Take a look at these photos. If you live in the UK, you’ll probably know who these ties belong to and might even be able to guess the owner from just looking at his socks.
It is, of course, journalist and Channel 4 newsreader Jon Snow, whose personal branding is second to none.
It’s often thought thought personal branding doesn’t really matter, and it is just vanity, but I’d disagree. Can you identify these people by their personal branding? (Answers at the bottom of this post).
1 Singer known for her beehive hair and exaggerated eyeliner.
2 Fashion designer with vibrant clothes and pink hair.
3 Detective with a cigarette/cigar and shabby raincoat.
4 UK politician renowned for wearing leopard print kitten heels and other notable footwear.
Some people have an inherent understanding of this; author and coach Deborah Henry-Pollard is one of those. I know Deborah loves orange, and it is one of the colours used on her website. I’m a graphic designer, and took this on board when I designed the cover of her book What’s Your Excuse for not Succeeding as an Artist? . One of the first things she said when she saw the design was ‘I’ve got an orange jacket in exactly the same shade – now I know what I’m going to wear for my book launch’.
Deborah elaborates: ‘Personal branding is not necessarily style, although that can be part of it; for example, with me it’s not just the jacket – it’s about being drawn to orange and gold as colours. I use the colours a lot in clothes, notebook covers, designs, etc, because I like them and now others associate the colours with me. With artists, I know one who wears a signature ‘lucky’ necklace when she is at art fairs; another who always does a particular red lipstick; and a chap who does bow ties. More famously, Dali’s moustache, Hockney’s glasses, Kahlo’s headdresses… I would say it is more ‘that thing’ which can be identified specifically to you.’
How can personal branding help project managers and professionals within an organisation, not just celebrities and the self-employed? It is a way of marketing yourself which will make you stand out from your colleagues, consequently be more memorable and ultimately rising within the ranks. It might show people your potential too. However, it must be backed up by your ethos and actions.
If you want to develop your personal brand, identify what it is about yourself that defines you (it could be your look, your profession, your values, your interests, your passions) and build on that. Your friends, family and colleagues will be able to help you if you are not sure. Once you choose what it is that is going to define you, stick with it; consistency is the key.
You might want to look at your online presence and make sure it tallies with how you’ve defined yourself. You may decide to delete posts or comments that don’t fit well with how you want to be perceived.
Finally, did you identify the people mentioned earlier in this article? They were:
1 Amy Winehouse.
2 Zandra Rhodes.
4 Theresa May.
About the author
Annette Peppis leads the team at Peppis Designworks, a creative hub of established publishing industry experts who create books, branding, marketing material and design templates for leading publishers and businesses. Keep in touch by subscribing to her bi-monthly emails.