Whether we like it or not we all have a personal brand. How to choose to show up as our own personal brand is really down to us.
I want to look at personal brand from the perspective of a small business owner. More specifically let’s consider those who sell their expertise and time. You are your brand and it doesn’t get much more personal than that!
But even if we work as part of another organisation there’s a good chance our personal brand aligns with the business brand values.
Let’s take the example of someone while self-employed is part of an established brand as a distributor/consultant. It’s highly unlikely you would put effort into selling and marketing this business unless your personal values were aligned with the company’s brand values.
For those of us who run our own businesses being aligned with our brand is crucial. It’s our passion, our raison d’être as we live and breathe our brand. If we show up and are not aligned with our brand our prospective clients will be confused. It’s not enough to simply talk the talk if we’re not aligned in the way we present ourselves.
If you are your brand it’s important to represent it in a way that aligns with its values in every way that we communicate:
- Our website/social media/online marketing
- Offline marketing – networking, events
- Working with clients
Lets Use Kate As An Example
I’d like to use Kate as an example. Kate has successfully built a business with Arbonne a health and wellness company. Arbonne’s brand values are:
Promote balance and live a pure, healthy lifestyle that encourages others to do the same. Support the Arbonne products and culture with knowledge and relentless passion. Lead by supporting others with professionalism, compassion, respect and integrity.
Okay so let’s take 5 personal values out of that statement:
Those values are stamped through Kate like Brighton Rock, if you meet Kate you will realize that she lives and breathes those values. They are her personal brand as much as Arbonne’s brand values.
Given that only 7% of our communication is verbal how else can Kate communicate those values? One way is through her appearance. Consciously or sub-consciously Kate thinks about those values when she gets dressed in the mornings. She walks the walk.
Personal Brand And Our Business Brand
It’s about the three Cs
If you know you look and feel fabulous that will shine from the inside.
Your inner confidence will be conveyed to everyone you meet. You will be able to easily communicate your message and it will be understood.
Equally have you ever turned up to an event and felt self-conscious about an aspect of your outfit? How successful was that event for you?
This is also about accepting that your appearance will not appeal to everyone, any more than you or your business will. This doesn’t mean you have to completely embrace the idea of dressing for your audience (see consistency). But it does mean being true to yourself and your values in the way you dress.
This isn’t about wearing a uniform, but it is about being consistent in the way you dress. Let me give you an example
If I’m out networking I’ll pile on the accessories. I want to be remembered by the people in the room for what I’m wearing. I’ll wear a bold scarf, a statement necklace and often a chunky bracelet.
However, if I’m working with a client then this look is very much toned down. Often I’ll wear black, a smaller necklace and sometimes jeans. Why? Well I’ve asked my client not to wear makeup, to wear an outfit that shows her body shape. I’m aware she may not feel very comfortable without her normal look. I don’t want her to feel intimidated so will not overpower her with what I wear.
You may wish to create a signature look that helps you to create that consistency.
Accessories are a fantastic way to create a signature look and identify your personal brand. Alternatively you can do this with the style of clothes you wear.
It probably goes without saying that we want to be known as credible and authentic?
It’s an integral part of building a business and establishing a know, like, trust relationship with our clients.
As I’m so fond of quoting: Style is a way of saying who we are without having to speak (Rachel Zoe). So being seen as credible and authentic in the way we dress helps to reinforce this message.
If we show up in an outfit that doesn’t really represent who we are and our values, then we may find our credibility has suffered.
Remember that we all have a message that we portray to the world on a daily basis. You can control what the message is saying. Alternatively you allow others to make assumptions about who you are and what you stand for.
Within seconds, people can and will formulate opinions about who they believe you are. Everyone has a personal brand, whether you have consciously thought about it or not.
Oh and there is a 4thone….
Getting your colours right. Wear the right colours and you will have a healthy glow, the wrong colours and you’ll look tired/overwhelmed.
Special note that if you’re having a photo shoot for your business or you are using video, think about colour.
If you wear the right colours for you, the final images will be much better. Wear the wrong colours and it will show in images and on video.
It is also a good idea to incorporate your brand colour(s) into the photo shoot. Not necessarily as your entire outfit, you can include your brand colour as an accent colour (accessories, colour in a fabric).
The caveat is that the colours need to be in the right tone/shade for you. If this is not in true alignment of your brand colours it’s not a big deal. No one is going to be looking for that level of detail.
So In Summary
Think about your personal values. Ask yourself if these are in alignment with your business values. Then consider if the clothes you wear are an expression of these and if not what could you do to ensure more congruence. If you’re still not sure, why not book a 30-minute no obligation call with me to get clarity on your personal brand and how to show up as yourself?