The Brand is YOU
What do these people have in common?
They are brands. Their pictures evoke an immediate qualitative and sometimes quantitative summation. You associate their images with a value. And value can mean more than net worth. It can be about what they represent, cool barometer, likability factor, and a slew of other qualitative metrics.
But, what about you? You aren’t a celebrity. But you are a brand.
Whether you like it or not, your brand is assessed immediately on first pass, and then grows over time.
On introduction, here are the top 5 most immediate brand synapses:
Dress: Professional. Artsy. Cheap. Trendy. Clean.
Bottom line: Dress with an objective. Like it or not, you’re creating a reaction. Shredded jeans say I’m trendy and trying (maybe too much) to be cool. Crisp white shirt says I respect you and took the effort to create a clean slate for you. Cleavage says I’m not that confident so I’m using assets other than my brain and personality to connect with you.
Smell: Clean. Unclean. Fresh. Scented. Expensive. Cheap.
Bottom line: If you can’t afford a sophisticated scent, go with clean and fresh. Soap scent works. Scents evoke incredibly strong reactions. In doubt, ask a friend.
Shoes: Sexy. Practical. Shoddy. Worker. Rich. Poor.
Bottom line: Match the right shoes to the event. A business job interview is not the place to wear platformed stilettos. Guys, invest in a good pair of shoes, even if you’re wearing jeans to work. The ROI will be substantial.
Comportment: Slouch. Straight-backed. Shuffle. Determined.
Bottom line: The way you carry yourself speaks volumes about your confidence level and your ability to get it done.
Voice: High. Low. Accented. Rough. Scratchy.
Bottom line: You can’t typically change your voice. But, try to control it. Listen to yourself. The way you talk, laugh. Temper if necessary. Nothing can grate more than an irritating voice especially when things are tense.
Long Term Brand Building
Over time, don’t let your brand grow stagnant. Continue to grow. Build. Define. Evolve. How? Be retrospective. Try to see yourself as others might. Ask yourself: who do I want to be in a year, three years? Then, sculpt away.
Here are areas for brand sculpting:
Work Ethic. Ask yourself, how do people see me? Is my brand strong in this area, or do I have room for improvement? Am I on-time for meetings? Am I on-time for work? Do I make deliverables? Am I a person of my word?
Philanthropic. Am I a generous soul? Do I give back? Not that you have to tell everyone about it. Generosity emanates from inside. Try it. It will make you glow.
- Marilyn Schaffer