Archive for ‘Body language’

05/04/2011

“And What Do You Do?” The Answer: Pt 2

Personal branding reputation management marketing yourself business introductions So you’ve read my introduction to the dreaded question, And what do you do?” and you’ve read how you could answer the question if you’re just starting out in personal branding.  But if you’re someone who really wants to tap into the power of your personal brand, perhaps you’re ready to be a bit more radical, to deliver a reply that really gets people thinking – then this blog is for you!

As anyone who’s read the excellent book The Jelly Effect will know, to be really effective at selling yourself, your communication need to focus on the benefits you deliver – the after-effect you will leave people with when they work with you.  There’s a whole process the book takes you through to determine what those benefits are, but for those with less time to spare, here’s my take on Andy Bounds‘ words of wisdom.

Get yourself a pen and paper and write down the answers to these questions:

Q1. Who do you help?
Q2. What do you help them do? (think hard not about the specifics of what you do, but the benefits that brings to your clients)
Q3. Why is that important in today’s world of business?
Q4. How do you deliver those benefits? (now you can put a few specifics about what you do)
Q5. What are some great examples of when you’ve done that?

And here’s how those answers fit together to form your reply to the question, “And what do you do”:

“I help

to
.”
  Using me as an example, I might say, “I help business leaders to get the right people saying the right things about them.”

Then stop…say no more…not a word….and wait for them to ask you more.

“So what is it you do?”  Now you reply with your answer to Q3.  This is about adding a bit of context to make the listener understand it’s relevant to them, so in my case it might be: “Well, you know how ‘people buy people’ and they can only do that if they know what they’re buying into? I teach people how to define and promote what I call their ‘personal brand’.”

If they’re like most people, the listener will then ask, “How do you do that?” which is when you go into a bit more detail with your answers to Q4 and Q5.  A good way to lead into that is to ask the person about their experiences in the area you work in. So I might say, “In essence your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room…so what do you think they say about you?”

When they answer I use that as the basis of talking about how I can help them find out specifically what’s being said (I offer a personal brand 360), define what it is they want people saying (another service) and teach them how to promote that (another service) all the while giving examples of how I’ve done that with clients.

This is very different from how we’ve been taught to give our answer ie state your job title and the company you work for, so it may feel a little odd at first replying in this manner.  But keep trying it out, adapting what you say based on what gets a good (or not so good) reaction.  I promise you’ll be more memorable than the other people your listener meets that day!

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If you’ve enjoyed these musings, or have followed this advice and want to share how you got on, don’t be shy…leave a comment!  And please help me to spread the word using the buttons below.  Or if you’d like to learn more, check out my other blogs and follow me on Twitter.  Or drop me an email at jennifer.holloway@sparkexec.co.uk.  Thank you! 

 
Spark specialises in branding, but not for companies – for PEOPLE, helping clients to market themselves so they stand out from the crowd, building a reputation that enables them to be even more successful just by being themselves.   Spark delivers personal branding to executives and senior managers in Leeds, Harrogate, Skipton, York, Bradford, Wakefield and the Yorkshire area, as well as in London and other UK cities. The company was founded by Jennifer Holloway and her 15 years’ experience in PR coupled with several years as an executive coach means she delivers a personal brand service unlike any other. 
06/03/2011

‘Go Large’ – Presentations & Your Personal Brand

Personal brand business presenting reputation managementAfter a week doing seminars and presentations in both Yorkshire and London (no, that’s not me in the picture!) I’ve seen first hand how important it is to deliver a large dollop of your personal brand along with your subject matter. Doing so gives your audience the knowledge they need to decide whether they’re buying into you as a speaker – and the sooner they do, the better vibe you’ll create.  That vibe will be felt by both you and them and like a ball of energy gathering momentum, your presentation will go from strength to strength and the audience’s enjoyment will go with it.

But promoting your personal brand to a large number of people at once, compared to a few individuals at a time, requires a bit of extra work – so here’s five tips and techniques to show you how:

1. Your Image
Both my last blog and the guest posting from image consultant Natalia Colman looked at the way you can use your image to give your audience clues to your personal brand.  When you’re presenting, you need to be sure those clues are coming across loud and clear and can be picked up quickly from the minute you take centre stage.  So whatever your image, go for a stronger version of it – wear your sharpest suit, your brightest tie, your boldest jewellery, your highest heels and a little bit more make up. (Not all at once of course!)

2. Your Sound
When you present don’t think of it as anything less than you’re putting on a performance and just as actors use their vocal range to convey not just what’s being said but the message behind it, so must you.  This is all about over-dramatising what you’re saying – longer pauses, wider tonal range, greater variance between loud and soft.  It may sound OTT but let me assure you, by the time your voice hits your audience’s ears, it will have diminished to just the right level and represent your brand as it would be if you were speaking to each person one-to-one.

3. Your Body Language
Now you’ve increased your vocal range you need to make sure your body language matches, so don’t forget to increase the drama in your gestures.  One example is to act like the fisherman describing the one that got away: if you’re opening your arms to illustrate something you’re talking about, open them twice as wide a you would normally.  The distance between you and your audience will temper the gesture back to its normal level. (I once worked with the MD of a company who didn’t believe this until he saw a video of himself on stage at the company conference.  He’d resisted the big gestures because he thought he’d look like an eejit, but told me he wished he’d done them because he’d ended up looking bland instead of getting across the bold persona he has.)

And don’t forget to connect with your audience through eye contact – looking directly at someone will strengthen the trust they have in your personal brand.  Add a beaming smile to go with it to show you’re genuinely enjoying your audience’s company and you’re onto a winner.

 4. Spoken Language
I’ve written before about using positive language to communicate a positive personal brand and it’s just as imperative when you’re presenting. But in addition to that, don’t forget to pepper your presentation with some of the key words from your personal brand – hints as to your values, beliefs, reputation, etc. These are the thing that make you you, so make sure people know that.

5. Offering a Connection
Just because your presentation is about what you do, that doesn’t mean you can’t tell your audience a little bit about who you are.  Stories and metaphors are a great way to bring a presentation to life so why not make them anecdotes about you? Use that funny story about the time you locked yourself out of the hotel room on your honeymoon in just your underpants to illustrate risk management (whilst also letting them know your marital status plus somewhere you’ve been on holiday).  Or relate the story of how you trained to run a marathon to illustrate long-term goals (and the fact you’re a keen runner).  I guarantee it will be these things that people come up and talk to you about at the end, because you’ve offered them a personal connection to your brand, rather than just a business one. 

So it boils down to this: when you’re promoting your personal brand messages to a large audience, do all the things you’d normally do…just do them bigger, stronger and louder!

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If you’ve got your own suggestions for promoting your personal brand in presentations, or just want to tell me what you think, don’t be shyleave a comment!  And please help me to spread the word using the buttons below.  Or if you’d like to learn more, check out my other blogs and follow me on Twitter.  Or drop me an email at jennifer.holloway@sparkexec.co.uk.  Thank you! 

Spark specialises in branding, but not for companies – for PEOPLE, helping clients to market themselves so they stand out from the crowd, building a reputation that enables them to be even more successful just by being themselves.   Spark delivers personal branding to executives and senior managers in Leeds, Harrogate, Skipton, York, Bradford, Wakefield and the Yorkshire area, as well as in London and other UK cities. The company was founded by Jennifer Holloway and her 15 years’ experience in PR coupled with several years as an executive coach means she delivers a personal brand service unlike any other. 

23/02/2011

What To Wear For Your Personal Brand

Natalia Colman Image Consultant Style SpecialistsGood things come to those who wait – and I’m pleased to announce that following my blog about addressing your dressing today’s offering is the delayed guest posting from style consultant and all-round fabulous woman Natalia Colman of Style Specialists

When Natalia recently found herself ‘sans model’ on a project she was doing with celebrity photographer Cat Hepple I was happy to step-in (well, who’d pass up an opportunity to be made to look glamorous and with Photoshop on hand to help out, I was onto a winner!)  So here’s her take on how image plays such an important part in your personal brand.  Over to Natalia…

“As an Image Consultant it’s my job (and my passion) to help people convey their skills, qualities and talents through the way they dress. 

“Whenever I work with any of my clients the first thing I assure them is I want them to be themselves and that getting dressed every day should be about getting across to people who they genuinely are on the inside.  Your clothes and accessories should be the icing on the cake and give people an instant impression of who you are and what you’re about.  Jennifer is a real expert at taking you through this process of internal self-discovery.  And when it comes to the external self-discovery of buying clothes and putting outfits together for different occasions, that’s when you can really have fun – dressing to represent your personal brand and doing it authentically.

“Jennifer and I have worked together creating outfits from her wardrobe for a variety of different events and occasions she needs to dress for. It’s always a great idea to spend some time in your own wardrobe doing some trying on and planning, writing up different combinations.  That way you avoid a clothes mountain and panic attack the next time you have to go to do some public speaking, go to a meeting, have  lunch with an important business contact or go along to a networking event.  When getting dressed for each occasion, you need to think about two things:

1. What you want people to notice about you  
2. What people expect from you

…then dress accordingly.

“In Jennifer’s case here are some outfits that she can go straight to when she’s out and about during the working day and how they do a great job of conveying Jennifer’s brand authentically.

“This navy blue matching dress and jacket is a favourite outfit of mine for Jennifer.  Navy is a dark colour that Jennifer Holloway Personal Brand Expert Yorkshire and Leedsconveys authority but is softer than black. How often do you see an ocean of black suits at conferences? If you really want to stand out then opt for charcoal grey or navy instead. These are still authoritative colours but will give you a different look to everyone else.  With everything matching from top-to-toe Jennifer’s outfit this gets across her attention to detail.

 “Jennifer really suits purple so this purple dress is a must for whenever she wants to make a bold statement and to lookBuilding brand repuation management coaching Leeds Yorkshire healthy and glowing.  The lovely corsage adds a quirky, modern twist to show that you can expect creative and flair every time you meet Jennifer!

“If you’re not sure what colours best suit your hair and skin tone it’s always good to have colour analysis and find out which shades and tones really give you the wow factors and which colours to avoid.

“This black and white outfit is perfect for a lunch or meeting clients that Jennifer knows well.  All the fabrics are softer, Personal brand image coaching consultant Leeds Yorkshirethe print on the skirt is bold so all of this contributes to making Jennifer more approachable. The jacket still conveys status and authority so if Jennifer wants a more relaxed look she can simply remove the jacket.

 “My favourite photo of all sums up Jennifer and her brand in a nutshell.  She has strong classicManaging personal brand reputation marketing yourself foundations but brings a modern twist to this with the shirt worn beneath her dress and the beautiful but unusual jewellery. This outfit says ‘Expect to rely on Jennifer’s knowledge and experience but also rely on her to shake things up and add her own special twist to everything she does!'”
Thanks Natalia – a great way to show how you can communicate your personal brand through your image (and she’s not even getting a penny for all that flattery!) And thanks too of course to Cat Hepple – a woman who has an eye for light and shade that’s like no-one I’ve met before.

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If you’ve enjoyed Natalia’s guest blog, don’t be shy…leave a comment!  And please help me to spread the word using the buttons below.  Or if you’d like to learn more, check out my other blogs and follow me on Twitter.  Or drop me an email at jennifer.holloway@sparkexec.co.uk.  Thank you! 

Spark specialises in branding, but not for companies – for PEOPLE, helping clients to market themselves so they stand out from the crowd, building a reputation that enables them to be even more successful just by being themselves.   Spark delivers personal branding to executives and senior managers in Leeds, Harrogate, Skipton, York, Bradford, Wakefield and the Yorkshire area, as well as in London and other UK cities. The company was founded by Jennifer Holloway and her 15 years’ experience in PR coupled with several years as an executive coach means she delivers a personal brand service unlike any other. 

16/02/2011

10 Networking Tips (if you want to make a bad impression)

Personal branding networking making right impressionAs they say about the best laid plans of mice and men…after ‘advertising’ a guest blog in my last post, circumstances have conspired to delay that.  However, I thought a bit of light relief for anyone who’s due to attend a networking event would more than make up for it.

So here’s my 10 Networking Tips – if you want to make a bad impression of your personal brand that is!  All of these I have had the unfortunate pleasure to have experienced!

Bad Impression Tip #1    
Shake hands limply using only the ends of your fingers, not your whole hand, as if you’re offering someone a dead fish.

Bad Impression Tip #2   
Make sure your hand is good and sweaty so the dead fish feels like it’s still wet.

Bad Impression Tip #3    
Alternatively, if you want to convey how important you are, crushing a person’s hand as you shake it sends the right message.

Bad Impression Tip #4   
If you’re a man meeting to a woman, especially for the first time, use your handshake as an opportunity to pull her in for a kiss (this is particularly effective if it’s sloppy enough to leave saliva on her cheek).

Bad Impression Tip #5    
Look over the person’s shoulder as they’re talking – it helps them understand how lucky they are to be speaking to someone as important as you.

Bad Impression Tip #6    
Stand really close to people to take up as much of their personal space as possible.

Bad Impression Tip #7    
Make sure you’ve smoked at least two packs of cigarettes and drunk 15 cups of coffee so your breath has that distinctive odour.

Bad Impression Tip #8    
Shorten the person’s name even though they introduced themselves with the full version eg “Hi, I’m Jennifer.”  “Nice to meet you Jenny.”

Bad Impression Tip #9    
Do all the talking – people really want to hear how fantastic you are, how much money you’re making, what an expensive holiday you’re taking, etc.

Bad Impression Tip #10    
Remember that every person you meet is a potential customer so always, always, always go for the hard sell.

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If you have your own networking ‘pet hates’ don’t be shy…leave a comment!  And please help me to spread the word using the buttons below.  Or if you’d like to learn more, check out my other blogs and follow me on Twitter.  Or drop me an email at jennifer.holloway@sparkexec.co.uk.  Thank you! 

Spark specialises in branding, but not for companies – for PEOPLE, helping clients to market themselves so they stand out from the crowd, building a reputation that enables them to be even more successful just by being themselves.   Spark delivers personal branding to executives and senior managers in Leeds, Harrogate, Skipton, York, Bradford, Wakefield and the Yorkshire area, as well as in London and other UK cities. The company was founded by Jennifer Holloway and her 15 years’ experience in PR coupled with several years as an executive coach means she delivers a personal brand service unlike any other. 

09/02/2011

Addressing your Dressing

Personal brand for business in Yorkshire and LeedsOut of all the things that make up your personal brand your image is the first thing you need to get right, so it’s time we addressed your dressing.   

Think about it…if you are in a room of people and someone walks in, within seven seconds of spotting them you’ve  formed an opinon about them.  They haven’t opened their mouth or shaken your hand, but you already have a pretty good idea whether you’re buying into their personal brand.

What’s influencing that opinion?  How they look: their physique, their hairstyle, their clothing, their accessories, their personal hygeine – it’s all adding the picture. 

And every piece of the picture needs to add up.  We all know of someone whose attempt to convey a smart brand was let down by the fact their shirt collar was threadbare and their shoes were so scuffed and uncared for that the toes curled upwards.  Or someone whose pinstripe suit and snazzy tie conveyed an attention to appearance, only for that to be contradicted when they opened their mouth and their yellowing teeth and coffee and nicotine breath  told you otherwise.

So you have to ask yourself: “What do I want my image to tell people about me?”

The answer to that should reflect your personal brand.  For example, I define my image as ‘City with a twist’.  I’ll start by wearing something smart and having a hairstyle and make-up that wouldn’t look out of place in a boardroom (reflecting my brand attributes of confidence and making things happen).  But then I’ll always add something extra, like a big flower corsage or a multitude of pearl necklaces, to show I’m not your typical boardroom exec (reflecting my brand attributes of being ‘me’ and doing things my way).

So when you’re deciding what to wear in the morning, take time to think about what your key brand attributes are and whether your image (in all its forms) is saying that.  And if it’s not, perhaps it’s time to rethink your wardrobe, which is why my next blog will be a guest post from Natalia Colman, founder of Style Specialists.

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If you liked this blog don’t be shy…leave a comment!  And please help me to spread the word using the buttons below.  Or if you’d like to learn more, check out my other blogs and follow me on Twitter.  Or drop me an email at jennifer.holloway@sparkexec.co.uk.  Thank you! 

Spark specialises in branding, but not for companies – for PEOPLE, helping clients to market themselves so they stand out from the crowd, building a reputation that enables them to be even more successful just by being themselves.   Spark delivers personal branding to executives and senior managers in Leeds, Harrogate, Skipton, York, Bradford, Wakefield and the Yorkshire area, as well as in London and other UK cities. The company was founded by Jennifer Holloway and her 15 years’ experience in PR coupled with several years as an executive coach means she delivers a personal brand service unlike any other. 

28/01/2011

Power to the People!

personal brand coaching yorkshire reputation managementMy last two blogs – Business is Changing: Part I and Part II – were about setting the scene; making it clear that to get ahead in business today you need to use your personal brand to counteract the evolution of technology, working patterns, competition…the list goes on.

Getting a clear plan of action can be mind-boggling so if there was only one thing  readers should take from those blogs it’s this: PEOPLE BUY PEOPLE.

You’re probably nodding your head.  “Uh-huh, she’s got that right.”  You may even be thinking about times you’ve bought something you didn’t expect to, just because you just clicked with the salesperson.  (I’ve got a raspberry coloured knitted coat for exactly that reason.  Believe me, it looks a lot better than it sounds.)

You may also be thinking about times you didn’t buy something you were going to for exactly the opposite reason.  I had a friend who decided she was going to buy a new Audi A3 – sure as eggs is eggs.  So she drove to the nearest dealership, walked in, met the salesman and within 10 seconds thought, “I am never going to buy a car from you.”  The messages she got from his handshake and tone of voice communicated everything she needed to know about his personal brand…and she didn’t buy it.  He could have offered to gift wrap the car and deliver it to her door with a million quid in the boot and it would have made no difference.  So she got in her car, drove 13 miles to the next dealership and bought the A3 there.

Need any more convincing???

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If you liked this blog (or if you disagree with it) don’t be shy…leave a comment!  And please help me to spread the word using the buttons below.  Or if you’d like to learn more, check out my other blogs and follow me on Twitter.  Or drop me an email at jennifer.holloway@sparkexec.co.uk.  Thank you! 

Spark specialises in branding, but not for companies – for PEOPLE, helping clients to market themselves so they stand out from the crowd, building a reputation that enables them to be even more successful just by being themselves.   Spark delivers personal branding to executives and senior managers in Leeds, Harrogate, Skipton, York, Bradford, Wakefield and the Yorkshire area, as well as in London and other UK cities. The company was founded by Jennifer Holloway and her 15 years’ experience in PR coupled with several years as an executive coach means she delivers a personal brand service unlike any other. 
12/01/2011

BACK TO BASICS #7: Think it, be it

Welcome to the last in my Back to Basics series (don’t worry, the blogs will keep coming, but with this last bit under our belts we can move on to the really juicy stuff!)

In my last two posts I wrote about using positive language to create a positive brand and the need for not just the words but the tone and delivery to match if you’re to be believed.

But what if you’re just not feeling all that positive?  If you’re hacked off with the world and can’t even muster the enthusiasm to feed the cat, let alone promote your personal brand.

Well…SNAP OUT OF IT!

I know – easier said than done and believe me, I’m not averse to the odd occasion of negativity wallowing.  But I never do it without a deadline – a time by which I give myself a kick in the pants back to positivity. So here’s what you need to know to do exactly the same:

  • What’s in your mind is what you feel – Telling yourself you feel negative perpetuates the fact you feel negative – and all the while you wallow, mulling over the injustices of life, that’s exactly what you’re doing.  So start by recognising you’re doing it and consciously replace the negative thoughts with positive ones. Looking on the bright side may be an irritating trait in others when you want to sulk, but it’s the key to getting you back on track.
  • What you feel is what you look like – Your brain and body are great mates, so whatever one is doing, the other likes to follow.  When you feel negative your physiology changes to make sure you look negative too – with a face as long as a gas man’s mac and shoulders hunched like a stroppy teenager.  But you can use this synergy in your favour because…
  • You can change the way you look to change what you feel – So if you stand straight, hold your head high, slap a grin on your face and look confident your brain believes your body and the negativity starts to lift.  The more positive your brain feels, the more signals it sends to your body to match it, so you stand even straighter and the grin turns into a full-blown smile. 

And your wallowing hath ended!

If you’ve enjoyed these musings, don’t be shy…leave a comment!  And please help me to spread the word using the buttons below.  Or if you’d like to learn more, check out my other blogs and follow me on Twitter.  Or drop me an email at jennifer.holloway@sparkexec.co.uk.  Thank you!

Spark specialises in branding, but not for companies – for PEOPLE, helping clients to market themselves so they stand out from the crowd, building a reputation that enables them to be even more successful just by being themselves.   Spark delivers personal branding to executives and senior managers in Leeds, Harrogate, Skipton, York, Bradford, Wakefield and the Yorkshire area, as well as in London and other UK cities. The company was founded by Jennifer Holloway and her 15 years’ experience in PR coupled with several years as an executive coach means she delivers a service unlike any other. 

05/01/2011

BACK TO BASICS #6: It’s more than words

Welcome to 2011 – the year I predict personal branding is really going to raise its profile in the UK as more people than ever are going to discover the power of being more successful just by being themselves.

So whether you’ve been following my Back to Basics series to get to grips with the fundamentals of personal branding, or have just been reminding yourself of what’s important, here’s the latest installment for your reading delight.

In my last blog I highlighted how using positive language will go a long way to creating a positive personal brand – it’s a lot easier for people to buy into a ‘can do’ brand than a ‘can’t do’ one.  But not only do your words need to be positive, your delivery of them does too.  Here’s why…

The psychologist Albert Mehrabian discovered that, when people give us messages, we take only 7% of our information from the words they speak.  Instead, it’s their tone of voice (38%) and body language (55%) that give us the lion’s share of what we need to know. 

So when a ‘can do’ person says, “I’m great at working with a team,” the energy in their voice and the smile on their face will make sure you absolutely believe them.  But if a ‘can’t do’ person says the same thing, with a voice like a wet weekend in Wigan and their back to the rest of the room, they’ll never be believed.

Or another example (one for the ladies): you walk into the living room all dressed up for a night out and ask your other half, “How do I look?”  He replies, “You look great,” but as he’s saying it with a distant voice and his eyes on the telly, you know what he actually means is, “Uh…did you say something?  Go on Rooney, get it in the back of the net!”

So the vocabulary, tone and physiology have to match at all times for your brand to be authentic.  I’ll explain one last thing about projecting a positive brand in my next blog, so stay tuned folks!

If you’ve enjoyed these musings, don’t be shy…leave a comment!  And please help me to spread the word using the buttons below.  Or if you’d like to learn more, check out my other blogs and follow me on Twitter.  Or drop me an email at jennifer.holloway@sparkexec.co.uk.  Thank you!

Spark specialises in branding, but not for companies – for PEOPLE, helping clients to market themselves so they stand out from the crowd, building a reputation that enables them to be even more successful just by being themselves.   Spark delivers personal branding to executives and senior managers in Leeds, Harrogate, Skipton, York, Bradford, Wakefield and the Yorkshire area, as well as in London and other UK cities. The company was founded by Jennifer Holloway and her 15 years’ experience in PR coupled with several years as an executive coach means she delivers a service unlike any other. 

22/12/2010

BACK TO BASICS #4: First impressions

My last post in the Back To Basics series about beliefs and perceptions was short and sweet, because I didn’t want the importance of the point to be lost: your personal brand consists of not only what you believe it to be but how others perceive it.

And it takes as little as 7 seconds for that perception to be formed, because that’s how long it takes to make a first impression.  The amazing thing is how in-depth that impression will be. According to New York University Graduate School of Business, there are 11 different things we assess about someone in that time:

1. Their education level
2. Their economic level
3. Their  perceived creditability and believability
4. Their trustworthiness
5. Their level of sophistication
6. Their sexual identification
7. Their level of success
8. Their political background
9. Their religious background
10. Their ethnic background
11. Their social and professional desirability

Now, you may be thinking, “Really, I’ve got seven seconds to work out all that…how the heck?!”  But it’s a lot easier than you might think because you’re brain’s doing it without you even thinking about it.  For example, you’ll spot a wedding ring and have clues about the person’s desirability and sexuality.  Or you’ll hear their accent and make assumptions about their education, political leanings, ethnicity and religion.  And a study by Harvard University has shown that those assumptions will mean your first impression is, on average, 80% accurate.  So give yourself a gold star!

Of course, all the while you’re working out these things about the person you’ve just met, they’re doing exactly the same to you.  So make sure your personal brand is being communicated loud and clear because you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

Find out more about others’ perceptions of your brand in my next blog…coming soon to a screen near you!

If you’ve enjoyed these musings, don’t be shy…leave a comment!  And please help me to spread the word using the buttons below.  Or if you’d like to learn more, check out my other blogs and follow me on Twitter.  Or drop me an email at jennifer.holloway@sparkexec.co.uk.  Thank you!

Spark specialises in branding, but not for companies – for PEOPLE, helping clients to market themselves so they stand out from the crowd, building a reputation that enables them to be even more successful just by being themselves.   Spark delivers personal branding to executives and senior managers in Leeds, Harrogate, Skipton, York, Bradford, Wakefield and the Yorkshire area, as well as in London and other UK cities. The company was founded by Jennifer Holloway and her 15 years’ experience in PR coupled with several years as an executive coach means she delivers a service unlike any other. 

22/11/2010

A snapshot of your personal brand

Online profiles are a great way to get your personal brand out there, with one of the most popular sites being LinkedIn.  But just because you’re not selling your brand face-to-face doesn’t mean you can take your eye off the ball when it comes to getting the message right.

And a big part of that message is your photo – they don’t say a picture paints a thousand words for nothing!  But have you got yours right?  Here are some suggestions to make yours work with some pointers about what doesn’t work (to see what I mean, check out the photos of your connections and consider what personal brand messages they convey to you):

A brand opportunity – Your photo is a chance to get across something about your personal brand, so use it.  Do not waste the chance by leaving it blank or using your logo instead – it’s impersonal.

Reflect your personality – Always have a smile (unless your personal brand is that you’re uber serious) and try to reflect an aspect of your brand eg lean against a wall to show you’re relaxed, look off to the side if you’re a bit cheeky, have the photo in black and white if you want to add gravitas.  Do not be so unapproachable that you look like a photofit on Crimewatch.

Appropriateness – If your online profile is used as a business tool, make sure your photo sends a business message.  Do not use a social snap ie that one of you out with your mates (even if you have tried to crop them out of the photo) or you on your wedding day or you stood next to that cool car or you on your holiday (I’ve seen them all).

Sizing – Make sure I can distinguish what you look like from your photo using the cropping option when you upload it, so that your face takes up most of the picture area.  Do not have your face so small that it would be impossible to recognise you in a crowded room.

Background – Have a plain, contrasting background to the photo to make it easier to focus on your face.  Do not have a plant growing out of your head or a pile of messy papers in front of you.

Quality – If you can afford it, get a professional photo taken – it really makes a difference (it may be you can barter your services for those of a photographer you know).  Do not use a snap that looks like it was taken in the booth at the railway station.

Do all that and you’ll be sending out positive messages about your personal brand that put you ahead of the competition and make you stand out from the crowd.

If you’ve enjoyed these musings, don’t be shy…leave a comment!  And please help me to spread the word using the buttons below.  Or if you’d like to learn more, check out my other blogs and follow me on Twitter.  Or drop me an email at jennifer.holloway@sparkexec.co.uk.  Thank you!

Spark specialises in branding, but not for companies – for PEOPLE, helping clients to market themselves so they stand out from the crowd, building a reputation that enables them to be even more successful just by being themselves.   Spark delivers personal branding to executives and senior managers in Leeds, Harrogate, Skipton, York, Bradford, Wakefield and the Yorkshire area, as well as in London and other UK cities. The company was founded by Jennifer Holloway and her 15 years’ experience in PR coupled with several years as an executive coach means she delivers a service unlike any other.