Do you need to look amazing for publicity?
People often ask me if it matters what you look like, when it comes to getting publicity for your business. Okay! This is a biggie for a lot of people. Many of my clients tell me that it is so big for them that it has put them off getting publicity at all! Some of them feel very frustrated even just thinking about it!
So what is the truth?
Does it make any difference what you look like?
The answer is not a simple one, there are many factors that you need to be aware of.
Television, newspapers and magazines are all visual media, and this means that yes, people will notice what you look like and this will undoubtedly influence the way that they respond to you. It is also true that most of the magazine and newspaper editors that I have met and worked for are strongly biased in favour of visually appealing people. And I double checked for this blog post, they all agreed that the visual image that you present them with will often be more important than the story.
But just because editors and producers tend to like people who are pretty does not mean that your customers will! Sometimes, in fact quite often people who are too ‘groomed’ can come off as false, slick, untrustworthy or not likeable and even as dumb! Think about it. Perhaps you have experienced an unconscious bias in your own reactions to people who look too good? And we all remember Susan Boyle not just because of her amazing singing voice but also because she didn’t look the part of a pop star. Sometimes, looking unusual and different is what will help you to stand out from the crowd. In the case of my partner Shane Mac Gowan, his unusual appearance helped his band The Pogues to get noticed, and nobody ever accused Shane of being either handsome or well groomed!
Women, more than men are accustomed to being judged not only on what we naturally look like but also on how much energy we put into enhancing our visual appeal with make-up, hair extensions, fake tan, cosmetic procedures, clothing etc etc. So we are often judged more harshly for either making too much effort or not enough effort!
What does this mean for you as a business owner, trying to get your work out to the world?
The first thing to remember is that you do not need to appeal to everyone in the world, you only need to appeal to your customers. And you know best what kind of message you are intending to give people when you present yourself and your business. Do you want to say ‘I am very conservative?” In that case stick to very conventional clothes, make-up and hair. Do you want to say ‘I am quirky, independent and a free thinker?” Let your look reflect that!
Knowing a bit about your customers and their buying style will be very helpful here. Think about some of your previous customers and if you don’t yet have any customers, think about the people that you would ideally like to be selling to. I know from my customers that they tend to appreciate that I don’t wear a business suit and that I like bright colours and unusual styles, because they often comment on my style. This does not mean that I have to try and dress for them, it means that the people who ‘get’ me tend to also get my visual style.
If you do already have customers, you can simply ask them if they are influenced by what you look like. If they are not likely to tell the truth about that, ask them what they think about the importance of appearance generally when it comes to promoting a business.
You may get some clues this way, but you may get even more clues by checking their activity on social media. Who do they follow and like? Are these people super glam or are they average? Does it look like your customers truly want glamour or do they prefer authenticity?
The next thing to remember is that the amount that your looks will influence your customers depends a lot on what you are selling. Is it a beauty/fashion product? If it is not, if it is a service or a food or furniture or hotels or indeed anything that is not specifically ‘beauty’ related, you will find that looking happy, healthy and wholesome while wearing something that suits you and lets you feel good about yourself will communicate the message that you are not trying too hard, that you are authentic and that you are trustworthy, which will go a long way towards influencing your customer in a positive way!
- Look at your own reactions to other people’s visual image. Do you tend to judge and criticise anyone who is not smart and groomed or do you simply not notice?
- Look at the reactions of your ‘tribe’ and your ideal customers
- Ask people you know what message they get about you and your values from the way that you present yourself.
- Notice what they actually do and say, not just what they say they think
- Look at your competitors, how do they present themselves?
- Notice the visual style of publications and shows that you like. Are you more into hipster/high fashion/Vogue or are you more into high street/traditional/Hello?
- It will feel more natural for you when you are truly reflecting your own personality. And if it worked for Mark Zuckerberg to wear a grey t shirt every day, there is no reason why your own preference can’t work for you!
- Whatever Nature and your parents gave you looks-wise, a great hairdresser, makeup artist, photographer and stylist can always help you to make the most of what you already have to maximise your impact and get you looking your absolute best. If I am having a bad hair day, I like to ask James Brown (Kate Moss’s best friend and long term hairdresser) for advice. Likewise, my good friend Dragana Jurisic is an incredibly good photographer who always makes me look really great. Or at least feel great about the pictures! I used to be very self conscious about my teeth, so i was reluctant to smile, but when I got my teeth fixed I became more confident and now I smile a lot in photos.
- Some of my clients like to take the time to put together their own team who can give them their very best look, and I love to help out with that!
- If you haven’t already been on television, it helps to have a practice session just so you know how you will come across and to prevent you from getting distracted by seeing yourself on the monitors.
- Your energy, enthusiasm, passion for your subject and sense of humour will make audiences warm to you far more than your manicure! Remember the Hairy Bikers? The Two Fat Ladies? You definitely don’t have to be conventionally attractive to be popular in the media!
- And remember that you can schedule a FREE call with me to see if I can help you to get yourself out there! http://bit.ly/VMCcall