A highlight for me this week was speaking at a leading Brisbane law firm on creating a personal and professional brand. The firm in engaging me to present to their 180 team members realise the importance of everyone reflecting the firm’s values and brand through appearance and presence. I shared with the team – and here in this blog – the importance of looking like a leader.
How do you appear through your dress and style? Are you putting consistent intention into your image and visual signature?
It’s not just your business logo that needs to look good...it’s the people in an organisation that represent the company brand and that person is you. No matter what your role in the organisation is – whether small business entrepreneur, CEO or mail room manager, you are representing the brand.
Think about what that is. Professional, taking pride, success, leading edge? You know your values, culture and brand so how would you represent that?
Let’s look at a couple of well-known Australian airline brands and the “look” they project through their people. Virgin Australia as an example, has a strong corporate image of being friendly, fresh, passionate and leading the way.
Qantas on the other hand has an image that is more conservative, more corporate, reflecting professionalism and reliability. Both companies spend millions on getting their look right. Not just the external branding of logos, signage, and communication collateral but the uniforms and image of the people within those organisations.
Not all organisations have a uniform – but there is definitely an underlying code of dressing particularly in the corporate environment which is smart, polished and professional.
Now having said that it doesn’t mean we all need to look and dress the same. By understanding the brand qualities you want to project with the work you do and the customer or client you want to attract you can create a look that is suitable, creative and smart to help you stand out.
Leadership style also needs to be congruent with the work you do. If you are a leader in a non-profit sector, dealing with many volunteers, a corporate, formal suit might be too overpowering. Wear simple, smart and well-tailored clothing rather than very casual or you may look like the volunteer rather than the leader. Likewise if you are dealing with high paying clients in a professional environment, your look needs to say credible, polished and looking like an expert.
Combine what is appropriate for your environment with awareness of your audience to create a convincing and compelling look.
In any role if you want to be seen as a leader you need to act like one, and also look like one. Your clothes and presentation really are the external image of your brand. What brand image are you projecting?
Learn more about executive image consulting here.
Read last week’s blog Power Up Your Leadership Presence