“You never get a second chance to make a first impression” ~Harlan Hogan
As an image consultant I often work with clients who want to update or re-define their look because they’re launching a new business or received a promotion to an executive level position. They understand how you visually represent yourself is as important as how you do business. However, new business owners in particular, will focus their time, effort, and attention on creating and defining their brand (the thing that distinguishes you from all the other businesses out there), which is admittedly a necessary step in building a successful business. Since the focus is primarily on business plans, finances, marketing materials, logos, and social media, what often gets lost is one’s personal style and image.
Impression management, a term coined in 1959 by Erving Goffman, is the strategic process of presenting oneself in a way that will positively influence and enhance one’s image or perception in the eyes of others. If done well, this aspect of branding will reinforce your marketed brand and gain the trust and reassurance of those with whom you do business. This is reflected in Coco Chanel’s famous quote, “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.” When your dress and behavior differs from your purported brand, the disconnect and inconsistency is remembered much like dressing shabbily. Substantial research has affirmed the saying, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression,” and first impressions can fortunately or unfortunately last forever. So, it’s important to not only make a good first impression, but to continually make favorable, positive lasting impressions.
Here are 5 strategies to help you improve upon your visual brand:
- Determine the appropriate style of dress for your industry;
- Figure out your own style personality and how to make it work for you in your industry;
- Update your look (this can range from your hair and make-up to a shopping session);
- Align your personal brand with your business brand;
- Seek professional help from a certified image consultant.
When you effectively engage in image management and develop your visual brand, you will:
- Increase your credibility as an expert in your field;
- Build a positive and favorable reputation;
- Improve upon the perceived value of your product and/or services.
Remember, while formulating your brand promise keep in mind there is a relationship between your personal style and image and the success of your business. Be the best possible visual ambassador for your business. Invest some time and effort in visually branding YOU!