Every successful company has it’s own ‘brand’ and that brand says something to the consumer about its values, goals, and mission. Big companies spend vast quantities of money on their brand, and ensuring that brand and its image isn’t tarnished – it’s vital to the company’s health that the brand and image are working for, not against the company’s goals.
Have you also noticed how all the messages a company puts out about itself are consistent – for instance BMW is a prestige car to drive, whilst Nike just wants you to go out there and do it and you will always get those message in their advertising and other materials.
So if you are your own company what does your personal image say about you as a brand? What is your message and is that message consistent both day-to-day, and with your business’s image?
Now, I want you to think of three or four words that you’d like your image to convey to the world (and if you run your own business, there needs to be congruency between your personal image and that of your business).
Do you want to be seen as:
The list goes on, but you get the idea. How you dress influences the message others are getting about you and your values and your personal brand. Why is it that if you work in the finance or law sectors, the dress standard includes conservative, dark suits, whilst if you work in the theatre you’re expected to dress with some
flamboyance? What does the finance industry want us to think about them by dressing in conservative darks suits – that they’re trustworthy, professional and can be relied upon not to lose all your hard earned money. Whilst those who work in the arts want you to think by their dress that they’re creative, dynamic, dramatic, innovative and of course exceedingly interesting and entertaining.
So you can understand how what you wear conveys a message to all who see you, and, if it’s your business, it’s even more important, as you are your brand and your business, and if you’re not consistent with your business goals and mission, then what can the customer expect from you?
Think about this, your first meeting with a new client you’re wearing a conservative suit, then the next meeting you’re wearing casual pants and top, the meeting after, you’re wearing a bold patterned shirt and the latest hip jeans, and then you run into the client at the supermarket checkout and you look like you’ve been out nightclubbing even thought it’s four in the afternoon – what is that client to think about you? Unless you’re an actor who has been trying out for a variety of roles, they’ll have started to think “Is this person and their business really the one for me? They don’t seem to know where they’re coming from. Can they really deliver consistent and reliable products/services or should I look for someone else?” All because your personal image is all over the place and doesn’t deliver a consistent message in line with that of your business.
Now that you can see how detrimental to your businesses health your personal branding can be, write down those three or more words that you’d like your image to convey, and think about the kinds of clothes that project these images. A personal image consultation can help you determine your personal style and brand if you’re unsure. Once you’ve developed your brand you can dress these clothes up or down, depending on the situation, but whatever your industry, to be taken seriously, you need to convey a consistent message, day in day out, because you never know who you’ll meet in that supermarket checkout queue.
© Imogen Lamport 2004
Reprint This Article
If you would like to reprint this article, please feel free ensuring you credit Imogen Lamport as author, include my webs address www.bespokeimage.com.au and email to let me know where you are publishing it.