Welcome to the May edition of “A Year of Personal Branding“, where I’ve broken down key branding concepts as part of a month-by-month guide to help you with each step of growing (and implementing) your personal brand.
As always, I invite you to use these monthly Year of Personal Branding posts as a map that will allow you to navigate all aspects of Personal Branding.
In earlier posts, I asked you to look at your own brand attributes and how others perceive you. Last month, we look at the part of personal branding that includes outer representations of your brand, or your outer brand. Whether or not we believe “a book should not be judged by its cover”, outer brand attributes are a key concept – and often the first component – in communicating your brand identity to others.
While your outer brand is still very much in your mind, let’s have some fun in May and look at what you can add to your wardrobe that fits in with your newly defined personal brand. You’ve worked hard on finding and defining this brand so why not reward yourself?
Here are a few pointers to consider:
- What do you need to add to develop a brand-consistent personal style? Is there something you can add to your appearance that is unique and memorable (e.g., hairstyle, handkerchief, briefcase, ties, style of glasses)? Allocating yourself a budget, consider what you need to really add for polish and definition.
- Consider your goal. What would you like to achieve and can your outer brand help you get there? Perhaps this goal is to get promoted, find another job, or even to nurture the softer or more creative sides of your personal brand that need a little more air time.
- Have a strategy. Depending on your budget you can splurge on a wardrobe overhaul, pick a few key staple items that will last (coat, shoes, and handbag) or even just settle on a few accessories that compete the look. This doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. Second hand shops or online luxury consignment shops like Vestiare are often treasure troves, and with a bit of canny shopping, you can find winter bargains on sale to make room for summer stock!
- Details are critical. Do you give the impression that you take care of your appearance? Are your
garments stain-free and ironed? Do they fit properly or are you overdue for a trip to the tailor? Are your shoes dirty and scuffed or clean and shined?
- Look to your inspirations. Celebrities and high profile personalities as well as personal inspirations – and take note of their style and how they present themselves. Do they have a signature look, a certain quirkiness or hairstyle? How can you take what you admire about their look and make it your very own?
- Look to the experts. Here are some top tips from personal stylist Chantelle Znideric of personal-stylist.co.uk to get your juices flowing, and some excellent thoughts from stylist Gail Morgan of gailmorganstyle.com on how colour can impact on your personal brand. If you need more inspiration in this area, pick up some fashion glossies or check out the sites of fashion bloggers such as MyStyleArtist.
- Last but not least, ask yourself: Are you comfortable with your personal style or do you feel like you are “trying too hard”? Ultimately, your personal style needs to feel authentic.