by PERSONAL BRANDING expert, Sandy Dumont
In order to brand yourself, it is necessary to craft your unique “signature image” in much the same way a professional speaker crafts a signature speech. You may be surprised to hear that the most dynamic and natural-sounding speeches are the ones that have taken months, even years, to perfect – often with the help of a coach. Branding yourself –crafting your image – is the same.
Once you have established your signature image you must maintain consistency. In both corporate branding and branding for individuals, trust and consistency go hand in hand. Product inconsistency has killed many a brand.
For individuals, consistency doesn’t just mean just wearing a suit. It means that your image or persona has a head-to-toe consistency that evokes instant trust and gives you high credibility. In plain language, it means that all of the components of your appearance are in sync. If even one element of your image is out of sync, it casts doubt on your overall credibility. Dated hairstyles or garments suggest that your products or services are also dated. Poor posture, scruffy shoes, negative body language, unflattering colors that detract – all these things undermine credibility.
Casual Friday isn’t a good idea if you’re a serious professional, because of the obvious inconsistency with your Signature Image. If you run into clients on the street, your casual attire could cast doubts about your seriousness. A true professional always looks professional.
Even in casual attire, at the company golf match for instance, you must look like you just left the polo match, not like you’re ready to clean out the garage. A client remarked that she ran into her surgeon at the grocery store one Saturday morning. He was sloppily attired and had dirty nails and messy hair to boot. “I wish I hadn’t seen him,” she said. “He looked so dirty, I couldn’t trust him to perform surgery on me ever again.”
Brands have power, but it is power that has been earned. If your image is inconsistent or not on a par with your products or services, you may be playing Wardrobe Roulette® with your future. At the very least, your credibility will be diminished.
Next month: Tips for Creating a Powerful Professional Image
Sandy Dumont is a corporate image consultant and speaker. She has served Fortune 500 companies for 30 years and has presented on three continents. Contact her at 757.627.6669 or www.theimagearchitect.com. She has just created a video series for women, “Twelve Days to a Brand New You,” which is available on her website.