• 12 Personal Branding and Image Tips for 2012

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    For many, the start of a New Year means a list of pledges and projects, improvements and new intentions.  I’m sharing this list of 12 Tips for 2012 to help in creating some specific goals for your New Year.  Which tips do you find most useful?

    Twelve Months of Giving  

    Generosity is most visible during the holiday season. As we begin 2012, carry the spirit of giving with you throughout the New Year. Ask not what your network can do for you, but what you can do for those in your network. Most often giving entails time. People value time, and sharing a little of yours will go a long way.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    1. Make an effort to connect people in your network
    2. Share a little of your expertise
    3. Show someone you care through a simple act of kindness.


    Eleven Steps to Build Your Brand*

    1. Be clear on who you are and what you want
    2. Have a vision of where you ultimately want to be
    3. Know how you are perceived                                               
    4. Understand and stay in front of your target audience and key influencers
    5. Determine what makes you different
    6. Stand out and stand for something
    7. Develop a personal media plan
    8. Look your brand
    9. Maintain the surroundings and associations that will strengthen your brand
    10. Communicate your brand in all that you say and do
    11. Leave your mark on everything


    Ten Ways to Communicate

    There are many ways in which we communicate bits and bytes of information about who we are on a daily basis. Become more conscientious of your verbal and non-verbal communication. Without realizing it, others could potentially misinterpret your intentions or something you say or do. This applies to how you present yourself during face to face encounters, messages you leave via text, voice or email and the photos or videos you post on-line.

    Verbally, you communicate through:

    1. Your choice of words
    2. The tone of your voice
    3. The pitch of your voice
    4.  And pace of your speech


    Non-verbally, you communicate through:

    1. Your wardrobe
    2. Your grooming
    3. Your body language
    4. Your gestures
    5. Your actions
    6. Your associations


    Nine Steps to Assess Your On-line Identity*

    Make it a habit of regularly monitoring what others will see when they search for you on the internet.

    1. Google yourself
    2. Determine the volume of your results
    3. Are the entries about you?
    4. Do the entries reflect your area of expertise?
    5. Do the entries express your top brand attributes?
    6. Is your web site or blog featured?
    7. Do the entries communicate a consistent, on-brand image?
    8. Do you have digital dirt?
    9. If you have digital dirt, take steps to either get rid of it or add content to push it down the list.


    Eight Easy Pieces

    Updating your wardrobe can be simple to manage if you create small groupings or clusters. Each cluster can be made up of eight or more pieces. For the foundational eight garments, select fabrics and styling that not only work well together, but communicate a similar message.

    From theses eight pieces you can easily create 24 different looks. Change the jewelry, scarves and shoes, and your options increase. By combining pieces from multiple clusters, your possibilities will be endless.

    Eight Easy Pieces for women

    1. Jacket or blazer
    2. Cardigan
    3. Pant
    4. Skirt
    5. Casual pant (i.e. dressy jeans)
    6. Collared shirt or blouse
    7. Short sleeved crew or v-neck
    8. Multi-colored or solid top



    Eight Easy Pieces for men

    1. Navy blazer                                                            
    2. Light weight pullover sweater
    3. Dark trouser
    4. Tan pant
    5. White shirt
    6. Light blue shirt
    7. Dark polo
    8. Second long or short sleeved shirt


    Seven Sections to Your Personal Media Plan*

    You have a message you want to communicate or an area of expertise you want to be known for. Taking the time to develop your personal media plan will help to increase your visibility and credibility as a professional.

    1. Articles                                                        
    2. Newsletter
    3. Website or Blog
    4. Volunteer Activities
    5. Sponsorships
    6. Video
    7. Speaking


    Six Benefits to Layering Your Clothing

    This time of year, it’s not unusual for a coat to be too heavy or a sweater too light to wear in sunny Southern California. For this reason, layering your clothing is the ideal option. Here are six benefits of layering your clothes.

    1. Layering gives you more options for expressing your personal style
    2. The right layers will increase your visual influence and authority
    3. The lines created through layering can help you create a taller slimmer look
    4. Layering allows you to maintain a level of modesty
    5. Wearing layers allows you to easily regulate your body’s temperature
    6. Varying the layered combinations increases the number of outfits with the fewest number of garments                     (see eight easy pieces)


    Five Universal Effects of Image**

    The way you dress (What you choose to wear) affects:           

    1. The way you think, which affects
    2. The way you feel, which affects
    3. The way speak,
    4. The way you act or behave, which ultimately affects
    5. The way others react and respond to you
    In general, how do others respond to you? Whether it was your family, co-workers, or the customer service clerk handling your transaction, did you receive the response you were hoping for? If not, assess what you wear and consider how others may perceive you.

    Four Steps to a Naturally Made up Face

    Once women enter the world of work, going completely bare faced isn’t a professional option, however a natural look is.

    1. Even out your skin color with a light application of foundation             
    2. Fill in your eyebrows and define your eyes with eyeliner and mascara
    3. Add just enough blush so you don’t look pale
    4. Finish the look with a little lip color or gloss


    Three C’s of Branding*

    You can’t spell Brand without the Letter “C”. Every strong brand can boast these three C’s.                       

    1. Clarity – You need clarity before you can build your brand. It is just as important to know who you are and who you are not as it is to know how others perceive you.
    2. Consistency – Be consistent in communicating who you are. 
    3. Constancy – Be ever present to the people who need to know about you. 

    The Two ‘ilities’ of Personal Branding*

    Visibility is making sure your target audience sees you.

    All strong brands are highly visible. The greater your visibility, the more others become aware of your work which results in an increased number of opportunities. Visibility is important because it helps to create recognition and awareness for your skills, talent and knowledge. Developing and maintaining a media (or visibility) plan will help you in establishing your credibility.

    Credibility is demonstrating your unique promise of value in everything you do.

    Strong brands are reliable, inspire trust and are worthy of another person’s confidence. Credibility expands when both explicit and implicit expectations
    are met. If a third party is called, will he or she vouch for you? Do you operate with integrity? Are you responsive? Do you produce results?


    You Are One Brand
    Personal branding is the process of uncovering, communicating and managing your brand. It is also a vital tool for managing your career and allows you to differentiate yourself from your peers and competitors. The New Year is a good time to assess your brand a.k.a. your reputation. Determine what you want to be known for and note any inconsistencies in what you communicate about yourself that will affect your credibility and how others perceive you.       One Brand, one image.


    * Reach Communications
    ** Conselle Institute of Image Management

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    Diana Jennings
    Diana Jennings is the founder of Brand You Image – a personal branding and image management company based in Southern California. A specialist in non-verbal communication, she brings a sophisticated understanding of people and a passion for growth to those working to reach their personal and professional goals. Typical engagements involve the development of high potential individuals and senior level management in personal brand discovery, image management, social and business behavior, and body language for better communication and interaction with others.

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Comments (2)

Margaret Watkins » 11. Jan, 2012

Hi Diana:

Great information in this article-you covered all the bases. Thank you.

Margaret A. Watkins. M. A.
Pronunciation and Presentation Skills Training

Diana Jennings » 11. Jan, 2012

Hi Margaret, Thank you, and you’re welcome! Diana

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