Jacky Leonard's blog

Archive entries for: Jan-2012

New Year...Brand (new) You?

Categories:  Effective Communication

Everything you say or do, the WAY in which you do or say it and whoever and whatever you’re connected with, projects something about YOU…and will make an impression.  Whether you like it or not, everyday you are being judged personally and professionally.  I apologise if this makes you feel a little uneasy...however, you really are what people are buying into.  In fact, your product or service is of little consequence if you get that initial interface wrong.

A couple of years ago I met image consultant, Sue Pattinson (www.suepattinson.com) and was invited to attend a group image day which she facilitated.  I found the experience fascinating.  I'd had my colours and styling done some years earlier, but found Sue's approach refreshingly genuine, interesting and pragmatic.  I knew there was potential for a colloboration and a seed was planted that has now grown into the Brand You! programme.

Having struggled for years to create my own 'personal brand'...I eventually discovered all the ingredients were already there...I just hadn't realised it.  Aligning my external 'image' with my personal 'brand values' has been a fascinating journey and I feel much more at ease and confident with who I am, what I want and how to project this authentically.  I only wish I'd found the support to take this trip earlier.   

So, if having a 'personal brand' is no longer an option...what message are you intentionally or inadvertently transmitting to the people you meet? 

Perhaps you haven’t given the topic much thought until now…it really is worth the effort.  For a start, it’s difficult to set yourself or your business any meaningful goals unless you first clearly define your internal brand i.e. what you stand for…and what you won’t.    To paraphrase a line from one of The Who’s songs, “who are you?”  What is your personal brand and is it working for you?  How do people describe you and is this congruent with who you think you are?  If you are in a profession where you directly interface with your cusstomer e.g. trainer, coach, therapist or sales person you are often the ‘shop window’ for your business and really need to walk your talk.

Once you’ve established your beliefs, values and goals, you can concentrate on refining your external brand to ensure it is aligned with who you are and what’s important to you.  An understanding of the psychology of business dress will get you off to a good start in gaining the trust of people you meet face to face.   Your efforts to present yourself appropriately (or not) will be noted instantly and can have a dramatic impact on your ability to influence your prospective clients.

In our modern, technological, fast paced society where information can be accessed at the press of a button – it’s all out there for your customers to view, there’s no hiding.  Opinions are being formed the instant a customer comes into contact with any aspect of your service.  Do your promotional materials, website, premises etc. present the appropriate image i.e. one that is aligned with who you are and what you stand for; or are you falling short of the mark?   To be credible, everything connected to you and your business must be transparent and consistent and continue to reflect your brand values.

So, how would your customers, suppliers and competition describe you and your company? How do your marketing materials distinguish you from your competitors? What are your key messages?  Do people instantly get what you are about?  

Being an expert in your field is not enough.  You also have to look the part, be authentic in your approach and committed to continual improvement.  So how are you doing in the personal branding stakes? 

Getting it right can have significant impact on your ability to influence others and increase your business potential.  Get in touch to discuss how Sue and I can help you develop your yoUSP!