How To Rebrand Yourself at Work



“If you are not a brand, you are a commodity.” — Philip Kotler

I was responding to a comment, about how to rebrand yourself, but then realized it’s worth sharing more broadly.

Here we go.

One of the things I do at work on a regular basis is mentor people on how to rebrand themselves, whether it’s to get a better review, build a better relationship with their manager, get a new position, or take their game to the next level.

As Marshall Goldsmith says, “What got you here, won’t get you there.”

This is especially true if your brand just isn’t working for you anymore.

The most useful way a mentor told me to think about a brand is what are the 3 attributes you want to be about?  For example, customer focus, quality, execution.

So if you are rebranding, you are really thinking about what 3 attributes you want to be about…now.

And sometimes the best thing you can do is go back to your original brand where you really made your mark.   (Just like there is something special about Coke “Classic” Smile )

The Top 5 Keys to Rebrand Yourself at Work

In my experience, there are a few things that you can do to make a big difference in reshaping your brand at work.

And much if it revolves around first pairing with your manager to get the support and trust you need as you amp up your brand for bigger and bolder challenges.

Here is my short-list of things you can do:

  1. Solve your manager’s top problems, quickly and effectively (this puts you in the inner circle of trust.  If you don’t know what is top of mind, then ask, and ask often.  (And, if you think you know what’s top of mind, check anyway, you’ll be surprised.)
  2. Establish rapport. If no rapport, then no influence.
  3. Know your manager’s key concerns and address them.  What holds you back?  What are three things to work on?
  4. Know your manager’s values and connect at the values.  Always connect at the value to find your rapport and build connection.
  5. Set the example that your peer’s want as their leader.  Do the Gandhi thing and “be the change”.  You might have all the credentials but you have to “fit in”, if you want to stand out.

If you do nothing else, then do #1.

Here is Why This Recipe Works

It’s the fastest and most effective way to become the right-hand person.  It also forces you to become extremely relevant.  You have to know what the top problems really are.  

This is a fast way to win over a new manager or to even win over an old one. 

People like people who make their problems go away.

If you are the one that can solve problems and be part of the solution, you are off to a great start.

Showcase and Emphasize the Value That People Actually Care About

Did you ever have somebody talk about a bunch of stuff you could care less about, and either gloss over or skip the part that you actually do care about?

Don’t be that person.

Make sure that whenever you talk about your impact or try to showcase your value, that you speak about it in terms of what your group or audience actually cares about.

Be aware and deliberately focus and showcase on what’s actually valued. 

For example, if you value “experience” but your manager values “fresh ideas”, then touting your experience might work against you.  

How ironic is that?  

If what they value now is “fresh ideas” and new perspectives, then give them more of what they want

For example, to generate fresh ideas, focus on your blue ocean mindset, your disruptive ideas, and ask questions that would inspire the ability to “change the business” vs. “run the business.”

If you don’t know what’s valued, then you better figure that out first.  Otherwise, you will have a really tough time creating rapport.  

And, as Tony Robbins says, “rapport before influence”.

Know Your Audience’s Convincer Strategy

If you don’t know their “convincer strategy”, then you’ll miss how to change their beliefs. 

A person’s convincer strategy is what it takes for them to be convinced. 

For example, do they need to hear something 3 times? Do they need to hear it from 3 other people? etc.  

Once you know this, you will know longer bang your head against the wall wondering how they are making their decisions and why they are for or against your ideas.

Demonstrate Great Judgment

Judgment is subtle, but demonstrating great judgment is the difference that makes the difference.

It’s quiet and behind the scenes, but people are always forming impressions of your judgment.

It gets revealed if somebody was asked to “act like you” or “what would Bob do in this situation?” 

It also gets revealed when the manager is out of office – who do they leave in charge? 

Usually, it’s the one they trust to exercise better judgment.

Do the Opposite

Sometimes the best thing you can do is to “do the opposite” of what you would normally do.

You need to periodically surprise people, so they don’t take you for granted and so they can see you in a new light.

Plus, you don’t want to become stuck in a rut or a victim of your own stinking thinking. 

So hit refresh every now and then, and do the opposite of what you would normally do, to shake things up and discover new success patterns.

You Can Reinvent Yourself But Start with #1

Like I said, I mentor people on this all the time, and I use the same strategies to continuously reinvent myself at work. 

But the thing that continues to surprise me is just how super effective #1 above is at changing your effectiveness at work. 

It’s often counter-intuitive especially when you want to go off and make big impact that you think is relevant. 

You have to win the trust first, then the leash gets longer, until finally you break the chain.

And, if you mess up, you simply go back to solving the highest priority problems on your manager’s plate.

Think of how you can expand your sphere of influence in a Stephen Covey sort of way.

You Might Also Like

Don’t Let Work Turn You Into Who You Don’t Want To Be
How To Rebrand a Brand
Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future
StoryBranding: Creating Standout Brands Through the Power of Story
The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding
Top 5 Lessons Learned in Personal Branding


  1. So much great stuff here packed so pithily! Most people don’t get it–it’s not just about fulfilling your nominal job requirements well. There’s so much more. In most corporate environments, success–if by success one includes recognition, including rewards & promotions–demands we look beyond checking merely off our commitments, & leveraging your checklist is a great way to elevate our game & to validate we’re on track. Superb post–thanks!

    • Thank you!

      It helps that I get asked this question on a regular basis. I realized that I never actually compacted it down into a nice, tight answer or formula.

      While there are more parts to the formula and it would be great to elaborate, I think that this pretty much reflects how I’ve helped folks completely turn their situations around, myself included. It’s pretty repeatable.

  2. JD, As always, this was really helpful. Regarding Establishing Rapport: I have a book recommendation that a co-worker recently sent to me; it’s Just Listen by Mark Goulston. It’s great.

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