Guest Post by Rahna Barthelmess
Rahna is an expert on personal branding. What is personal branding? It is putting into practice the concept that by marketing ourselves in a way that leads to a uniquely distinguishable, and memorable impression, we increase our prospects for success in our lives and careers. Personal branding is an ongoing process. The goal of personal branding is to establish a particular image and impression in the mind of others about an individual, group or organization. In this case, Rahna’s advice is geared to women struggling with hair loss.
Who says we have to hide in the shadows under hot itchy wigs? Why can’t bald women as a group develop a brand as smart, savvy, sexy and successful in all our shining glory?
I am so pleased to have Rahna share her knowledge and insight about personal branding today. And I hope you enjoy reading her blog and learning her tips as much as I have.
Like it or not, your personal brand is partly conveyed by what you look like… But what if you don’t like what you look like?
Then it’s time to rethink how you view yourself.
I work with clients to help them express their personal brand in order to advance their careers…and addressing their physical appearance is just part of our review. In my work, I have dealt with all sorts of visual challenges as it relates to my clients’ personal brands. I have worked with skinny, round, short, tall, frumpy and yes, even bald. Some have been very public figures who need to go on camera for media interviews; others just need to convey a certain amount of professionalism to their boss and their team at their office.
My approach is to deal with what is, rather than lament what isn’t. In my work, it would be ridiculous and offensive to ask someone to go on a diet or get a nose job. While I may make suggestions for clothing choices when going on-camera or giving an important presentation, in general, we cannot change the major features of our appearance.
In my estimation, it’s best to accept ourselves, and deal with ourselves where we are instead of worrying and fretting over what we’re not. It’s more important to move on to the next question, which is “okay, what can I do with what I have? How can [insert area of concern here] be incorporated/enhanced/ integrated into the overall impression I am trying to convey?” This means first we must understand and clarify what our personal brand is and what we would like it to be, and then we need to consciously think about how we can craft the appropriate message.
The women who read this blog live with alopecia, a particular condition that has had a dramatic impact on their lives… But I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be a negative.
Embrace it; meet it head on (no pun intended). Are you boldly bald? Great! Then figure out what part that plays in your personal brand. Look to add other aspects to enhance and express your personal brand-funky earrings, a great necklace, a stunning outfit. Maybe you are a hat person. Hats can convey a lot of attitude: funky, sophisticated, serene, or old-school.
Would you rather still wear a wig? Okay, fine but make sure that wig adds to your personal brand. If you are creative, you could have pink hair… But if you’re planning to work for conservative law firm, you might want to choose something more tame.
No matter what your issue is, be practical about dealing with it. For example: having worked with a bald client before, I know that there will be less shine if you wash your head right before a photo shoot or an on-camera interview… so if you need to take a few minutes in the bathroom to de-shine, take it. Then move on to showing the important stuff: your thoughts, your ideas, and your character.
Our physical appearance is a part of our personal brand. It’s human nature for others to ‘judge a book by its cover’ but we cannot let that stop us from expressing who we are and what we have to offer.
Rahna Barthelmess is a branding and personal branding consultant who is on a three-week virtual blog tour to celebrate the launch of her book Your Branding Edge: How Personal Branding Can Turbocharge Your Career. Rahna conducts group and private coaching programs to help people get more comfortable in their own skin, building their confidence so they can express their brands in a more authentic way. You can receive your own special guide to personal branding and access the full virtual book tour schedule by visiting www.YourBrandingEdge.com