, I set out to get as many blogs on personal branding published as I could with the right SEO keywords. Slowly but surely, my website is being bumped up on categories like “personal brand statement example.” I’m about 3 links away from being on the front page of Google for that keyword.
And I wrote that blog just 90 days ago.
So when you’re rebranding, figure out what your keywords are (this goes for SEO on social media, too) and use them strategically. Build content around those niche keywords and put out as much content as possible.