My dad started smoking when he was a teenager and smoked like a chimney all the way through college and into adulthood. He worked in the newsroom of a major metropolitan newsroom, where smoking cigarettes and cigars was the norm—almost expected. Isn’t that the stereotype from the movies?
Well, in the 1960s, when my mom realized she was pregnant with my brother, Dad quit smoking. Cold turkey.
The overnight switch must have been strange for his colleagues at the paper, with their coworker showing up to work the next day no longer shrouded in smoke. Overnight, unannounced, he changed a huge part of how others perceived him. He never smoked again.
Rebranding Cold Turkey Can Be a Shock
If you would make a sudden decision like that, it’s great for your health, but a bit of a shock when it comes to rebranding.
Yet, people do it.
I’ll bet we’ve all seen people suddenly stop writing with barely an announcement. They essentially shut down their blogs and social media accounts and walk away from whatever they’ve built. A clean break. No ambiguity. One hundred percent certainty. Then they begin with a new project, a new focus, a new tone.
They end one thing so they can start the next thing.
They move on to new ideas, new projects, new topics.
The Type of Person to Rebrand Cold Turkey
They may be the type to rip off the Band-Aid all at once. Or they leap into the cold pool without even pausing at the edge of the diving board—one bounce and splash!
Perhaps they leave up one blog post or article explaining their reasoning and that leaves their readers without any question or confusion as to what happened. It can tell people where to find them as they launch the new space for the new brand. That way it may be sudden, but it’s spelled out.
Reasons People Rebrand Cold Turkey
It happens. People rebrand for lots of reasons.
Maybe they grew weary of the subject matter. They got tired of the storyline. They felt drawn to something new. They ran out of energy or ideas. They changed in core ways and wanted their brand to match.
For whatever reasons, they decided it was time to move on.
Cold Turkey Rebranding Benefits
Rebranding in a sudden way certainly offers some benefits.
A cold turkey switcheroo can throw faithful readers for a loop, but at least they have no question what’s happening. It’s clearly out with the old, in with the new.
Readers See If New Content Feels Relevant
If you rebrand cold turkey instead of choosing a slow transition, your long-time readers, while perhaps surprised, even baffled, at first, will see right away whether the new brand is relevant to them.
Writer Can Focus Right Away on the New
Another benefit of a sudden switchover is that the writer gains immediate freedom to focus completely on the new brand. He doesn’t have to drag it out over days, weeks, or months. If he’s excited about the new possibilities of the new look, feel, and content, he can get started right away building that.
Cold Turkey Rebranding Disadvantages
Rebranding in a sudden way may result in negative repercussions.
An unpleasant possibility is that readers who felt they had no time to prepare or say goodbye leave with a bitter taste in their mouths. You can explain your reasoning sympathetically, trying to see it from their perspective.
And you can explain your reasoning clearly, trying to help them see your perspective. But you can’t control how they’ll feel or respond. Hopefully they see your logic and understand your decision and direction. Even if they stop following your work, I hope they wish you the best.
Writer Loses Momentum
Another challenge of rebranding cold turkey is that it takes time to build the new audience of new readers if you haven’t already gathered them in creative ways prior to the rebranding. In that in-between time, if the writer loses readers, he may also lose momentum. The excitement he felt at the new vision may fade as he feels he’s starting from scratch.
Cold Turkey Rebranding Requires Commitment
If you’re convinced you want to rebrand and the best approach is to quit the old brand cold turkey and step boldly into the new you, you’ll have to commit. No second-guessing yourself or turning back. It’s like diving into that pool—you keep on swimming, no matter how cold the water is.
Even If You Change Cold Turkey, Have a Plan
It helps to have a plan before flipping the switch. Know where you’re going, who you’re reaching, and who you’re becoming. Decide how you’ll go about it. Now, I’m not providing a plan or an exhaustive list, but do think about things like:
- When will you quit the old and launch the new?
- Will it happen simultaneously? When you quit the old, will you offer examples of the new brand’s content for readers to sample?
- Will you announce it the day before or the day of the change on social media?
- How will you phrase your announcements and where will you post them?
- Will you rebrand the look of your online spaces—that is, will you not only rebrand yourself as a writer but will you also redesign your online “look”?
- What will you do with the old brand’s content? Will it live on in its existing space? Will it be archived? (Be sure to think about how others have linked to any content you’ve published online under the old brand if it has a different url.)
- How will people find the new brand if you rename yourself?
Even if you rebrand on a whim, it’s a lot of work. You can plan ahead or you can scramble to figure it out on the fly.
Find Instructions to Follow Rebranding Steps
While I can relate to the fun of spontaneity, I do recommend you search online and find a comprehensive list that walks you through the technicalities—especially of any website changes.
Enjoy the New Brand
However you go about it—carefully choreographed or in sudden chaos—enjoy the fun of a new brand.
I hope it feels a little like opening a new box of 64-count crayons on the first day of school and gazing in amazement that all these new colors are yours to use as you make art. No more stubby old crayons worn down and bare.
You can enjoy this same effect by simply redesigning your online spaces without actually rebranding your core self. But if you do rebrand completely who you are and the writing you produce, it’ll help you awaken to a fresh new day full of possibilities.
Maybe your sudden shift feels like trading in your old car for a new one. The dealer hands you the keys, you settle into the driver’s seat and take in that new-car smell and celebrate that you get to drive this beauty around town.
The Road Ahead
Rebranding as a writer is a big deal—certainly bigger than buying a new box of crayons and maybe in some ways bigger than buying a new car, although a new car would be amazing.
If you’ve chosen to switch cold turkey to a new brand and abandon the old, pick the day to pull the switch, and go for it.
Then step on the accelerator and take off as the new you. You may not know what’s around the bend, but you can be confident you’re on the right road.
- Posts about Author Brand
- Ep 136: What Do I Write Next – Enjoy Your Vein of Gold
- Ep 137: What Do I Write Next – Experiment and Expand Your Repertoire
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