Personal Branding Image Consulting ,Atlanta
As an image consultant the first piece of advice I impart, before I even discuss professional attire with a client is--be that for which you want to be known. Be all the core values that make you who you are and show that you are a valuable asset to your company. When you give your very best self, you become known for that -- in all of life, not just work. This effort starts with creating a positive first impression then goes way beyond that and becomes your lasting imprint--that for which you will be known. It is not just the Oprahs, Zuckerbergs, or Bransons of the world that make lasting imprints. We all do. We all have unique gifts that when discovered, developed and used in the best way, can leave positive and lasting imprints in our personal, professional and communal lives.
Image is so much more than your selection of clothing. You know the colleague who is always on-the-ball, organized and sharp or the friend who is positive and energetic no matter the circumstance. You also know the negative nay-sayers who are skeptical and critical. This is their core being at work. So when I begin work with a client, we start from the inside out. Image is about your tone, attitude, communication style, behavior, and manners. It is about every way you express your core values and your inner style. It is also significantly about how you choose to represent yourself digitally. You control your message, so what do you want to say?
I ask some initial questions: How do you want to be perceived? What do you want to be known for? The answers are not always easy, nor are they fast-coming. Once someone takes the time to ponder their purpose and how they want to be perceived, the focus of our work together is to develop and manage their personal brand to reflect their purpose, image and that for which they want to be known.
There are four aspects to image development that I work on with a client: the ABCD of their image and "personal brand", including Appearance, Behavior, Communication and Digital Imprint. In this five-part blog series, I will discuss in greater detail each aspect and I'll explain why it's important to manage each of these areas.
Next week, I will start with Appearance. If you plan to follow this series, I'd like for you to do some soul-work/homework. Select three words that best describe you and for which you want to be known. Next week I will explain why and how your Appearance is important in reflecting your personal brand and image.
"helping you express your most authentic self"
Choosing the right gift for your boss or co-workers does not have to be difficult! Just follow these Do’s and Don’ts to make shopping stress-free. The kind of gift you give depends on your relationship and the work occasion. Is this gift part of a secret-Santa or game exchange, or is it specifically intended for a certain person? Either way, keep the gift non-gender specific and impersonal--but I don’t mean unthoughtful.
THE DEFINITE DO’S
AND THE DON’TS…
Actually, any boss at any time, feel free to give your employees an iPhone watch.
The point of giving a gift is to express your gratitude with something that says “I saw this and I thought of you.” Be thoughtful, be thankful, and be appropriate.
Often, our first encounter with someone is online--through one of our social media platforms, an email, or on our website. The first impression you make may actually be digital. You want to be taken seriously as a professional and expert in your field, but do your digital platforms and communications offer a positive and authentic first impression? As soon as they land on your various sites someone considering conducting business with you or considering you for a position will quickly know if they want to engage. Pew research shows 93% of hiring managers will review a candidate’s social profiles before making a decision.
Consider the digital avenues you use as part of a marketing campaign that promote your personal brand. Do your website(s), social platforms and digital communications authentically reflect the person and professional you are and give the impression you want to make?
Conducting a regular, scheduled audit of your social media content is vitally important to your personal brand.
There are five things to consider when auditing your digital presence: function, images, content, compliance, and form.
1. FUNCTION: Start by making a list of your social media platforms. What social platforms do you use—and why? Do they serve your purpose? For example, if your Facebook page is intended to be a business platform, is it overloaded with personal content that is irrelevant? Create a chart of all your digital outlets, then check off the list as you conduct your audit. Review each platform's purpose, frequency of posting, the images on the site, and of course, your grammar.
Personal Business Hobby Frequency Images Grammar
Facebook X X Weekly X X
LinkedIn X Bi-Monthly
Instagram X X Daily
Twitter X Daily
Pinterest X X Weekly
2. IMAGES: Review all the images on your social sites. Tweets accompanied by an image are more likely to receive engagement. Do you post with images? If so, are they appropriate content for each of your platforms? If your Facebook page is used as a professional content site, then an image of you in your pajamas on Christmas morning is not what your visitors want to see. A picture of you and your team at the office "ugly sweater" holiday party—sure.
You can add levity and humanity to your social media sites— not TMI.
Are your profile pictures consistent across your platforms? They should be. Use a professionally-taken profile picture on LinkedIn, and on any platform that is used for business or promotes your expertise. Using a professional picture consistently let’s your digital visitors know they arrived at the right place. Using a photo that is also referenced on your website creates consistency across your media platforms, elevates your professionalism and confirms you are purpose-driven. Since you control your personal brand, make sure you are the only one that can post photos on your pages.
3. CONTENT: Do your social media outlets direct viewers to your website? Media Marketing guru, Jay Baer refers to your website as a brick and your social media platforms as feathers. The purpose of these feathers is to provide bits of information that make those engaged visit your brick-- where they can explore your content and expertise further and deeper and hopefully become a customer.
Make sure your website address is apparent on each social platform.
On your personal social media platforms, make sure to avoid any references to sex, drugs, guns and alcohol. If you are hoping for positive engagement, or to be hired, these topics are poison!
4. COMPLIANCE: Are you presenting yourself as a thought leader and expert in your field? Is all your content copyright compliant? If someone else wrote it, credit it!
If someone else thought it and it inspired you, reference them.
If you generate a significant amount of original content, Cision offers a white paper, "The Professional Communicator's Guide to Copyright Compliance & Fair Use," that can help you understand how copyright affects your brand.
5. FORM: Grammar matters. Spelling matters. Language matters--in all of your marketing materials, social sites, email communications and on your website. Grammatical errors reduce the quality of your posts and diminish you as a reliable and professional source. According to Richard Knobbs of K Creative, the perception is, “If they can't take the time for a spell check or some editing, they probably won't take time for their customers.” So to put it in the profound and simple words of Marketer and Author, Suzanne Evans,
“The way you do anything is the way you do everything.”
Slow down. Edit. Use spell check. Reread. Read again. Post.
Helping you express your most authentic self,
As our warm Indian summer turned into crisp fall in a matter of a few days, I pulled out a wool jacket and sweater to wear to a meeting yesterday. My first thought was--I need a new blue blazer and new pumps. My lightweight wool blazer is by Ralph Lauren from 2008 and my beautiful leather-soled made-in-Spain black pumps, also by Ralph Lauren, from 2006! I tied my 10 year-old silk scarf around my neck, put on my 15-year-old TAG watch, and shoved my phone and lipstick in my vintage LV bag. I glanced once more in the mirror on the way out and realized-- I don't need anything new! I look exactly as I want: professional and elegant in pieces that I've had in my wardrobe for ages. By any current fashion standard, everything would be deemed vintage and yet, I looked very current and my clothing new.
I don't expect my clients to hold on to pieces as long as I do, but the philosophy I try to impart is "buy quality, treat it well, wear it for many seasons". You must buy the highest quality you can afford and sometimes invest in some luxury pieces. There are certain items that can be worn and enjoyed for many years as long as they are treated well and you don't experience significant size change. These are what we call timeless pieces and are the staples of an executive wardrobe. You can wear them to work or on the weekend; dress them up or dress them down and wear them for a long time.
But for how many seasons can you wear an article of clothing before it looks dated? Obvious physical wear is the first thing that makes clothing look dated. Worn or soiled collars and cuffs, frayed hems or seams, stains and discoloration on any part of the garment makes it unwearable, no matter the brand or how much it originally cost. The second aspect to consider is the style, silhouette and design of the garment. To have longevity, a garment must have classic lines and elegant tailoring that supersede yearly trends.
Clean your clothing per label instructions, store them properly off season, and hang them and keep them on the appropriate hangers. If your closet has a window, make sure it is covered by a solid drape or shade and store your suits in cloth garment bags to protect against dust. I have seen many beautiful pieces that have been made unwearable because of fading by sunlight in windowed closets.
I made a list of classic investment clothing and accessory pieces that truly will last for many years in your wardrobe if you treat them well.
Beautifully tailored, light-weight navy wool suit with pencil skirt.
Cashmere pullover in a neutral color.
White quality cotton or silk button down shirt.
Camel colored wool slacks.
Elegant leather black pumps.
Luxury black leather purse.
Burberry trench coat.
Helping you express your most authentic self,
When I begin discussions with a potential new client I always invite them to review my website, visit my Style Counsel Facebook page, follow me on twitter and read about me on LinkedIn. These are elements of my digital brand and enable a client to establish an idea of who I am and what my business is all about, sometimes before they've even met me. From my digital platforms, they achieve a first impression of me and my services. Hopefully its a good impression.
Well, guess what? I do the same thing! I visit all the social platforms to get an idea of who my potential client is as well. What I run across so many times is the complete absence of a photo of them on their LinkedIn page. It's one of the biggest mistakes I see!
Have you ever gone through real estate listings and wondered why there is no picture of a house on sale? Your assumption is that if there’s no photo, something’s wrong. You are seven times more likely to have your profile viewed if you have an image on LinkedIn. In fact, HSN Beauty found that, when paging through LinkedIn profiles, 19% of recruiters look only at your profile picture.
Please put up a picture! But make sure its a current professional picture! This is not your personal facebook page, so no kids on the beach with the dog--especially if you are a mom ready to get back to work. You want your picture to announce that you are a professional and ready for a full time career.
Another photo blunder is misrepresenting your age. Do not use old photos. If you are called for an interview, the interviewer, instead of focusing on your answers, is distracted by the thought that you might be deceptive or lack confidence. You have knowledge, experience and wisdom. Own it.
So be authentic, be confident and be professional. Appearance matters!
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I write about the topics that make you stand out and help you be that for which you want to be known. My passion is helping you as a professional to discover your values: your inner style and project it authentically and confidently though your words, actions, appearance and digital presence.