Whether it be a business or an individual, well-known names have a distinctive brand, from Macdonalds’ golden arches to Dame Judy Dench’s pixie hairstyle. Personal branding encompasses many things and is relevant to everyone, no matter their circumstances.
Working with professional women means I focus a high proportion of time relating personal brand to my client’s career or business. Here’s a snapshot of some areas you can focus on to help build your unique personal brand.
Appropriate dressing styles for business
Aligning the way we dress and present ourselves to our type of business ensures others can relate to and understand what we do. I often use the analogy of a dog walker versus a Virtual Assistant. A dog walker will be likely to dress in very casual, practical clothing, appropriate for the time spent out of doors with their canine clients, whereas a Virtual Assistant, depending on the type of clients they target, are more likely to be seen in smarter attire, to mirror the fact that they are offering a professional service that pays attention to detail.
In these times of Covid, those distinctly different styles of dressing have blurred for many, as we have all be confined to our homes for so much of the time and dressing to impress has been put on the back burner. A survey I recently put together illustrates this perfectly, with most respondents saying that they have been dressing more casually and some saying that they will struggle to return to ‘proper workwear’.
Aligning business brand values with personal brand
Taking the above to the next stage, this is more about specific business brand and values. However small or large the business, most have their own ethos and brand values. Whether an employee or the business owner, dressing and presenting yourself in a way that is congruent with those values ensures the message comes across clearly to potential clients and customers.
For some businesses, having a uniform ensures everyone is ‘on brand’, clearly displaying the company logo. Even then, there will be some who keep their uniform looking pressed and clean, while others might always look crumpled and uncared for, which can affect the way they are perceived, both personally and as a representative of the brand.
Charles Colab Colton is quoted as saying “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. However, in terms of a personal brand, my advice is to be genuine and authentic. We are all completely unique, not only in the way we look, but also in terms of personality, temperament, life experiences etc. Being authentic helps us stand out from the crowd.
We could have a particular style of dressing, perhaps be known for certain accessories we wear, a distinctive hair style etc. Having an authentic look is a big part of our personal brand.
For example, what comes to mind if you think of Prue Leith, Oprah Winfrey or Gordon Ramsey? They have a very specific look, style or temperament that sets them apart and makes them unique – that is their personal brand.
Colour can be a very powerful tool as it has a language all of its own. For example, I often like to wear green – my favourite colour, but it is also the colour of empathy (within the western world), an important element of my brand values.
The use of colour is a huge consideration for many businesses, such as the food and drink industries. What colours come to mind when you think of Coca Cola, Cadbury’s, Heinz baked bean cans, etc? They are instantly recognisable as those company’s brand colours.
Having a distinctive personal brand makes us unique and memorable.
What does your personal brand say about you? What message are you portraying?