Don’t Be a Wallflower: 3 Ways to Heat Up Your Personal Brand

UPDATED: October 12, 2015
PUBLISHED: February 27, 2015

Nobody wants a wallflower. I hate to break it you, but it’s true.

The vocal minority may complain when somebody really pushes the boundaries, but in all honesty, people want to have their world shaken up a bit. They want their buttons pressed. People want to stand up and take notice, and be wowed by what they see.

But this has nothing to do with outward aesthetic traits like having Ryan Gosling abs or a Kim Kardashian posterior. They don’t have to be the most talented, the wealthiest or the funniest. It’s not about being ridiculously perfect or desperately fabulous. It’s none of these things. 

What it is about is doing your best with the tools you’ve got to work with. It’s about knowing what your covetable qualities are, dressing them up and wheeling them out there for the world to see. It’s about throwing the bash of all bashes and inviting your audience to the event that is you. It’s about orchestrating a parade around you and marching down the street, business baton in hand.

If the metaphors are still lost on you, I’m talking about the relationship between you, your business or career and your personal brand. How you put your brand out there can make or break what you are actually saying about yourself. Every word, image, idea, opinion—in other words, content you create— needs to be completely synced up with who you say you are, what you do and the mythology you are creating around yourself.

Here are three tips to dress up your brand so you don’t fade into the woodwork:

1. Provoke, don’t manipulate

Provocative branding comes from a place of truth, whereas manipulation comes from a place of telling people what they want to hear.

Stop trying to mimic what other people or brands are saying or how they are saying it. We all have our own powerful authentic voice, where our passion and opinion come from. This is the place where you should speak from. When it’s revealing yet real, people can smell it. So bust out the Chanel No. 5 and speak your truth.

2. Create engaging imagery and words.

When I say engaging, I mean sexy. Consumers are motivated to click on something by curiosity or desire. People can be sexy, but so can images, designs and ideas.

What content will they bend over backward to get their hands on? Know what makes your audience drool and hit it.

3. Don’t give away the store.

Be demure. Keep it short and sweet, simple and digestible. There’s no need for a floorshow.

I’ve seen more good posts and content ruined by too much gilding of the lily. Too many words, too many pictures that actually dilute the brand you are trying to build. Sometimes a little black dress says it all. So leave the sequins, tassels and animal prints at home.

Dressing up your brand is about being targeted and consistent. You wouldn’t show up for a date in your I’m-going-to-run-out-and-grab-some-toilet-paper outfit, so why would you be so complacent online? This is your date with destiny—dress for the occasion.

Personal branding isn’t something you try on just when the spirit moves you—it’s a 24-hour gig. It requires commitment and needs to be ever-present in the myriad of ways you present yourself and your work. It requires honesty, connection to self, and, I’m just going to say it… balls.

So build a personal brand that’s to die for—because a wallflower is never going to make the best-dressed list.

Look at Madonna. She rocked the world with her personal brand. See how she crafted a mythology around herself—and how it’s evolved since her start.

Timothi Jane Graham is a personal branding specialist, photographer and copywriter. She travels the world working closely with entrepreneurs and business leaders to reimagine and sculpt their business and personal brands. Timothi has spent more than two decades working in the realms of image branding, advertising and network television. Her articles have been featured in The Huffington Post, YFS Magazine and MindBodyGreen.