Shannon Smith, VP Personal Branding | BrandEQ

When we meet people for the first time, we make an impression in three ways: Visual, Verbal and Vocal. What’s most interesting is that the visual component is the most important by far.  As human beings, it is natural to “think with our eyes.”

Whether you like it or not, the image you project, what we call your personal brand affects other’s decisions about you — your intelligence, character and ability — and further determines if they want to have a business relationship with you.

Clients have told me that, because they dismissed the importance of personal branding, they not only lost opportunities and promotions, deals fell through, memberships were denied and friends disappeared too.

If your personal brand is not congruent, attractive and attracting, you will be passed over – guaranteed. Therefore, to be competitive, to have a greater influence on others, attract more of what you want in your life; it’s critical that you pay attention to personal packaging.


You might wonder what is involved in personal branding. The key word here is personal. From eye color to tone of voice, your personal brand is as unique as you are.

You may already have an up-to-date wardrobe (or maybe not). What about the way you walk, conduct yourself when meeting someone new or the way you shake hands? Do you see a dentist and work out regularly? What about your eating habits or your hosting duties. Do you know to wine, dine and act fine….or hold the fork properly? How do you measure up? No matter what your age or status in life, you may not be aware of the barriers that are hurting your chances of success, both business and socially.

As a personal brand coach, I assists individuals develop a well thought out plan that will provide the personal marketing tools guaranteed to serve you for a lifetime. You could think of me as a skilled woodcarver, who takes a piece of raw lumber or driftwood and carefully uncovers its hidden beauty and polishes it to perfection. Each piece is beautiful and unique. That’s how I see you.

Just like branding a product, when your personal brand is powerful, you are perceived to be more desirable and “in demand.”

Before you sell anything – you sell U first!



Large, successful companies understand the power that branding gives their products. They spend a lot of time, money and energy to create a brand that is eye catching and appealing enough to sell the product through to market. They want the buyer to feel a strong connection with that brand.


Who’s buying U? How much time, money and energy have you spent in developing a personal brand that is unique enough to sell through to your market – your buyer?

Chances are you haven’t even given it a thought, right?  Perhaps, like many of my clients, you dismissed personal branding as frivolous and unnecessary until, like they did, you hit a brick wall and no one is buying you, your product or service?

An individual who has a well-defined personal brand has more success and a tremendous advantage over the competition in the market place.  When you are well branded you are pre-sold, giving you a huge advantage over others selling themselves.

Let me tell you a short story about a woman I met recently while attending a social networking function. She seemed pleasant enough when she introduced herself and began to chat.  I immediately sized her up and decided by her out of date clothes (at least by 15 years), her badly scuffed shoes, lack of make up and long stringy hair that she was probably not in business. To my surprise she was a lawyer and yes, she was attending the event in the hopes of attracting business. Unfortunately, she had absolutely no idea how negatively she was being perceived, or what her image was saying about her ability and professionalism.


We all make snap judgments about others in the first 10 seconds. YES – 10 SECONDS!

I did the same thing when I decided that this poorly packaged, out of date woman was not someone I would be interested in. She didn’t know that her personal brand was her most valuable asset…sad to say she had ignored it completely.

As a personal brand expert, I am being hired by individuals who want to be more “saleable” – more attractive and attracting. The hallmarks of successful individuals are their confidence, manners and poise. It’s not acceptable to dress inappropriately or choose the wrong fork during a business lunch or dinner.

Today, even though everything appears casual (sometimes to the extreme) we still need to know the rules of the game.  There is a return to formality, elegance, manners and sophistication. It’s evident in what is happening all around us. People are getting dressed up again and fine dining is on the rise. People are entertaining clients and being entertained.

In my experience that when individuals understand the perception other people have about them they will make the changes necessary to communicate more effectively and work on developing a more attractive personal brand.

We all know that when we look good we feel good! It’s only natural that we will attract more of what we want in our lives.

It’s the packaging that helps sell the Porsche!


Shannon Smith, VP Personal Branding. BrandEQ Group