We often talk about the inner aspect of personal branding, including your vision, purpose, values, goals and strengths. Personal branding, however, also includes outer representations of our brand. Your outer brand includes things like presence, personal impact, personal style, lifestyle and online presence. Whether or not we believe “a book should not be judged by its cover”, outer brand attributes are key in communicating your personal brand to others.
Our personal style in particular can have a major impact on the way others initially perceive us, and those impressions can sometimes make or break our chance at communicating our brand identity effectively. This month’s guest blogger, image consultant extraordinaire Gail Morgan of gailmorganstyle.com, shows us some interesting ways to convey our personal brands through the use of colour psychology.
When you have identified your inner brand attributes; such as your values, vision and purpose, how can you demonstrate these quickly and easily to the outside world?
One way is through the outer brand attributes of your clothes, body language, grooming, voice and words. These are the physical manifestations of what has been happening internally, but if the internal and external don’t match there is incongruence and you could be perceived in a negative way.
Ideally you want your outer brand to be a reflection of your inner confidence – but how to do this and where to start?
When I work with clients on their external Personal Brand we discuss their values and how they want to be perceived by others. We will sort through their wardrobe looking for garments and clothes that will reflect these attributes and their lifestyle. As a personal style expert, I will then guide them towards styles and colours that suit their body but I also use colour psychology to help boost their personal brand attributes.
- Colour conveys powerful messages
- Colour affects us all physically, mentally & emotionally
- All colours have both negative & positive effect
- A person’s response to colour is subjective
- Scientifically, it is the first thing that we register when we are assessing anything
Research shows that every colour has its own set of perceived connotations, which affect people when they see the colour. For example, if you consider the colour red – what words immediately pop into your head? You might be thinking – danger, passion, anger, stop, power &/or aggression. Then repeat the exercise thinking about the colour blue – what words spring to mind now? Perhaps – cool, calm, professional, conservative, sky &/or boring.…completely different words!
So how can you use this?
I have listed below the common attributes associated with a number of different colours. Check through the list and see if any of your personal brand values are listed. Then on a day when you want to project this, add some of this colour into your outfit – it’s as simple as that!
Crazy as it sounds, just adding a splash or more of this colour can really boost your confidence. The colour may just be within a pattern on a blouse or a tie, or it may be a bigger block of colour in a dress, jacket or shirt. And the colour doesn’t always need to be seen – it is amazing how some red or purple underwear can empower you!
Colour Psychology Attributes
Red: Dynamic, successful, confident, assertive, aggressive, powerful.
If you wear red you will get noticed so it is not a good colour to wear if you want to hide or fade into the background! Too much red might be perceived as being too aggressive.
Blue: Professional, trustworthy, conservative, credible, efficient, intelligent.
Great to wear if you want to project knowledge and a “safe pair of hands” – these attributes are stronger the deeper the blue used, for example, navy versus pale blue.
Green: Balanced, harmony, approachable, empathetic, trustworthy, constant.
Perfect if you are a coach and if you want people to share or brainstorm with you.
Black: Professional, authoritative, efficient, sophisticated, powerful, remote.
Avoid if you want people to share with you (especially totally black outfits) because this can create a psychological barrier. But great to use if you are a leader or don’t want to be interrupted!
Brown: Supportive, respectable, empathetic, reliable, approachable.
Again ideal if you want people to talk and share with you – as with blue, the deeper the brown the more professional you will appear.
Purple: Creative, innovative, confident, quality, authentic, successful.
Fantastic to use if you want to add a touch of creativity and imply success, this is because purple was traditionally only worn by the clergy and royalty as it was a difficult colour to dye fabric.
Pink: Approachable, empathetic, warm, caring, youthful, feminine.
These attributes are more associated with a pale or soft pink. A bright fuchsia pink will actually have more in common with red.
Orange: Fun, dynamic, confident, youthful, passion, stimulating.
A difficult colour to wear but a small amount in a pattern or an accessory can add a fun element to your outfit and other people’s perception of you.
Yellow: Confident, optimistic, creative, youthful, friendly, approachable.
Like orange – not always the easiest colour to wear but great to add in small doses.
Grey: Neutral, respectable, efficient, consistent, professional, reliable.
A brilliant colour for corporate wear or if you know you are going into a “difficult” meeting as it almost feels you are wearing some armour!
White: With a deep shade = Authoritative, powerful, assertive, efficient.
On its own = wealthy, pure, sterile, cold.
Great to wear in a corporate situation combined with a darker colour as the contrast of colours will make you stand out and give you respect. For example a white shirt or blouse with a dark suit.
Understanding the power of colour psychology when you are getting dressed can give you that added confidence to greet the day ahead. The style and structure of your garments as well as your grooming will also have an impact on your external personal brand – but the power of colour could be the secret ingredient that gets you noticed for all the right reasons.
Gail Morgan is a style and image expert with over 25 years’ experience, helping busy people to enjoy their clothes and create a wardrobe that works for them.