Image Counts

Sometimes the best strategy does not win. Sometimes, no matter how much work you do or how much thinking you put into a project or pitch, the results just don’t come to you. The question is not what you missed, but what was your customer expecting that you did not deliver.

Mike Wagner from Own Your Own Brand has a great post on the linkage between teaching and brands that got me thinking. It reminded me of a couple of things in my own life. In my university days  I was certain my career would be in directing theatre or film. I remember directing a play and noticing the difference in the style, presentation and effectiveness of the performances based on how I dressed. When I dressed in a blazer the performance was better than when I turned up in ripped jeans. After a couple of bad performances, I just decided to dress "up", more conservatively, and more obviously attentive to my appearance. I must say that the changes were remarkable.

It was pretty clear to me that if I wanted to achieve a high level of team performance, I needed to dress a certain way. This, in itself, was quite strange — as the work we were performing was considered avant-garde, non-conventional and self-consciously artistic. But the more that the performers were pushed, the greater was their need for a solid and dependable base (which was me). And the more conservatively I dressed, the better the performance was. The troupe and I were building an unspoken, but deep trust.

When it comes to brands, sometimes your clients are the ones who need YOU to look the part. They need to be able to trust in your approach and your reliability — especially when you are pushing their brand to its creative limits. Remember, it is not about YOU, it is about delivering the results for your clients. But equally, sometimes, it is about making your clients feel comfortable with you and your approach. It is a matter of trust.


4 thoughts on “Image Counts

  1. Dear Servant, thank you for enlarging the conversation I started with that posting. What a fascinating observation you make in this post of yours. It made my day to read and my is still racing.
    Are you back from your trip? Hope all is well, Mike

  2. I teach workshops on classroom management and discuss dress as a way of establishing credibility with that first impression. Unfortunately, a lot of faculty fight this…they think the content of what they are teaching should speak for itself. Thanks for sharing your experience–I’ll be using it in future workshops!

  3. As another college professsor (mathematics), I’ve found the same truth – student perception of mathematics and me is greatly influenced by how I first perceive myself. And, that starts with the outward appearance. It’s great to hear similar thoughts from a colleague!

  4. In many cases first we percieve a person and through a human we get the information. The look and the dress should be suitable for the acasion to help your message go through the heads of the listeners. The same with mathematics and theatre, business and relationships. First we see and then we feel and understand. From this point of view, I can assure you that a person can master every science and art. The only thing he needs is a good teacher or friend whom he can trust. Summing it all I can say that Love appears the greatest and the most powerful thing that teaches us everywhere 😉

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