What is YOUR Image?

The road to your personal success is a life-long journey.  Daughter, sister, aunt, friend, wife, mother, business woman.   It doesn’t matter what shape you are, what color you are, what profession you have chosen.  What matters

Sally Rutledge-Ott, ACE, NFPC

Sally Rutledge-Ott, ACE, NFPC

is that you are passionate about your life.  That you find happiness in your “authentic” self.  Without that, no success can be achieved.

Sally Rutledge Ott, ACE, NFPC 


Through the over 25 years that I have been training and facilitating businesses and not-for-profit organizations with their strategic planning, marketing communications plans, staff and board development, and member/customer sales plans, I have found a common denominator: Not nearly enough passion for what they do or who they serve!

Now, I realize that you don’t need to be ‘over the top’ with excitement every day, but strong customer/client support coupled with a true and honest approach will begin to create loyalty again.  What or who really are you loyal to any more other than your family or friends?  Case in point: You go into a retail store — any store — and you do not have a good experience with customer assistance.  As an intelligent being, you have the choice to not go back.  You also have the choice to tell everyone you know about your negative experience.  It’s time for businesses to begin loyalty programs again!  It’s easy and inexpensive to do.  I just do not know why it’s not done by every business, every day!

Branding & Image:  The term “branding” started to identify one person’s cattle from another, so this is not new terminology!  It has evolved from cattle to people.  Brand equity has nothing to do with cash, real estate, inventory or any other tangible assets.  It’s about your relevance to your customers.  It’s about transforming each of our little corner of the world into something amazing!  It’s about finding your MOJO.  It’s about putting your own personality “out there” and creating something memorable.  Brands must stand for something and have clear vision.

Identifying Your Brand:  This can be difficult if you don’t have clear vision!  So, what are you an expert in?  How do you blend that with your business?  You interject your personality into as many aspects of your business as possible.  It’s about your authentic self.  People will see right through you if you try to be something you’re not!  Your personal brand (authentic self) must be dovetailed into your business.  Examples:  Use your own products and know them inside and out.  Sell Mary Kay?  Then wear Mary Kay.  Wear your product.  Make jewelry?  Then wear your jewelry.  In other words, be your business!

Your image or brand is what other people perceive you to be.  Strong, assertive, weak, passionate, indecisive, leader, follower, friendly, snob, and the list goes on and on.  Perception is the truest form of reality.  At least that’s what other people think about you.  If you can only make one first impression, then that first impression must be authentic.  Let’s think about product image or brand for a moment.  If you want a tissue, do you ask for a tissue or do you ask for a Kleenex?  When is the last time you asked for a “Puff”?  How about soda?  Do you ask for a Shasta or a Coke?  Cotton swab or Q-Tip?  Exactly!  Spending time on creating your image or brand is extremely relevant to your career.  Brand awareness is a billion dollar industry.  Is it time for you to have an image make-over?  Are you comfortable with the impression you have on others?  It’s not about creating a false image.  It’s about being authentic.  That’s what people will remember.

“Brand Love”.  Heard of it?  You will.  It’s the new buzz words for branding — both commercially and personally.  If you truly LOVE a brand, you will stick with it.  That creates a “tribe” of loyal customers/clients.  That love comes in different ways.  Think about it for a minute.  Who are you loyal to?  Is it really a brand or the experience you had with that brand or business?  Probably a bit of both.  Defining your image, your brand, is highly important.  Knowing your niche market is highly important.  No, you really don’t appeal to everyone so understand that at the beginning!  Define, focus, attain, market.