The Hairy Side of Personal Branding
- Nao Madison
- May 10, 2023
I am currently forming most new relationships with a moment of disappointed. Certainly not the ideal way to make that all important first impression.
As a recruiter, I often connect with people online, say, through LinkedIn. Inevitably, when I meet them in person for the first time they are scanning the room or cafe and then the realisation sets in that I no longer have pink hair and our first moments are around “Why did you change your hair?!”.
So this is where my dilemma starts, there are many people that associate my pink hair with my brand.
I am the recruiter with the pink quiff, so If I am to update the picture to something more recent I could damage my brand, but if I leave it, will I continue to risk disappointing people?
Whether you are cultivating your personal brand, or it is being formed organically, it is possible that one day you may want to change your image.
Below are some insights into negotiating unique and fluid personal brands.
Being authentic is important when building your personal brand.
We all have unique identifying qualities, some based on the way we look and others around the way we communicate and form relationships, working out your point of difference will help you to form your brand.
If your point of difference is your image, do you risk losing your unique selling proposition if you change your style?
I like to change my hair colour every few weeks but it could be considered egotistical to change my profile picture that many times.
Keeping a consistent brand is important giving that nice warm feeling of a sense of recognition and familiarity, so how can I stay authentic and on brand at the same time?
Making sure your brand goes beyond your image, logo or sales pitch relies on you being able to back it up with value both online and in real time situations.
If you are rebranding try and use your identifying qualities to your advantage and don’t be scared to stand out. My pink hair has been really helpful in forming my personal brand in a busy market of recruiters, however albeit for that initial moment of disappointment when people ask ‘where’s the pink hair?’ I am still able to portray what my personal brand is about through my manner, work ethic and values.
Remember that there are lots of elements to building a strong personal brand beyond image like creating a coherent online presence, having your own website, sharing relevant content and associating with similar brands and how we visually represent ourselves is just one part of the equation.
A side note…
I am debating whether to change my image to launch my blog site and am keen to hear your opinions about whether the pink hair ‘makes my brand’, or it goes beyond the image.
Here is a recent picture I took with the wonderful Rami Yahya, (www.ramiyahya.com) that I plan to use across my digital profiles.
Perhaps, I could add a note to my title “I used to have pink hair” or “formally of the pink haired quiff persuasion”?
Thank you, Melissa Rauf, from Audience Lab for the inspiration and support writing this piece and Mark Conlan for always bringing my work to life with his beautiful illustrations, http://markconlan.com/ @markconlan