Will Heads Turn Toward You for the Wrong Reason?

Personal Branding on Red Puzzle on White Background.You must have experienced this. You’re walking down the aisle of a department store and someone passes you going in the opposite direction. She seems vaguely familiar.

Then it hits you. That was your client but you hardly recognized her without makeup and in ratty old jeans. She made the classic mistake of thinking it’s OK to disregard her personal brand while she’s not on official duty.

The Brand Called You

Just because it’s a Saturday, it isn’t a good idea to dilute your personal brand by stepping out of character. Your client was lucky – it could have been the CEO of her company who stopped her to say hello.

Aren’t you glad that it wasn’t you without makeup and in torn jeans encountering your client?

Your appearance is what forms first impressions. Grammy-award winning singer Brandy, who was starring as Roxy in “Chicago” on Broadway, wanted to see if anyone would recognize her singing in a New York City subway. No one did.

This video went viral and once again proves the point that you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

As Time magazine reported, “…in the video, she jokes with a middle-aged man on the subway — her ‘one fan’ she says — who advises her to ‘go out there and engage with the people’ if she wants to make it big.”

The New York Post quoted Brandy as saying, “The guy that did respond said, ‘We’ve seen this before. This is New York. You have to do something different!’ And I said, ‘Sir, I’m giving it my all,’ and he said, ‘No, you have to be more over-the-top’.”

Here is the Brandy that her fans will recognize as she belts out a song from her appearance in “Chicago.”

Her hair is professionally styled, she’s wearing makeup and a seductive black dress. This is the “hot” Roxy that is drawing in customers. This is her “brand” while she’s starring in the show.

Look in the Mirror

Your personal brand represents the essential you 24/7. You never know whom you’re going to meet during working hours or shopping on your time off. It’s tempting to throw on some old jeans or don’t bother shaving if you’re only zipping around doing errands.

But “casual” isn’t synonymous with “sloppy.” Before leaving home, look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Would I be comfortable meeting my boss or a client the way I’m dressed?” Change into more appropriate attire if the answer is “no.”

You know what you need to do to maintain your brand. Listen to that little voice in your head that tells you, “What are you thinking? Going out like that is not good for your image.”

You want heads to turn toward you because people see someone they recognize who’s dressed appropriately and projecting the image of a professional.

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The Newman Group is a recognized leader in guiding business professionals, celebrities and authors to improve their communications skills in presentations and media interviews.

Our highly skilled and experienced professionals have the expertise in media and presentation training to meet any business situation — from helping an executive to prepare for the challenge of talking to a reporter during a business crisis to presenting a group of investors during an IPO or keeping a celebrity spokesperson on point.