As I mentioned last week, your brand is everything! It communicates that critical first impression when people are first introduced to your business and helps build a relationship with people based on confidence and trust. In today’s world, our brand is communicated through our website presence, our social media presence, our presentation materials, our advertising and marketing, our interactions with clients and our personal image. Your brand is your calling card that is left with each and every individual you touch throughout your day, both directly through face to face interactions and indirectly through website visits, advertisements, etc.
This week, I’d like to talk more on image and how that impacts your brand. How you dress, present yourself and communicate all ties into the image you are creating for your business – your brand. We so often focus on branding in the sense advertising or written communications but the image you personally convey is probably just as important if not more important. Face to face interactions have a lasting impression so you need to make sure everything you say and do aligns with your brand. For example, if you are promoting yourself as a “Green Designer”, you better make sure your living a lifestyle that supports that. People are very quick to pick up on things don’t align and the net result is you’ve compromised your brand as well as your credibility. Think of the Michael Phelps scandal or the more recent scandal with Tiger Woods – their actions were that much more impactful because of whom they were and the brand and image they represented. You couldn’t help but felt let down in some way because their inappropriate behavior now blemished that relationship of credibility and trust they had gained in our minds and once that is compromised, it is difficult to regain that same level of confidence again.
Keep in mind that you are always building relationships. Everyone you interact with on a daily basis is one more link in the chain that builds a stronger relationship with that person. That is why is it so critical to make sure you are always walking your talk when it comes to your brand. Evaluate how you dress, where you shop, where you eat, the activities you’re involved in, the people you interact with and make sure they are all in alignment with the brand you are building. For example, if you saw your fitness trainer in McDonalds on a routine basis you’d start to question their commitment to your goals and their credibility would be compromised in your mind.
Remember, image is everything when it comes to your brand. Make sure your conveying an image that both verbally and nonverbally supports and aligns with your brand. When you start living your brand, you’ll notice that you’ll be interacting with and attracting your target clients. They will be drawn in because you represent what they want. And that is exactly what you want your brand to do!
Look through your closet, your home, and your office – do they represent your brand? Are the clothes you’re wearing outdated or looking a little worn and tired? Is it time to go get that haircut or color? Are you practicing self-care with proper exercise, diet and skin regimen? If you’re compromising in any of these areas you are compromising your brand. Once you make the investment in yourself, it gives permission for others to make the investment in you. Make the commitment to yourself right now to change what needs to be changed. Seek the help of a trusted friend or family member to call you out on where you many not be living your brand. Instinctively you already know but if having that additional validation will help you to take action, then do it. Sometimes we just need to hear someone tell us what we already know is true. The bottom line is that you must develop an awareness and appreciation for the image you are conveying on a day to day basis and check in routinely to make sure that image is supporting your brand. The results will speak for themselves!
Karen Dunlap is an interior designer, business owner and creator of the Design For Your Success NOW System, a unique training and coaching program specifically created for design professionals. Using specific strategies and systems, Karen coaches design professionals on how to simplify their business, attract ideal clients and get back to their original passion, designing and decorating.