Developing Your Personal Brand
We learn how companies, who essentially offer the same product, differ from their competitors by their corporate image and branding. All airlines, for example, will get you where you want to go, but they have their own way of delivering their service based on their brand values. Successful companies will make sure their brand is strong, recognisable and consistent. They will have a logo, website, stationary and their brand values firmly in place to ensure that the message is consistent and congruent.
In today’s increasingly competitive labour market, it is more important than ever to recognise that you as an individual are also a brand. The way you present yourself and your ‘Personal Brand’ sends a message about you, your capabilities and your values.
Research shows that it takes only seconds to form a first impression, and that more than half of that first impression is based on appearance. People essentially buy people, and when you are out networking and meeting potential clients the first impression is the one that will stick. If that impression is not favourable, it is very hard to undo. Therefore, the image you project needs to be defined and clear. If not, others will make decisions about you before you get the chance to tell or show them otherwise.
Your image is not just about your clothes, but your voice, and body language. Even your choice of phone sends out a message. Your image needs to be consistent, and reflect who you are, your capabilities, and what you are selling.
A great starting point for defining your ‘Personal Brand’ is to ask the following:
- What is the first impression you make on entering a room?
- How is your body language and communication? Do you slouch or fidget? What impression does that give?
- What do you want people to know about you, your values and skills? What makes you different? Make a list. Is your image reflecting this?
- Do your clothes and image represent you at your best? Do they show who you are and reflect your personality? Are your clothes good enough quality, up to date and well maintained?
Think of how you can upgrade and improve your image. Be really honest with yourself, and, if possible, ask someone you trust to look at you objectively, or hire a professional to help you.
Defining your Personal Brand can make a huge difference on how people treat you, how you feel about yourself, and how your career or business progresses. You will feel more confident, be able to represent yourself at your best, and more importantly stand out from the rest in an increasingly competitive world.
About Lizzie Edwards
Lizzie Edwards is a London based Personal Stylist and Image Consultant, who set up set up her Style Consultancy services in 2005 with a desire to help people look great, feel great and make the best of themselves and their image. She works 1-1 with both men and women who want to maximize their style, image and personal brand, and also within companies to help maximize the image potential of their employees, either 1-1 or in groups.