Times change, and sometimes it is necessary to re-brand our business, or even our selves. It can be difficult, however, to alter or undo the perceptions we have so carefully built in the minds of others about our brand.

Like most things in life, there is branding and Branding, and then there is BRANDING!

There is branding that belongs to a product such as Coca-Cola or Nissan, and then there is personal branding that belongs to an individual, like GiGi (and the rest of the celebs) that we are currently viewing on Survivor, or Edith Venter, our well known South African socialite. Then of course there are those who not only have a personal brand but also a business brand. Here GiGi carries dual branding because of her business, the club called Lollipop Lounge, which is situated in Randburg.

Businesses change and re-brand themselves, and the two that popped into my mind almost immediately are Pick ‘n Pay and Castle Larger (neither of them have been re-branded in the very recent past, but they have both been re-branded at some point). Both companies changed their branding, their logo’s and their look, and with it upgraded their image to something similar but also quite different to what it was before. The new look seemed more modern, but make no mistake – it cost them millions!

So cost aside, why would an individual ‘re-brand’ themselves – I mean at the end of the day, you are still ‘you’ – or are you?

Some individuals need to change their brands because they have moved on from what they used to do or because they were associated with another brand and the relationship has gone sour; whatever the reason, understand it is going to be a long, painful and probably very costly exercise.

Here’s the thing –when you started out branding yourself, you did it one step at a time, one person at a time. You did an incredible job of letting the world know who you were and what it is that you did. You told everyone who would listen (and even some who didn’t) all about your passion. You got yourself interviewed on TV and radio and wrote articles that were published in magazines and newspapers. You got yourself photographed with as many famous people as you could get close to. You wrote blogs and had an opinion on every subject under the sun. You interacted on Facebook and told the world about your accomplishments and you ‘twittered and tweeted’. Friends, family and colleagues were carefully instructed on what to say about what it is that you do and anyone who got your title wrong or made the slightest mistake about what you did were gently corrected.

You created an all-powerful brand . . . that is you.

Now, due to whatever circumstance that has occurred in your life, that brand has to change – but remember, for years you have been telling the world that you are… well, “You”; and now you want to tell them that you are no longer the ‘old you’, but a ‘new, improved you’. Remember though, that people (no matter how ‘open minded’ they say they are) are basically creatures of habit, and just because you have had a mindset change or undergone a personality change, their perception of you will in all probability remain with the ‘old you’. So don’t be expecting them to change their mindset or perception over night.

Make sure that you understand the process that you are about to undertake when rebranding yourself – it’s not a ‘quick fix’ kind of process, but rather one that is very long term and just like you branded yourself the first time, one step at a time, one person at a time – so too will the journey be for re-branding yourself (although in truth it will probably be a little faster, since at the end of the day – you are still ‘You’).

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or nikki@viljoenconsulting.co.za or http://www.viljoenconsulting.co.za

Small Business Forum

The Small Business Forum is an independent network of entrpreneurs and small business owners established to encourage and support the creation, growth and development of small business in South Africa.

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