This article is intended to be a resource for young professionals, regardless of profession or industry, looking to establish their personal brand.
Early in my career, I was given some professional guidance on personal presentation,
“Put on the professional attire when you’re doing professional work. Superman never does his thing dressed as Clark Kent.”
Branding is about establishing a reputation and expectation of behavior in the minds of those you wish to engage with. You start with a first impression and cement it through consistent action.
The Benefit of Dressing Sharp Over Being Casual
In 2008 I was producing a lot of videos for a several clients. I’d have to be on my feet a lot. It was important that my attire be comfortable. My typical outfit consisted of a jersey or polo shirt, cargo pants or jeans, and a pair of white Jordans.
Normally I’d dress sharp only for sales calls or client meetings. But, not for other work because I felt that casual was more personable and much more comfortable.
However, the downside of the casual attire was that if someone with authority didn’t establish my presence, most folks wouldn’t take me seriously as a professional. This usually resulted in a more difficult time getting my work done.
I later realized that getting people to engage with me is no different than doing sales. Before you can break the ice and build rapport, you have to set an impression through your attire. Dress the way you want folks to receive you.