Does Your Outfit Matter?
Did you know that according to a study done by Forbes your client creates their first impression of you within 7 seconds of your initial interaction?
If you are a small business owner trying to appeal to your target audience, your outfits matter. Your outfits and your personal presentation matter because your target audience will make assumptions about your brand based on their perception of you as a person.
Why do they do this? Because people like to do business with other people.
Besides offering a quality product or service that solves your client’s problem, you are also offering you! Your clients chose you as a person and not just your offer - and that’s why they make mental connections between you as a person and your brand as a business.
No one cares about what the CEO of Starbucks wears, because they are buying a cup of coffee, not the CEO’s personality. As a small business owner, you have a different relationship with your clients. Your target audience cares about what your outfits communicate because they are doing business with you.
When Does Your Outfit Matter?
So, your outfit matters because it helps inform your client’s initial impression of you, but does that mean that you have to dress up like you’re going to the office in 2005? The short answer is, “No.” (Big sigh of relief)
In our modern business world, there are really only a few situations where you need to give extra thought to make sure that your outfit communicates your brand.
As a general rule, your outfit needs to align with your desired brand perception when it will affect your client’s perception. For most small business owners today, that means client meetings whether in-person or on Zoom, networking events and the photos on your website.
Your client’s perceptions are most influenced during your first interaction with them. The very first time they see you is when they will make all of those assumptions about you and your brand in less than 7 seconds. This is why working with a stylist for your brand can be so valuable.
Working With a Personal Brand Stylist
Choosing outfits that align with your branding and business communication takes some work, and that is where the personal brand stylist comes in.
Before you say, “I already have good style and don’t need the extra help,” there are several good reasons to partner with a personal stylist for this particular situation.
First, it is not so much about having “good” style as it is about choosing outfits that are going to connect with your target audience and communicate your brand messages. When you hire a personal brand stylist, you get an expert who is going to choose outfits for you that will clearly communicate your brand as well as help you source those outfits. If shopping isn’t your thing, hiring a personal brand stylist is your opportunity to have a personal shopper!
Also, your everyday style might not be what is going to land best with your ideal client. It is a challenge to choose outfits that you aren’t used to wearing in your daily life, so an outside opinion from an expert could be very helpful in this scenario.
Finally, even if you could figure it out yourself, you are a busy business owner who probably has several other items on your to-do list that should take priority because they are things that only you can do. This is something that you can hire an expert to do for you. As a growing small business, outsourcing becomes a necessary strategy and this is one task that you can easily outsource while getting even better results than doing it on your own.
How to Communicate Your Brand Through Your Outfits
There are so many different types of fashion styles, that it can feel overwhelming to figure out which one is the best fit for your business.
For the licensed psychologist it might be professional attire but in warm and welcoming brown tones; but it’s black boots and a leather jacket for the tattoo artist, and the florist in Tennessee might want to look like the girl next door in blue denim and an easy white tee.
This wide variety of styles can feel like a lot, but it can become an asset when you work with a stylist who can help you with your wardrobe selection to find the style that is right for your brand and the perception you want to create.
Your primary focus when trying to communicate your brand through your outfits should be the colors that you wear. While it’s not necessarily a science, colors affect mood and perception, which makes it a tool you can use. If you want to be perceived as competent, black is a great option. If your brand is bold and you want to stand out, red can be a useful color for you.
The other consideration when using your outfit to align with your brand perception is how obvious you want labels and branding to be. If your clientele is more affluent and aware of designer labels, then it can be helpful to choose a couple of designer pieces with noticeable branding. This will show your clients that you understand what they value without you having to say anything. In an opposite scenario, if your clientele would describe themselves as “down to earth”, wearing flashy logos that shows how much money you spent on your clothing or handbag could have a negative effect and it would be much more effective to not show any branding.
You need to feel comfortable and confident in the outfits that you wear, but you also must realize that you are not only dressing for yourself anymore - you are also dressing for your clients to a certain extent.
Here are 3 things to think about with your personal stylist when choosing your outfits:
If you’re a business owner, chances are good that you prioritize taking action. Here are your action steps:
First, get really clear on what your brand messages are for your business.
Next, schedule a branding photoshoot with a photographer who can create photos that will communicate these messages effectively.
Finally, hire a personal stylist who will source outfits for you that will connect with your target audience and communicate your brand.
In our modern business context, visual communication gets more important every day. Use these insights to craft a clear brand message through your online visual presence, attract more ideal clients, and grow your business.
ABOUT REFINED ELEVATION
Kameron and Willow are personal stylists who believe that an elevated style is the solution to standing out in a crowded marketplace. Using their past experience in design, law, and communications, they identify your ideal client’s perceptions and hidden expectations about your style. They provide young professionals and accomplished business owners with elevated outfits that align with their brand and artfully communicate confidence.
Learn about their services on their website!
Follow them on Instagram @refined.elevation