|Differentiate By Adding Real Value.|
And just as a coincidence, it also happened that during a conversation, a dear friend of mine asked me if including on his LinkedIn profile a background picture related to his industry and what his company did, would help him differentiate from others who also work on the same area.
I told him there wouldn’t be any problem with it, quite the opposite: I said it would add a very nice visual touch to his profile, but also recommended him not to forget that the best strategy to differentiate himself from other professionals within his industry was to provide valuable content across all platforms where he was present, ending up my comment with the phrase that entitles this post.
Never forget that "the suite does not make the man".
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because you dress fashionably, have a very “cool” haircut, an expensive suit and a brand name watch, you’ve made your job on taking care of the most important part of your personal brand, because you'll be making a huge mistake .
Obviously creating a professional image is important, but if the way you look on the outside is not synchronized with your most authentic, inner self, then you're simply creating a false image of yourself and people, at any time, will take notice.
Remember that "even though the monkey is all dressed in silk, it’s still a monkey." If what people see is not authentic, at some point they will figure you out.
A while ago, I wrote in this blog that a personal brand should be, on top of everything else, a free and consistent expression of your true self, both personal and professional, without impositions from others.
And it’s a position I defend and will always do my best in keeping: First of all, the image you project about yourself should be perfectly consistent with your most intimate values and opinions, and can not be any other way.
Differentiate Yourself By The Value Shared Through Your Conversations.
What I definitely think should be your preferred way to really stand out from other professionals in your industry or sector, is the depth of your opinions, they way you add value to other people’s lives and businesses, who approach you looking for your advice or recommendations.
And even more through the genuine value you can add to discussions you’re participating in. If that does not happen, if you are not able to add value to anyone's life, if your opinion is nothing but a collection of unconnected dots, and what you say goes unnoticed, well then you can certainly dress the way you want, and wear their hair style of your dreams because you're being just one more on the pile.
A professional who brings value to its environment in an authentic way, is the one who always leaves the deepest impression.
I think there is no greater satisfaction than to help others achieve their goals and doing it by helping them grow and become better people and better entrepreneurs, sharing with them the best you have to offer based on your experience and knowledge.
Only then, I think, you'll be able to strongly and certainly differentiate from other professionals who simply have stayed on the surface and do not dare to take deep dives within their industry.
On top of everything else, we are human beings wearing too many hats.
Not at all moments in my daily life I am the professional guy who writes this blog. I’m also a father of two little angels (or better yet, growing angels), I have a wonderful wife, I'm still the son of my mother, thanks God, brother of my brothers and, besides all, I'm still a human being who wants to stay physically fit, who also goes to walk the dog, taking out the trash, and so many other things.
Can you imagine how my life would be if I also had to worry about dressing in the best way possible when I go out for a ride on my bike? Or when taking out the trash? Can you picture yourself going out to walk your dog on suit and tie?
I think it wouldn’t make any sense, don’t you agree?
Above all, a personal brand should never be a cage that encloses and limits you.
I do agree totally that you have to dress properly and accordingly to the occasion, of course we all do, and it’s also true we have to follow the proper etiquette codes when in professional environments and all other situations which require it. There is no single doubt about it and it's something I'll always recommended you as a key thing to consider.
But from there to consider that the most important thing a person or a professional has to do to build its image properly is what comes through the eyes, there is a long way. Thinking this way just limits yourself from having the opportunity to meet amazing people, to learn a little bit more each and every day.
The real way to differentiate yourself as a professional is to add value to people around you, both professionally and personally, and always be willing to continue growing as a person, learning from others as well.
Only then you will be in a favorable position to leave a deep, authentic and lasting image on your environment, whether it’s professional or personal.
I recommend you to read the following posts on this blog:
What does a Barbie has to do with your personal brand?
Personal Branding Strategy: A Case Study.