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THE CLOTHES MAKETH THE BRAND

Alexandria Joy - Saturday, March 01, 2014

A question I get asked a lot when I am speaking at conferences and functions about the power of visual communication is: "do the clothes you wear really matter to your business or personal brand?"

Absolutely – first impressions count! 

In fact the first step to influencing others is to understand how you and your company’s body or physical appearance can shift perceptions. 

Now before you go sending me mail complaining that it shouldn't matter what someone wears if they have the right skills and experience I would agree with you, if this was Mars, but it's not, and here on earth it matters. Humans are very visual beings and first impressions count. Subconsciously we all judge everyone else the moment they step in the room.

If you are aiming to be interviewed in the media, present on stage, get photos taken for your website and social media pages or are pitching to prospective clients and key influencers, what you wear will matter. 

In my soon to be released book “It all Starts with UQ Power: Boost Your Influence, Impact and Income”  I refer to “Mr Fedora” a guy who wears a hat just to stand out in a crowded room. Just like that guy that always wears  bow tie to meetings (you know him, every town has one) or funny coloured glasses (think Seth Godin). When it comes to building your brand, memorability matters.

So what should you wear? Check out this video for tips on how you can dress on-brand:

Tweet This: "High contrast equals high brand power. @UQPower #Startwithu"

Which of the three key colour differentials I discussed suit your brand best?

What's your signature style or accessory that represents your UQ (Uniqueness Quotient)? Do you wear it consistently every time you leave the office? You may get bored of wearing the same look but when it comes to branding it is far better to build consistency and memorability than to satisfy your personal need for keeping up with the latest fashion and trends. 

Now it’s your turn. 

Take a look at your wardrobe and what you wear to key meetings and events. Are your clothes or costume achieving the objectives you desire? I invite you to share your thoughts or ask questions in the comments section below.

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Comments

Sue Painter commented on 03-Mar-2014 11:01 PM
This is so interesting. I've heard about the colors themselves but not about the high, medium, and low contrast. Thanks, Heidi, for sharing this.
SUSAN HART commented on 04-Mar-2014 08:57 AM
Interesting that today I am looking for a black dress for Uniting Bookkeepers photo shoot with Melissa tommorow - nothing like last minute preparation. I really enjoyed your video packed with great advise - thanks
Claire Dening commented on 04-Mar-2014 10:12 AM
Fantastic advice Heidi. I loved watching the video and got so much out of it. Claire.
Anonymous commented on 04-Mar-2014 12:49 PM
Really valuable information it explains why I've struggled to sell an idea to a crowd - I needed to be powerful but instead I was wearing a low contrast outfit and just blended into the decor - how boring! Thanks Heidi :-)
Anonymous commented on 04-Mar-2014 04:39 PM
Thanks Heidi, this is always something I struggle with - and I change my colours with the different roles I play. Does this then affect my brand, or would it be recognised that I have multiple roles?
Anonymous commented on 05-Mar-2014 04:32 PM
Glad you found the information to be of use Susan and could put it to use for a photoshoot straight away! Make sure you wear something contrasting with your black dress.
Anonymous commented on 05-Mar-2014 04:34 PM
Glad you received value from watching the video Claire!
Anonymous commented on 05-Mar-2014 04:38 PM
Hi Dani thanks for your feedback - so often we wonder why we are just missing the mark and sadly we usually go back to editing and reworking the words we are saying. The words we say are only a small part of the message - our body language and presentation have a huge impact on how our messages are received. If you've struggled in the past to sell an idea to a crowd then dress with more high contrast brand power, practice some power posing before you start and blend in no more!
Anonymous commented on 05-Mar-2014 04:43 PM
Hey Tamara it is certainly something many people struggle with you're not alone. And for most of us getting dressed each day is an unconscious act, sure we might check a shirt and iron it or change if something has a stain but we don't usually consider the colours we are wearing.
You can certainly change the colours you wear and their combination for different purposes, for example when I am presenting about my business I will usually wear bright orange, red or black and white, however I may also facilitate a public forum and wear a softer blue shirt with a navy suit to be authoritative and yet approachable. Play around and experiment and see the responses you get. Your brand may be the way you wear it, the accessories you choose or just your personal style. I have a colleague who always wears a dash of red lippie wherever she goes - that's her brand mark.
Mary Ellen Miller commented on 06-Mar-2014 01:53 PM
Heidi you have teamed several of my passions together- fashion and personal branding! I agree with your commentary on a high contrast color. It's why I chose "power pink" to wear in my new head shots this year. Thanks Heidi. Great tips!
Trudy Scott commented on 07-Mar-2014 06:09 AM
Oh yes, I'm on board with this! I worked with an image consult and had my colors done a few years ago and am so glad I did! I do a lot of speaking and the clothes do maketh the brand!
Anonymous commented on 08-Mar-2014 02:05 PM
Sounds like I am preaching to the converted and informed Trudy and Mary Ellen - I look forward to seeing those corporate shots Mary Ellen.
Jessica commented on 09-Mar-2014 03:57 AM
with 3 brands, I have a very BIG closet! Sometimes I have to look "red carpet ready" and other times I have to look approachable. Clothes and accessories have been a huge part of my branding.
Tiffany deSilva commented on 10-Mar-2014 03:00 AM
Very interesting information on the importance of contrast, Heidi. I'll keep this in mind as I'm selecting my wardrobe from now on.
Mitch Tublin commented on 10-Mar-2014 11:36 AM
Agree with you 1000%
And it is not something you have to do with
artists, graphic designers and throw money at.
Even someone just starting out on their business
may just know they love the color purple and they look good in purple. Well they need to have purple items in their wardrobe, on their marketing materials, etc.
Lisa Manyon commented on 10-Mar-2014 12:40 PM
Heidi,
FUN and informative segment of UQ TV. Yes, image is everything. I touch on this in regards to marketing material in my brand training and agree that wardrobe is crucial. Now I can point people to your video as an additional resource.
Write on!~
Lisa
Mira commented on 11-Mar-2014 04:00 AM
This is so interesting. While I don't have a "branded" look (aside from my What Would Mira Eat t-shirt but I don't wear that to business meetings) I do think about colors a lot. In my new headshot (coming soon) I chose a strong blue shirt because of the following which I researched:

"Blue is considered beneficial to the mind and body. It slows human metabolism and produces a calming effect. Blue is strongly associated with tranquility and calmness. In heraldry, blue is used to symbolize sincerity.

You can use blue to promote products and services related to cleanliness [I promote clean eating]. Blue is linked to consciousness and intellect."

Now I don't feel so silly about thinking about that sort of thing thanks to this post.
Dina Eisenberg commented on 11-Mar-2014 05:12 AM
Great advice on a subtle way to build trust and connection through your brand, Heidi. I chose a vibrant blue as my branding color because it: a) makes me feel good b) looks great on me and c) is high energy like my company. The blue is also approachable yet authoritative, nice for a consulting practice. Trust is a series of decisions and choosing branding that helps your prospective client connect and trust you is so important.
Anonymous commented on 11-Mar-2014 03:08 PM
Wow Jessica you must have to have a big wardrobe indeed. Do you also have 3 websites, 3 business cards etc? That's a big brand portfolio to carry!
Anonymous commented on 11-Mar-2014 03:10 PM
Glad to hear you also teach these principles Lisa as we are all such visual beings. Thanks for sharing our video as a resource for your clients and colleagues too!
CEO Heidi Alexandra commented on 11-Mar-2014 03:11 PM
Great to read how much effort you have put into the selection of your brand colour Mira - sounds like it is spot on!
CEO Heidi Alexandra commented on 11-Mar-2014 03:14 PM
Thanks for stopping by Dina - so pleased that my advice on a subtle way to build trust and connection through your brand resonated with you.
Love your reasons for choosing blue - I hope it brings you great loyal clients.

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