Align your personal style with your business brand, and reap the benefits
As an entrepreneur you are committed to building a strong, consistent, authentic brand that visually represents your business and your ethos. You know that in order to engage with your audience and build trust, credibility and, ultimately, clients, you need to put the "you" in your business and create a personal brand; yet, I see so many entrepreneurs failing to use one of the most powerful tools at their disposal when it comes to creating an authentic brand: their personal style.
If you're going to successfully build a personal brand that truly embodies you and your business, you must consider your personal style and the image you present to your audience. It doesn't matter how strong your business brand is; if your personal style doesn't authentically align with you or your business, then you are seriously hindering your ability to connect to your audience.
In the words of businessman-turned-author Seth Godin: "A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer's decision to choose one product or service over another." So, if you are not connecting to your audience in the most authentic way you can, then they may well choose to hire or buy from someone else.
If you're reading this thinking "this doesn't apply to me because I don't deal with my clients in person," you are sadly mistaken. This applies to all business owners. It doesn't matter whether your business has you meeting and working with clients in person, or working with them from behind your computer screen. Like it or not, your audience wants (and expects) you to have a strong online presence. They don't just want to see your website; they want to see you.
It has become totally normal for potential clients to take a peek at you on social media before making a decision to hire you. They want to know who the person is behind the business and what's important to you, and they love to see snippets of your life. They're doing some research because they know that all of these things will help them form a decision as to whether or not you're the right fit for them.
It's not enough to just show up and rely on your ability and your knowledge to win trust and credibility; you need to make sure that your audience not only sees your brand in the way you want it to be seen, but that they see YOU how you want to be seen, every time you interact with your audience through Instagram, Facebook, webinars, Skype calls, etc.
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But here's the beautiful thing: As a business owner, you set the rules! You have the freedom to wear what you choose and to craft a personal style that you love and that communicates what is important to you. You don't have to conform to a strict, unimaginative dress code or fit in with someone else's brand and vision. You have the opportunity to develop a personal brand and personal style that comes from your heart and represents you and your business, so don't waste it!
If you can develop a personal style that is authentic to you and align this with your business, your audience is much more likely to believe in you and what you do, and they will become more than just clients. They'll become fans, and fans are like the holy grail of clients as these are the people who will promote your business for you.
(Whether she's dishing out advice on how to wear the latest trends or putting fun looks together, fashion writer and stylist Aramide Esubi is always on the move keeping up with the latest in fashion. Email her at email@example.com, or follow her on Instagram at instagram.com/thesassypeach.)Copyright Tribune Content Agency LLC