"Your image is everything!" I have heard some of every type of person in some of every type of lifestyle say that same thing. But what does it really mean and is image really everything?
"On any given day a consumer is repeatedly exposed to brands that are paired with various images in one form or another -- from logos on the sides of buildings to television commercials," writes Melanie Dempsey of Ryerson University and Andrew A. Mitchel of the University of Toronto. Based on the IMAGES we see we are more inclined to buy, use, request, or behave a certain good, service, product, or way.
We have to remember that each one of us is a brand. A personal brand is simply what others think of you when they see an image of you. There that word IMAGE appears again. I don't think the vast majority of us want to be thought of negatively when we are seen so we have to do all we can to make our personal brands positive.
I know what you're thinking..."I shouldn't have to change who I am in order to be viewed positively!" Unfortunately, that is just our idealistic thought of how things should be, but the reality of what they are is far different. Every society has its "norms" basically what it deems as acceptable and as time goes by those "norms" tend to change some, but not nearly as drastically as one would hope.
As you craft your personal brand, aka your image, think of what is comfortable and acceptable to the vast majority. Your personal brand can have some small unique features that set it apart from every other brand because really that's the other part of a brands job. But you can't be so unique that you become more off putting than enticing.
Remember that how you present yourself has a large impact on your life. Your image doesn't just include your physical body features, but it also includes your hygiene, your body language, your dress, and how you communicate. Studies show that it takes less than a second to form an impression and prolonged exposure doesn't do a lot to change ones initial impression.
So your image, aka your personal brand, can do everything from create more business success, get you hired, increase your networking circle, get you suspended, get you fired, or worst of all...get you killed!