- Who & Why?
All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘appearance’
At the recent Country Music Awards (CMA), I saw a very entertaining, yet unusual occurrence. The show paired two very unlikely brands to sing the first song of the night.
Out on stage came Miranda Lambert, who is about 40 pounds lighter these days. That was just fine. However, she came out with Meghan Trainor who sings the hit song, “All About The Bass ”. What an odd duo vocally.
Not only was the duet an odd brand pairing vocally, but it was visually strange. Here they were singing about how they were bringing booty back and that size is irrelevant. Miranda Lambert was looking sleek and thin, obviously through effort and a desire for it, singing it doesn’t matter our size.
Yet, Miranda Lambert has been very verbally public with her weight loss and well, less of a booty these days. While Lambert has said she is happy any size and loves to eat fried chicken, she has also said she loves being inspired to look at/listen to Brittany Spears when working out.
I respect her verbal stand on the topic, but if I hadn’t read anything about her stance and just saw the performance, my perception would possibly be very skewed for the worse.
In brand development, I always point out the “2 C’s”: Clarity and Consistency. Clarity is all about knowing who you are as an artist and as a human. It would seem Miranda Lambert is clear that she prefers being a smaller size and that’s fine. Consistency is about communicating your same brand in the same manner every time to everyone. Without consistency, your audience gets confused, can’t track you, relate to you, be your biggest fan or follow you. Since branding is all subconscious processing of information, perhaps your fans won’t actually be thinking these exact thoughts, but they will be “feeling” something is off and uncomfortable for them- about you.
I remember when I first stopped practicing law, I had no clarity on who I was as a personal brand. Since I had decided to stop practicing law, I was so lost and confused. My identity as a “lawyer” had been stripped from me. I had no idea who I was, much less how to consistently show up as a brand. As the first step to my brand clarity, it took me really learning that I was NOT my career/profession in order to really be able to show up and gain a following.
So seeing Miranda Lambert up on stage singing a song about loving ourselves regardless of size when she had lost all that weight, was not true to her current visual brand, I would say. I think it is great that she has lost so much weight. Good for her. But you always have to watch what brand statement you are making with anything in your life, including weight loss. This is especially true when you are up on stage standing next to someone who has a current brand around a hit song stating verbally the opposite.
What does this mean for you? I realize both “C”s are hard to master. For starters, all you need to do is to be self-aware. Be self-aware of who you are and how you want that message to come across to others.
Remember, branding is subconscious perception. That means, you have to know it and believe it before we do. And yes, your visual brand matters just as much as the verbal brand message you give us. Always remember, we likely see you first before we hear from you, so you need consistent verbal and visual brand messages.
Personal Branding involves your visual brand, including what you wear that reflects your personal branding goals.
How many times have you attended a crowded networking event where it seemed every professional in attendance was wearing a blue or black suit? How many times have you left events where everyone and everything seemed like a blur? What I mean is you could not quite remember anyone’s name or practice. In other words, no one left any type of impression on you. No one was memorable, let alone credible. Ever wonder why? It is because no one stood out for you. In a sea of sameness based on profession, what is it that you have to help you stand out?
Visual branding is about how you show up for me visually. In other words, we are talking about your actual appearance. Your appearance is only about twenty percent of the personal branding package that we are working to create, but nevertheless an important piece. When you are at a crowded event are you wearing something that will make me stop and take notice of you in a positive way? Or do you choose to blend into the background? Another good way of thinking about your attire and visual brand is to keep asking yourself, “does my attire and appearance bring me profit?”
This is often the point where people roll their eyes. In their opinion the visual portion is “fluff”. After all, not many of us professionals are working daily to make a fashion statement. I tend to agree. However, we also need to realize that society is visual in nature. Why do you think it is that so much money is spent each year by retail clothing stores, and designers producing clothes, marketing them to us and the rest of society?
Society (and businesses who would hire you) tend to pay attention to these things. Michelle Obama is a great example. How often have we heard and seen commentary about her fabulous and toned arms? Or what about her Gap sweaters and casual skirts? And the latest was all the commentary around her red Jason Wu gown at the inauguration ball.
I can’t say I was a fan of her red Jason Wu gown. In the past her clothing selection has denoted a personal brand element for her that was consistent and had clarity. This particular Wu gown did not send the same message to me about Michelle Obama’s personal brand. That’s my perception, that’s my reality and therefore, it is correct- for me.
Regardless of whether you liked Michelle Obama’s red gown or not, the fact is that we are talking and writing about it. There was even a column in the Huffington Post on it! Just as we notice Michelle Obama’s arms and gowns, people notice you and your visual brand and form judgments about you and your business based on it. If you disagree because you claim you are not the First Lady and thus, not super visible – you are fooling yourself!!
Does your attire bring you profit? What is your visual brand? Does it work for you? If not, what will you change and how?
We are often preaching the personal branding concept that “perception is reality”. What we mean is that someone else’s perception of you is their reality and thus, correct- you can’t expect them to perceive you otherwise, at least not at first.
But the real inquiry is how do you perceive yourself. This is the starting point for our personal brand analysis because if you don’t know how you see yourself, then how can we alter your personal brand to serve you well.
It seems the entertainment industry is on board with this simple, yet powerful premise, too. I heard an interesting statement the other day on Anderson Cooper’s show. Actor Blair Underwood (remember him from LA Law?) was speaking of appearing on the new show, “Who Do You Think You Are?”. He said the entire premise for him is, “How you perceive yourself impacts how you present yourself.”
We, here at Puris Image, tend to agree with our actor friends. Your self perception plays 100% into how you present yourself and thus, how your personal brand is perceived by society. So stop and ask yourself a few of the following questions in order to identify how you perceive yourself:
- Would you hire yourself given the way you show up today- based on what you wear, what you say, the kind of service you give clients/customers?
- Do you perceive yourself as:
- knowledgeable/an expert
- truly about your clients’ best interest
- a “winner” or someone on the sidelines of life/your profession
Be honest with yourself when answering these questions- the truth does hurt, but leads to great places for us all. Let us know if you have any questions or need help with your answers.
I was listening to a Sunday service yesterday where the lecturer was talking about how nice it is that our thoughts are not projected out loud. Then she asked a question that made me laugh, but also made me think about the personal branding work we do. She asked us if we often show our thoughts externally to others.
So I started thinking. How often do you walk down the street and see people reflecting their thoughts to us all? Some people mumble their thoughts out loud for us to hear. Others literally show up in life visually reflecting their thoughts- for good or for bad.
You may ask, “How do they do this?” There are so many ways, but let’s just take one- our eyes. The eyes are the gateway to the soul, they say. So how often do your eyes tell us exactly what you are thinking?
I was in a meeting a few weeks ago. It was boring and the people were acting in a way with which I completely disagreed. Apparently, I was “thinking” out loud through my eyes. One of my colleagues was gracious enough to lean over and tell me she was reading my discontent through my eyes. I was so grateful for the feedback. I immediately fixed the problem: not only did I change my gaze, but I changed my thoughts regarding the meeting. That’s the only way it would work.
Because I had changed my perception and thoughts about the meeting, I was able to change my gaze, posture and entire outlook regarding the meeting and the participants. After that, any thoughts that you read via my eyes and “being” were fabulous for my personal brand because I was happy, engaged and a willing participant.
So next time you believe you are keeping your thoughts and opinions to yourself, look again. Are you really keeping your thoughts private or are you reflecting your thoughts externally to us all? In order to resonate joyfully with your audience (ie, the world) and have a fabulous personal brand, watch your:
-thoughts, above all else
-intonation (vocal, email, text)
In personal branding, your visual brand (attire, clothing, etc) is a part of your personal brand. Therefore, we do spend time making sure your attire and clothing options reflect the personal brand and business brand you want to project. We do this so you stand out, are memorable and feel good and look like you are “owning” your profession and service/product. In a world full of sameness, your visual brand and attire are a very easy and effective way of being unique and showing us what value you can bring to us- without ever saying a word.
Last week I had the privilege of being invited to Neiman Marcus for a Spring Trend preview given by their style adviser, Alex. Twelve of us were treated to a personal fashion show of the Spring trends in a way only Neiman Marcus does- Mimosas, gourmet breakfast and class.
The Spring trends include:
- Various shades of the color pink- from hot pink to pale pink
- Colorful clutches
- Various shades of yellow (my favorite!)
- Dramatic earrings
- Colorful pants, including pajama pants (yikes!)
- Mixing prints
- Scuba influences (minus the water)
- Tribal influences
- Strong eyebrows
Now, here’s the deal. The list above is not the “Truth”. I don’t think any of us should be wearing something just because it is “in” or trendy. I see so many people clamoring to wear the latest trends or style to fit in. But what are you fitting into exactly? Are you losing yourself and who you are to fashion and trends or are you incorporating trends into who you are to accent you and make you memorable and unique? Believe it or not, it is possible to wear trends AND stay true to who you are.
We should be wearing clothes because: 1) they make us look good and therefore, feel good 2) they reflect who we are as a person and a business brand and 3) they are comfortable.
The most important from my experience with clients is comfort. As part of our personal branding process, we dress clients. The first question I always ask is “does this outfit/attire make you feel comfortable?” If the answer is anything less than, “yes!”, we go back to the drawing board. If you feel uncomfortable in your clothing, then you come across that way to others- stiff, uptight, fidgety and unsure of who you are. In other words, it does nothing for your personal brand.
So go ahead and wear neon and scuba-influences attire. Wear hot pink and tribal influenced clothing. Go crazy with hot prints! However, only do so if these trends lend to your personal brand, enhancing who you are and how unique you are while making you look good and being comfortable.
What trends do you love? Email us and let us know.