The Importance of Image

In a recent FT article on The Importance of Image (registration may be required), image consultant Snjezana Maclean said: “The corporate world has become very presentation-orientated, so all of us are performers. We have to be ready in an instant to perform in presentations, so you want to be sure that what you wear represents you well.” How successful you become is mostly up to you. However, according to Business Insider, success also plays a part in how you’re perceived by others. Putting together a physical attribute list, Business Insider revealed that physical qualities such as smiling a lot, being blond, having good posture and having a symmetrical face would mean you’re more likely to receive an above average pay cheque. Can this really be all it takes to be successful? Certainly, a person’s dress sense is something that we all notice straight away, whether consciously or sub-consciously, and it often reflects an individual’s personality. This is true for some of our most famous entrepreneurs. In this post we’ll take a look at three entrepreneurs and consider their attitudes to dress codes. Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has a very relaxed take on a dress code, which highlights the current trend in digital industries for the ‘smart casual’ look. Lamas Beauty.com believes that you should design an image that allows you to get noticed in a professional way, has Mark Zuckerberg done just that? Although this entrepreneur’s image is especially easy-going, this fact alone makes him stand out from the crowd. His look is overtly dressed down, and while it endears him to many, it causes ridicule amongst others. Whether you like it or loathe it, Zuckerberg is testament to

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the fact that being on the worst dressed lists won’t stop you achieving the seemingly impossible –becoming the youngest ever billionaire. Whereas Zuckerberg favours the plain T-shirt, Sir Richard Branson can often be seen teaming his jeans with a shirt and blazer instead. Is it his blond hair and big grin that has added to his substantial success over the years or is it partly down to the way he dresses?   Adaptability has been a hallmark of Sir Richard Branson’s career, a trait that is reflected in his image and dress sense. His clothing choices have helped in successfully marrying his personal image with his brand – it’s also proven to shift media coverage in his favour. After a major incident with Virgin Trains, Richard Branson rushed to the scene straight from home, rather than wasting time dressing for the part of CEO in a suit –

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something that gave him a lot of credit in the days that followed. James Dyson, the founder of Dyson, is a great example of substance over style, frequently seen to be dressing down for press days and meetings, reminding everyone – deliberately or not – that he’s an engineer. In fact, many images of him show him with his inventions, keeping him closely linked to his company and his achievements, and taking the attention firmly away from his clothing choices. These three men clearly show that if you work within the creative industries, a conventional suit and tie may be the wrong look nowadays, as the trend for more casual dress is apparent. However, it comes down to tailoring your look for the business or occasion, rather than simply picking a style and sticking to it; even Mark Zuckerberg might wear a suit if the occasion calls for it!

Which do you feel is more important: substance or style? Is it fair that important business decisions are invariably influenced by the way people look?  

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