Your personal appearance is your brand identity
We’ve all had the experience — at the end of a long day discovering we’ve worn one black shoe and one blue shoe, or socks that don’t match or have worn our shirt inside out all day long…and no one noticed. When this has happened to me, I find myself wondering, “Why didn’t anybody tell me?” I also wonder who now thinks of me as sloppy, or someone who doesn’t attend to details.
For most of us, our personal appearance is important. We take care to groom ourselves to present a presence which reflects and reinforces our sense of self.
The ante is upped when you are a company delegate who speaks with the public or the media. You are an embodiment of the brand experience.
As a leader, you are the exemplar of your firm’s brand. You must check yourself in the mirror or ask your colleagues to review your clothing, appearance and presence to evaluate whether or not your appearance reflects the values of the brand.
When you make a personal appearance representing your business, you ARE the brand.
Because of a shirt, for a moment, the world was inadvertently focused, not on the Rosetta Project’s success — as the Philae lander approached a comet — but on Rosetta Project scientist Matt Taylor’s shirt which was insensitively selected, given his position of leadership and need to appear on camera for interviews.
@lievenscheire You think a shirt like this makes women feel welcome? I don’t. pic.twitter.com/ecoW7mLQMs
— Katie Mack (@AstroKatie) November 12, 2014
If the European Space Agency’s PR person had reviewed their team member’s appearance prior to interviews, perhaps all eyes would have been on mission success, not the shirt. With a bit more thought, the public relations team would not be defending the leader’s values and their congruence with the space agency’s, but would be talking more about the globally recognized accomplishment of getting a probe to land on a comet.
So, when is a shirt more than a shirt? Or a shoe more than a shoe? When worn by a leader.
Update: Taylor apologizes saying,
“I made a big mistake, and I offended many people,” Taylor said at Friday’s media briefing, his voice trembling, “and I’m very sorry about this.” Read more
Photo credit: By: Charlotte L