A few years ago, referring to yourself as brand has become the in-thing. The likes of Kim Kardashian, Jay Z and Diddy were doing it and it wasn’t long before everyone else was.
Even our very own Bonang Matheba became fond of this practice and mentioned it every chance she could get.
The purpose of referring to yourself as a brand, whether or not you live and work in the public’s eye, was to think of yourself as a money making machine. A business. A product. And as such, you had to be able to refer to yourself and your skills in simplistic terms, develop and ethos and live by it.
As Jay Z once said "I'm not a business man, I'm a business, man."
Although, we must bear in mind that not everyone who ended up in the public eye set out to do this. More often than not, certain public figures had their brands thrust upon them by the masses and their actions were therefore judged by the parameters of that brand.
But, intentional brand or not, what happens when your personal growth/goals and your current brand are no longer aligned?
You rebrand, of course!
Companies do this on a regular basis in order to keep the brand strong and position themselves in the right manner to take advantage of whatever opportunities may come their way. So why can’t people do the same?
Author and brand consultant, Timothy Maurice Webster, believes that a rebrand (and the personal brand audit that precedes it) is incredibly necessary.
“Beyond the pot of gold you’re probably sitting on, there are many other reasons to conduct an audit. Before you access the treasure within, you have to position yourself to take advantage of it” writes Webster in the most recent edition of Destiny Magazine.
He then lists a number of questions one can ask themselves when conducting this audit. Ultimately, by doing this, you want to discover what your strengths and weaknesses are and to find out whether these things encourage or hamper your success.
A few of our ZAlebs have done this successfully and these are the rebrands we love:
Khanyi Mbau is the ultimate in terms of celebrity rebrands. She came into the public eye as a young woman who thought she had life figured out. When she realized she didn’t, she learned from her very public mistakes, took them in her stride and still came out on top.
Today, she is a completely different person. Not to condemn who she was in the past as she essentially has the same values, she has just discovered a different way of living and of presenting herself and achieving her dreams.
Riky Rick is another celebrity whose rebrand is often misunderstood.
He went from being an accessible dude, with immense talent, a fresh vision and some big dreams in his Boyz n Buckz days to King Kotini almost overnight.
It is perhaps this overnight shift that has probably made his transformation so hard to accept for most of his fans.
Despite him embracing a more luxurious lifestyle (which often makes him feel inaccessible) he is still Mr. Family Values, he is just at a different point in his life. For his fans to expect him to stay exactly the same is unfair and unrealistic.
The same applies to Tumi Molekane
http://www.timeslive.co.za/sundaytimes/lifestyle/entertainment/2016/11/25/Its-my-name-not-my-politics-thats-changed-Tumi-aka-Stogie-Twho recently went from ’T from the V’ to ‘Stogie T’. His is perhaps the most misunderstood rebrand in the hip hop world as fans struggle to reconcile his new-found appreciation for the high life with the man who rapped about things seen as “too deep” for mainstream hip hop.
Lastly, we have Nomuzi “Moozlie” Mabena who has been undergoing the slowest metamorphosis since she first set foot on the scene.
Unlike Riky’s overnight switch, Moozlie has slowly grown from the cute, funky girl who burst on the scene as an MTV VJ to a young woman who is more in charge of who she is, what she wants and how she is going to get it.
Whether you refer to her as Moozlie, La Madrina, Skhanda Queen or the New Age Ma-Brr, the allure of her personality and the distinctness of her envy-worthy wardrobe is undeniable. I mean, who else is like her?
The aforementioned artists’ visions changed at some point in their careers and they were wise enough to tweak their brands in order to reposition themselves to make those visions a reality.
So, instead of judging them for making changes we don’t understand, we as fans should do our best to understand WHY the changes were necessary.
In the words of alternative RnB artist Jhene Aiko, “shame on me for changing? No, no, no. Shame on you for staying the same….”
Main image credit: instagram.com/moozlie