A personal brand is a reflection of who you are and how you present yourself to the world. It’s how the world perceives you emotionally. How do people think of you when they see you? When they hear your name? What emotions are you igniting in them when they hear your name or your brand name. Personal style on the other hand is the way you present yourself to the world — externally. It’s an extension of your personal brand. It’s the accessory that defines and refines your personal brand.
I want to emphasize that personal branding is not about pretending to be someone you are not. Personal branding is about being your authentic self; showing the world who you are and making the world embrace your talent, your potential and your entire being. Fashion, or should I say your appearance is simply here to amplify your personal brand. People sometimes argue that fashion/appearance is overrated and should not affect how people view oneself; but unfortunately personal style is a big part of how society works -- The first impression always counts. I am not saying that the way you dress makes or defines you as a person but the way you dress is definitely a reflection of your personal brand, meaning the way you want to be seen.
Think about it for a minute; you are at a networking event and you meet a women who claims to be an exceptional hairstylist and fashion guru. When you look at her clothing and hair, the whole package do not speak professionalism neither expertise. The hair is not up to par and her attire is not screaming professionalism. Would you go to her for fashion advice or to get a hair cut?
Now let’s look at the other way around: you are at that same networking event and you meet a young lady who claims to be a bombshell hairstylist and fashion expert. Her clothes and accessories are nicely put together and her hair looks fabulous. Would you be more inclined to ask her for fashion advice and get a hair cut from her?
In a nutshell, whichever industry you are in, own your brand. If you are a hairstylist, make sure that your hair speaks volume about your qualifications. If you are in fashion, own your style with confidence. If you are an artist, then look artsy. Own your style, own your brand.
Defining your personal brand is an extensive creative process, you have to really own yourself and ask yourself the right questions: What qualities do I possess that will help you make your business better? What qualities do I possess that would make people want to be around me? Don’t dismiss anything, just brainstorm and brain dump.
There are way more questions and exercises that go into this process, but let’s start here at least. Let me give you some tips to help you start the process:
Think about 3 adjectives or words that would describe you best:
- What do you want to be known for?
- What kind of emotions do these words ignite in others?
When you answer those questions, then the process really starts.
At this point, I usually ask my clients to create a mood board with these three words in mind. Pick out colors, moods, inspirations, styles that thosewords ignite in you. These three words will affect everything you do, wear, write and say.
To revamp your style:
- Do a style audit: Look at what you already have in your closet and see if what you have matches what you are and what you are putting yourself out to be (think about those three words). if it doesn’t then you might need to start putting together a new wardrobe, make sure that the new revamp emanates the emotions you want to convey about your brand.
- Get inspiration via Pinterest: you can find a myriad of style inspiration via Pinterest; it is a great place to start if you are at a lost of ideas
- Enlist the help of a professional personal stylist if budget allows. They know their job and will be able to direct you and pair what you find out about yourself with your desired future path.
- Play with colors: Too many people are just leaning toward darker colors, neutrals, black etc… try to stray away from those and add a little bit of zest in your wardrobe.
- Play with cool accessories/jewelry. Statement necklaces, rings, shoes or bags could be a great discussion starters at networking events.
- Don’t forget to bring a super positive energy to the table. Energy is very important, it’s basically 75% of the work!
Keep in mind that these three words will become your compass for everything you do right down to your business cards, website, blog, social media design etc... I mean everything. It will provide consistency and help people grasp what you are all about.
Be and stay authentic to yourself. Trying to emulate somebody’s else is not the answer. Sit down and work on yourself and what you think you bring to the table. The right people will be attracted to you and will love you. Last but not least have fun doing it; its the journey that really counts!