Make Your Voice and Look an Active Part of Your Brand How you sound and dress influence how people perceive you, so be thoughtful and consistent.
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The following is the 11th in the series "Personal Branding For A Better Life," in which marketing expert Jim Joseph applies big brand marketing lessons to help you build a successful personal brand.
In this series, we've been taking a look at how to build a personal brand, starting with how to position yourself to eventually managing your online reputation. Just like with any big brand, we're now going to explore how your brand should look and sound.
A fundamental part of building your personal brand is to find your voice. Your overall tonality -- how you say and do things and even how you look -- are all a reflection of your brand. You may not have ever thought about it this way, but it's true of all brands big, small and personal.
The language you use and your tone of voice is very influential in how people perceive you, and therefore how they formulate opinions about you and what you can offer.
This is particularly true on social media, because our voice is all we have on these channels. There are no hand gestures or facial expressions to supplement our language and how we talk, so we have to be very careful and deliberate.
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What we post becomes who we are, so proceed with caution.
You have to consciously choose your voice because in many ways it becomes who you are to others. Make sure that your voice is true to how you've positioned your personal brand and how you want others to perceive you.
Make your voice an active part of your brand, knowing that people are evaluating it with every interaction.
For me, I make a conscious decision to always be positive. Negativity, snark and cutting humor are not my style. So every time I post or reply, I literally stop and think about what I am typing. I stop and ask myself if I am being consistent to my brand.
There's nothing more confusing than people who bounce all over the place in tonality and how they conduct themselves. For example, at one moment being very complimentary and in the next using curse words in anger. It's too confusing to figure out who they really are and if they are authentic.
Something that goes hand in hand with your voice is how you look. Personal grooming, clothing, accessories and even your home are all a reflection of your brand.
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It's important to consciously think about how your look is perceived and how it adds or detracts from your brand.
I have my own look with colorful shirts and accessories such as scarves, hats and cufflinks. People expect me to be wearing them every day, and have associated this look with me. I constantly get comments from people on how they were shopping and saw a "Jim shirt." My shirts have become a big part of my personal brand, and they impact how people interact with me.
I'm not suggesting that you suddenly turn into a fashion plate, unless that's your brand. I am suggesting that you be purposeful about how you look. Wearing worn jeans and T-shirts every day is fine if it fits your lifestyle and brand and reflects your personal goals -- just put some thought into it.
Remember that there's no one more successful looking than someone who puts care into how they look, regardless of how they look. Own it.
When your brand looks and sounds successful, then chances are it will be. Managing your voice and your look is an integral part of managing your personal brand, so do it consciously, purposefully and consistently.