A recent Facebook post advertising a brand updating service caught my eye. Since I don’t sell things, I wondered whether this company did personal branding. The website featured corporate brands, logos, slogans, websites, and marketing kitsch. An email inquiry acknowledged the expertise was primarily corporate branding but the company would prepare a personal branding strategy for me, and for my blog for a hefty fee.
When pushed for more detail, I received a ‘how-to’ link to a personal branding website with promotional techniques for increasing personal visibility online and in my professional life. An internet search yielded little or nothing about branding in retirement. However, a 2014 postworksavvy blog post referenced by Google showed up in the search! You can read that post at http://postworksavvy.com/whats-retirement-brand/
I’m sure my blog would benefit from the diligent application of professional marketing strategies; however, I’ll continue to use local experts when I’m inclined to change the blog.
As for a personal retirement brand, I’ll reconsider my advice in the long-forgotten aforementioned 2014 blog post. My advice in that post included considering your unique attributes, how you spend time, your hobbies and activities, friends with whom you associate, and your outlook on life — all put together in a consistent presentation that will form a retirement brand not essentially different from a personal brand.
What is a personal brand?
A personal brand is how you present yourself and how you are remembered. It reflects who you are. Your personal brand is the story people tell about you when you aren’t present.
In a previous generation, a personal brand for a woman was all about a distinguishing perfume scent, signature pearls, or a consistent hairstyle/colour. A century ago, engraved calling cards marked a personal brand. Men sometimes defined themselves in the workplace with a carefully hand-tied bow tie or mahogany wingtip brogues. Today men sport interesting socks to distinguish a personal brand.
In contemporary time, personal branding most often begins and ends with an online presence. Professionals spend hours building their online personal brand. They know that clients, colleagues, prospective customers, and potential employers use online screening to check them out. Personal branding is critical to building a career. It makes for business success. Hopefully, the online brand is genuine, authentic and consistent with the person’s offline presence.
Personal Branding in Retirement
Retirement doesn’t mean you become ‘brand-less’; rather, retirement means changing your brand to show lifestyle changes. Retirement branding will build on the reputation you established while you worked.
Many retired people want to market themselves as consultants, or change careers, or they may wish to develop a hobby that pays. Often former athletes rebrand themselves as advisors or coaches. Retired executives become advisors and mentors. Their personal branding after retirement helps to establish a value proposition that communicates experience and wisdom.
As you build a retirement brand, you might ask yourself these questions. How do others see you? Who is in your network? Do you have a personal website or YouTube channel? What does your Facebook or Pinterest account say about you? Because social media is critical in building a personal brand you can’t ignore it.
If you want to build credibility to re-enter the workforce, social media posts should promote more than grandchildren and cats! A consistent presence is more important than frequent posts. Rather, you will need deliberate and consistent online strategies using tools on various platforms. Awareness of how your brand evolved during active career years can form the foundation for retirement branding.
Lifestyle Creates a Retirement Brand
A retirement brand does not have to involve choosing another career or re-entering the workforce. Every retired person has a lifestyle which becomes their retirement brand. While you don’t have to promote yourself to get hired (or stay employed) you haven’t stopped living. It’s worthwhile to ask yourself “what do people say about me when I’m not in the room?”
Are you known as the one who helps out? Do people consider you as someone who runs from difficult situations? Are you the friend you want others to be? Are you known for mentoring others? Are your actions consistent with your beliefs/values? Building a personal brand in retirement is part of your legacy.
Because we live in an online world, a digital presence means more than Facebook posts about your cat or pictures of your lunch plate. An internet search will bring up countless articles and websites on building a personal brand. Books on the topic abound. Most are aimed at career building through personal branding but the information is useful when considering online presence.
A personal brand in retirement is a means of telling your story. It describes who you are and how you interact with the world. For example, I’m intentional about blogging about my retirement journey. I’m interested in positive psychology, investing, and ageing gracefully. I’m a wife, mother and grandmother. I love to read, cook, play bridge, and knit. Activities I enjoy include theatre, yoga, book clubs, and hanging out at our cottage.
Branding in retirement is also about building credibility in relationships. Regardless of age or stage of life social connections are important. These connections, whether close or casual, need attention and effort.
Finally, your reputation is the most important aspect of your brand regardless of age or stage in life. Building your reputation requires time, patience, and consistency. It can also be ruined quickly. What you do, how you live, and how you relate to others — both online and in the real world will define your reputation — and, thus your brand.
Your brand and your reputation will constantly evolve. Like anything precious, both are worth time and attention.
Thanks for reading this blog post. I’m interested in your comments about personal brands. Do you pay attention to your retirement brand? How is it important in your life? If you like the postworksavvy blog, please consider becoming a subscriber to receive an email when a new post is published.