Positioning Your Personal Brand for Relaunch: Step One - Why?

This post is the first in a four-part series on the process of completing a personal brand makeover and relaunch. I stated in my last post introducing the series that I often receive inquiries from former students and others about how to best position a career change. Given that it is an issue weighing on the minds of many people, I wanted to share some good advice on the topic that appeared recently in the Franklin University Back to College Blog. What prevents many people from taking the plunge and relaunching their personal brand? It is not having a structure or approach in place. This series seeks to remove that obstacle, beginning today with providing a starting point for the relaunch process.

The first step in developing strategy, whether it is for a multi-billion dollar corporation or for your personal brand, is to evaluate the current situation. In the context of personal brand management, conducting a SWOT analysis (an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) is an excellent tool for evaluating your capabilities (strengths and weaknesses) and recognizing developments in the world around you (opportunities and threats). Think of a SWOT analysis like taking a snapshot- it captures what is going on at a given point in time. It is crucial to determine where you are right now before you can figure out where you want to go.

In addition to conducting a SWOT analysis to assess the current situation, a person embarking on the personal brand relaunch process should consider why a change is desired. Is the motivation for change
Begin by identifying your strengths and weaknesses. This task requires what Jim Collins calls "confronting the brutal facts," especially when it comes to acknowledging weaknesses. Add to your list of strengths and weaknesses by compiling a list of opportunities and threats. These characteristics may not come to you as easily as strengths and weaknesses; research will likely be needed to get a handle on external factors that could help or hurt your career relaunch. Examples of research that might be needed is determining employment opportunities for a prospective new field, training or skills people in that field typically have, and the impact of technology and economic conditions on industry or occupation growth. 

Change in the form of personal brand relaunch is the end goal. To get there, begin by clarifying why a change is desired, the personal brand assets you have that will support pursuit of your goal, and development needs to help position you to be competitive in your new field. You might be thinking at this point "I don't even know what I want to do other than I know I want to make a change." That's fine, because it brings us to the topic of the next post - Considering your options.