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Strengthen your personal brand to boost your results

Views 1 Views    Comments 0 Comments    Share Share    Posted 27-01-2009  
Improving your personal brand and appearance won`t make the slowdown go away, but it will increase your chances of success this year, says style consultant Elena Reed.

"While the way you look is not a substitute for the knowledge and discipline you need to perform in your role, knowing you are `branded` for success will give you the confidence to pursue more opportunities," Reed says.

Just as becoming a big biller requires effort and time, "looking professional does not happen by itself. You need to plan for it, you need to budget for it and you need to take some action".

There are things you can do immediately to capitalise on your personal brand, she says.

Dress for now
There`s no point waiting until you`ve lost weight, or have more time or money, to make changes, Reed says.

"Waiting for the perfect circumstances is the highway to failure. Dress the body you have now and you`ll instantly feel stronger. Sort out your wardrobe today and you`ll stop wasting time on `nothing to wear` days. Tweak the clothes you own and you won`t spend big buying new outfits."

Take action: "What is holding you back from creating a winning personal brand? Commit to make a move in the next seven days and follow it through."

Take the lead
"When the majority wears black, standards are questioned and grooming is relaxed, being known for immaculate presentation is a smart business move," Reed says.

"Dress a cut sharper and you`ll be seen as `promotable` when opportunity knocks. Look a bit edgier and you`ll be thought of when what you offer is needed."

Take action: "How can you take your personal brand up a notch? Choose one thing at a time, like adding colour or accessorising better, and stick with it for a month to make it a habit."

Keep context in mind
Just as you might not be considered trustworthy if you appear under-dressed or sloppy in comparison to a prospective client, being over-dressed can also be alienating.

"As shallow as it seems, most people jump to conclusions based on what they see and the messages they interpret," Reed says.

"Your appearance is a source of non-stop visual information. To connect with clients better try to match your clothes to their expectations."

Take action: "Check your diary commitments and ask yourself: `What will people think of me when I walk into that room?` Plan your outfit according to your desired branding."

Count your CPWs
For every recruiter who has ever bought items of clothing they wish they hadn`t, Reed says there is a "magical formula" to avoid making the same mistake again.

"It`s simple, makes sense and the best part is you may never feel guilty again about purchasing that item you bought on a whim if you know you`ll wear it a lot," she says.

"`Cost Per Wear` is a time-tested strategy of building a wardrobe cost-effectively. By taking the cost of an item and dividing it by how many times you expect to wear or have worn it, you get a better idea of its real value. Basically, the more you wear it, the more it`s worth its price. "As an example, let`s say you`re in love with a stunning jacket that costs $750. If you know you`ll be wearing it at least twice a week for the next five years, it really only costs you $1.44 each time you wear it."
"Cost Per Wow" is similar but takes into account that what costs more should give you more value, Reed says.

"If you have two different shirts, one worth $20 and one worth $200, then technically you should get 10 times more wear and pleasure out of the $200 shirt.

"In a nutshell, it`s quality that counts, not quantity. It`s always better to invest in a classic piece than several inexpensive outfits. When you wear quality clothes you feel better, and when you feel better you project confidence. And confidence is the key to unlocking opportunities."

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