Google the words “Image Management” or “Image Consultancy”, and all you see are the pages and websites of those in the business. There is very little content devoted to the subject by the rest of the world. “Personal branding” and “Styling” command a lot more online space, and mindshare.
What exactly is Image Management ?
It is “Styling for the Personal Brand”. It is about reducing the gap between your self-image, and how others see you. It is about amalgamation of your authentic self, with your professional and lifestyle requirements. It is about creating a way of life. Your appearance and body language become the medium of communication, as much as verbal language does. It is about being an integrated personality.
The world has moved forward from Intelligence Quotient to Emotional Intelligence and Spiritual Intelligence. Visual Intelligence is the art and science of interpreting the signals given out by a person’s physical appearance, and using them to project your personal brand.
I can list out my own personality traits that drew me to it. At the outset, some may appear unrelated to the topic. I have tried my hand at writing fiction, but did not make much headway. My strength lies in summarising and conceptualizing thought patterns, not expanding them to tell a story. I prefer communicating by mail or messages, rather than phone calls, for keeping communication brief and crisp. I have used change in hairstyles and dressing in a different manner, to express rebellion in my younger days. Dressing and body language appeared to be the better elevator pitch, than endlessly playing around with words. On delving deeper in the topic, I realized that I had been practising much of it before, with some help from the reflection in the mirror, but without knowing the terminology. On certain days, I was gripped by a “ This is not me” feeling in the morning. Either I spent an extra few minutes in changing and reported to work late, or avoided meeting people throughout the day. Gradually, I evolved my own solutions, and became super-organized in this sphere. Just look inwards, and answer the following questions about yourself . The Authentic You Summarize your identity in 2-3 sentences. What are you grateful for, in life, at this moment ? List the idols/mentors/people you look up to, and write 2 sentences about each of them. What do you think is the purpose of your existence in your organization/ professional and personal space ? How do you define Integrity ? Which compliment do you receive more often – “Awesome outfit”, or “ You look perfect ----------as always” ? The Professional You Does your organization have a dress code ? How many face-to-face client interactions do you have in a week ? How many days in a week are spent in boardroom meetings ? What is the size of the team reporting to you? Have you ever felt out-of-place in a professional setup, owing to your outfit ? The Social and Leisurely You How do you spend your holidays and leisure hours ? List in order of priority : Comfort, Style, Beauty, Appropriateness, Being the cynosure of all eyes, looking better than your neighbour. How many social events do you attend in a month ? Are they with the same cliché of friends, or different groups ? Do you think it is worthwhile investing in designer brands ? Do you own pieces that were bought with great fondness, but have been seldom used ? Would you like to use them in restructured outfits ? Answers to the above questions will cull out the fundamentals for an image that you need to have.
DO YOU NEED AN IMAGE CONSULTANT ?
How great is your concern about how you present yourself to the world ? Do you think, changing your image will have a positive impact on the quality of your life ? What can be done about it, other than investing in a new, expensive wardrobe? Prioritize your answers. Would your life be different, if others see you in the same manner, as you wish to project yourself ? What would doubling your communication effectiveness feel like ?
This self-analysis will lead you to recognize an unidentified need, if it exists. Let a professional handle the nitty-gritty of implementing the details.