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Even Your Stomach Contributes to Your Personal Brand

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The following is the fourth article in the series, "Living Your Personal Brand," in which marketing master Jim Joseph discusses practical ways to build your brand daily and use it to advance your personal and professional lives.

As we continue this series, “Living Your Personal Brand,” I plan to throw a few curveballs at you. Here’s one: Even what you eat and drink says something about your personal brand.

I can see the collective hands go up in the air with a united “c’mon” being shouted across the Internet, but stick with me.

It’s really true, if you think about it, especially in professional situations. The food choices you make say a lot about who you are. When you consistently make the same kind of food choices, people do notice and form an opinion about you. As part of your personal brand, these choices, like anything else, should be purposeful.

Related: What Not to Do When Taking Clients Out to Lunch

While I am not always personally super good with healthy choices, I do try. And I constantly get comments such as “you’re so good” or “you’re so disciplined.” Attributes I like to be part of my brand. Attributes I like my clients to think about when choosing an agency.

When at restaurants, I also occasionally try something outlandish on the menu, just for fun. I’ve noticed that when I do that, I get comments such as “you’re so adventurous” or “you’re so creative.” My branding, once again!

Now it’s not that these food choices alone make up my brand, it’s that they are consistent with other elements and reinforce my branding to those interacting with me.

Same with beverage choices. I know a bit about wines, and it makes the dining experience more enjoyable when I can pair choices. I know a lot of bourbon drinkers and craft beer aficionados as well, and these beverages are a big part of dining with them. For each of those people, their choices reinforce their branding, at least in my mind.

Related: 35 Tips on How Not to Offend Your International Business Partners (Infographic)

What I find most interesting about this whole topic of food and personal branding is that so much professional and personal business takes place over food and beverage. It’s honestly when I do my best work. I find that people are more relaxed and forthcoming when they are sitting across a restaurant table or at a bar with me. I’m more creative and innovative as a result, delivering much more successfully on my personal brand -- even when it’s just over a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

You can imagine in those situations, food and drink choices are critical in forming people’s perceptions of you. If you order vast amounts of food and gobble it all up quickly and sloppily, then those around you are going to form an opinion about you. While this may sound exaggerated, it happens all the time. It can take what might otherwise be a personal brand that is smart, productive and connected and completely turn around the impression.

While you may not have ever thought about it this way before, in social and business situations your food choices really do impact the impression of your personal brand and may be a factor in your success. 

Choose wisely, and use you personal brand as your guide.

Related: The Esquire Guy's Irreverent Rules for the Perfect Business Lunch

Jim Joseph

Written By

Jim Joseph is a commentator on the marketing industry. He is Global President of the marketing communications agency BCW, author of The Experience Effect series and an adjunct instructor at New York University.