Introduction by Matthew A. Griffith, J.D.
I had the pleasure of meeting Annie Sever-Dimitri at a Rainmakers’ Main Event recently. We had a great conversation about the importance of image in developing brands. Image doesn’t mean dressing very well, having clean shoes and combing your hair (for those of you with hair). Annie and I agree that image can be “dressing down” at times. It means there is a matching of your client’s expectations and how you meet those expectations. Your image plays a huge part in your brand development. That is especially true for small businesses and professional services companies. So, this is a topic that I hope you’ll start to learn and understand.
Please enjoy Annie’s post.
Guest Blog by Annie Sever-Dimitri
As an image consultant, my job is to help my clients create the best first impression possible. Actually, I think we should revise the term “first impression” to be “first and last impression” because what others think of you when you first meet generally sticks for the long run. It takes only 3 – 7 seconds for the visual information we send to be picked up by others. I know—you haven’t even opened your mouth at that point. That is because experts state that roughly 90% of our language is received visually; only 10% of any message we send is derived from the movement of our mouths.
I bet you are now pondering your image, meaning your clothing, grooming, and body language. And your wallet. In today’s restrictive economic climate, business owners are only spending what is absolutely necessary. What you wear, the style of your hair, or how you stand when conversing may seem quite trivial when compared to other aspects of your marketing. But it isn’t when you really let it sink in that your appearance is doing the vast majority of your marketing for you.
Another point to consider is the fierce competition these days. How many marketing companies, ghost bloggers, and web designers do you know? What sets them apart from each other? I love this line from the inside cover of a marketing book called “Differentiate or Die” by Jack Trout : “The only way to truly differentiate yourself is by marketing the product’s uniquely valuable qualities.” When I network, I don’t see many people displaying anything unique with their appearance. Lots of khaki pants with beige shirts for the men; too much black; very few people providing a succinct message about their business because they just fade into the crowd.
We all need that extra edge over the competition. Image consulting provides that. Just like you have honed your message on the web and on paper using the expertise of marketing professionals, you must provide that same attention to your most valuable advertising asset of all: you.