Case Study: Using Personal Branding to Successfully Change Careers

The increasing pace of change is bringing disruption to not only industries, technologies and business models but also to individuals’ careers. No longer is it the norm to spend one’s entire professional life in one job or even one industry.

Instead, job and career changes are becoming increasingly common—and necessary—in order to keep pace with the changing world of work. Our client, Martin Stellnberger, having spent years working in IT and the insurance sector, felt he had a choice to make when he reached the end of his most recent contract.

Having become aware of the disruptive potential of the recently invented Blockchain Technology, he realized he could either continue on his current path, renew his contract and wait for his industry to be disrupted OR he could step away from his current path, be proactive and upskill himself on this new technology.

Martin opted to be proactive and decided to explore his interest in Blockchain. After spending nearly a year researching and learning how to use this new technology, he found himself at yet another crossroads.

He could continue to remain behind-the-scenes and treat his Blockchain knowledge as simply a personal interest project OR he could “put himself out there” and launch a new career as a Blockchain Solution Architect.

Martin made the bold decision to follow his gut and pursue a career in the Blockchain space but wasn’t sure how to prove and showcase his cutting-edge expertise in order to launch this new career.

Uncertainty at the Beginning of the Personal Branding Process

While Martin was aware of the importance of personal branding, he couldn’t quite imagine the thought of writing his own bio, updating his CV and LinkedIn profile, and creating an entire website about him and the work he was doing.

At the time he remembers wondering, “Who am I that I think I can take up this space on the Internet?”

He was in conflict. He knew that if he didn’t tell anybody about his career transition, nobody would hire him; however, he had no interest in being overly promotional or salesy.

He reached out to Personal Brand Agency and although he had confidence about the direction he wanted to take his career, doubt crept into Martin’s mind when he wondered if the personal branding process was going to work for him and how much time and energy he’d be required to devote in order for it to be a success. He wanted his focus to remain on his area of expertise in blockchain.

Surprises and Learning from the Personal Branding Process

At the end of his personal branding experience, Martin learned that his previous perception of personal branding being about self-promotion was not accurate. Now, he sees branding as a choice.

Every individual gets to decide what they want to share with the world.

In Martin’s case, he wanted to share that he was passionate about the work he was doing and to declare that he was a Blockchain Solution Architect.

As a result of the branding exercise he went through with us, Martin realized how empowering it can be to choose who you want to be and then showcase your expertise by being that person. It’s about honestly conveying who he has become, showing what he’s capable of and simply sharing that with the audience.

Rather than self-promotion, developing your personal brand invites the right potential customers to engage with you.

It’s an offer of service to those that would benefit from working with you. Another learning experience Martin had when working with our team on his personal brand was the importance of consistency. He understood a major deliverable of our work together would be a professional website.

But, your personal brand must extend and be consistent over a range of domains. Martin’s personal brand informs the way he speaks, how he answers the phone, how he shows up at a meeting, how he carries himself, how he drafts an email, as well as the colors, fonts and pictures of his brand.

Thanks to the personal branding process, Martin not only has an appreciation for Personal Brand Agency’s holistic approach, which contributed to a building a credible and cohesive brand, but he now also has clarity about who he is and how he will show up in the world, which has helped him tremendously during his career transformation.

Results from the Personal Branding Experience

Another surprise for Martin was that the biggest result for him after going through the personal branding exercise was his own internal transformation and how that experience facilitated him becoming the person he wanted to be in a professional context.

By going through this process, his internal belief system changed and he now has more confidence.

He also got offered a position as a Blockchain Solution Architect at one of the biggest players in the Blockchain space within three months of his personal website being launched.

While Martin certainly took initiative and even flew over to the United States to meet with blockchain industry leaders, he attests that his brand and website were foundational in getting this opportunity.

“I absolutely love the work I’m doing now. I’m really grateful that I went through this branding engagement because it contributed a crucial piece of the puzzle that led me to where I am today,” said Martin.

Since Martin “put himself out there” and his personal brand is authentically representing who he is and what he’s capable of:

  • people in the Blockchain community are reaching out on LinkedIn to engage with him and to invite him to collaborate on projects

  • he isn’t pitching himself any longer, but he’s consistently getting pitched to (which shows his brand is working for him even when he’s not actively working on it)

  • he’s being invited to present at tech, Blockchain and Fintech conferences

  • recruiters are consistently contacting him to extend invitations for new job opportunities.

And, since Martin’s brand positions him in a premium segment for technologists, it helps him avoid the conversation about hourly contract rates. Since he’s clear and authentic about his expertise and skill-set, there is a certain level of expectation upfront from those who wish to hire Martin because he’s conveyed what he’s capable of.

And, in terms of the investment into personal branding?

At his new salary rate, it took only 1.5 months to earn back the personal branding investment and as Martin said, “That investment was not a big deal, it was a good deal. It was a great financial decision.

If you’re ready to transition to a different career just like Martin, it helps to build up your confidence by clarifying your new brand positioning in a professional context and proving your authority to yourself first. Then, it gets easier to put yourself out there in an authentic and effective way.

If you'd like our support, contact us today.