The lines between what is office appropriate and what isn’t have blurred since the pandemic. But how far can you go when you’re pulled back into the hybrid office?
You need to ask yourself, when people see you, what ideas pop up into their heads? Will they take you seriously if you’re wearing a cap with your favorite team’s logo on the front? You couldn’t have done it pre-pandemic in corporate America. But what about now?
Well it depends on the cap.
What about the baseball style cap worn by Logan Roy in the hit show, Succession. Roy’s hat appears ordinary. It doesn’t even appear to have a logo. (Of course, there is a logo, an almost invisible one.) As some fanatic viewers have pointed out, if you have a high-def television, you might observe the cashmere texture and hint of a logo.
The appeal of the cap is that it is so elite that only savvy One Percenters can even recognize that it’s no ordinary baseball cap. It’s a $625 cap made with luxurious baby cashmere by the elite Italian brand Loro Piana, owned by the luxury brand LVMH.
The cap is an example of quiet branding, a coded signifier of elite status and being in the know.
Al the WSJ points out in its article, “Cool, Casual” (August 12-13, 2023) the rules are different depending on the setting and where you stand in the hierarchy. The juniors “might get handslapped for a cap, though a partner can put one off with impunity. It’s the same with a director on a film can wear one – it’s a power move, but if you’re the intern, it’s not gonna fly.”
What do your sartorial choices say about you?
In the new world of work, you’ll need to carefully consider your positioning – your differentiator – the unique power you bring to a business situation and why it matters.
And now, for a limited time through April 30, you’ll be able to get the e-book, The New Brand You: How to Wow in the New World of Work, for just $1.99.
Here’s what you’ll get out of the book:
You’ll learn the top ten positioning strategies used by big brands and how to apply them to the most important brand you’ll ever market, Brand You.
You can access the book’s online Personal Brand Finder assessment test.
You’ll learn the importance of visibility in the new world of work and how to be top of mind when you work remotely.
You’ll be able to draft your differentiator and a game plan for success.
“In short, “The New Brand You” will show you how to take on the world with your power brand.
I’ll tell you why I like mavericks, they are hard to predict, and a continuous source of surprise and breaking news. Today, Kyrsten Sinema didn’t disappoint. She got everyone’s attention when she announced that she is leaving the Democratic party and becoming an independent.
Here’s what she said in her written announcement:
“We [Arizonans] make our own decisions, using our own judgment, and lived experiences to form our beliefs. We don’t line up to do what we’re told, automatically subscribe to whatever opinions the national political parties dictate or view every issue through labels that divide us.”
As much as business titans, political leaders, and celebrities are part of the mythology of this country, so are mavericks. (Think Tom Cruise as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick.)
We have a soft spot for the rebel—the lone defiers of convention, the irreverent ones who don’t follow the rules but accomplish remarkable things, the outliers who cut their own path and succeed.
If you’ve got the chutzpay to go against the crowd, positioning yourself as a maverick can be a powerful positioning strategy for you too.
Maverick positioning is one of the top ten personal brand positioning strategies I discuss in my new book, The New Brand You: How to Wow in the New World of Work.
Executing this personal brand positioning is simplicity itself: Everything the traditional leader stands for in your industry, you are the opposite (within reason).
It’s easy to follow what everyone else is doing. Like Sinema, you don’t believe that
success comes from doing the expected.
Look at the culture on Capitol Hill where Sinema “works.” It is a place known for its traditions, rules and protocols. The women usually dress for subtlety. It was not a place for mavericks in eyebrow-raising clothes, until Sinema, came along.
She likes to stand out. At her Senate searing in, she was reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe with her platinum curls and stilettos.
She’s a free thinker and not a fan of convention, either in clothes, hairstyles or following along party lines on Democratic initiatives. Now she won’t have to do that.
It will be interesting to see how her maverick antics play out when she’s up for re-election in 2024. But as a maverick, she is hardwired for challenge, the more ambitious the better.
Marketers often think in terms of “owning a word” like Google and “search,” Amazon and “e-commerce” and Volvo and “safety.”
Owning a word helps a brand dominate a category, so when you think of the word, you think of the brand, and when you think of the brand, you think of the word.
Who do you think of with the word, “duty.”
Queen Elizabeth II, of course.
Queen Elizabeth II achieved something rare for a person. She came to be recognized as an icon in her lifetime – a personal brand dedicated to duty her entire life
She stood out as a symbol of duty for over seventy years in a changing world. But that’s not to say that she was all duty and no fun. She parachuted into the Olympic Stadium in London in 2012 with James Bond (Daniel Craig) and launched her Platinum Jubilee Celebration with a video with Paddington Bear.
Queen Elizabeth II understood the importance of humanizing her role as a queen with humor.
While gray hair for men in the office often brands you as the wise sage who brings gravitas and experience to a meeting, gray hair (and age) is rarely an asset for women.
In her Washington Post opinion piece, “Thank You, Miss Clairol, columnist Ruth Marcus tells the story of Lisa LaFlamme, 58, the anchor of Canada’s most-watched nightly news show. LaFlamme was sacked after 35 years with the CTV network and replaced by a 39-year-old man. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/08/23/lisa-laflamme-gray-hair-workplace-sexism/
According to reports, La Flamme, like many women, decided to go gray during the pandemic. Her new boss reportedly asked, “who approved the decision to let Lisa’s hair go gray?”
Really? Does an adult woman need permission to go natural?
Fair or not, the reality in study after study is that women are under more scrutiny in terms of how they look. Appearance counts more for women and age hurts women more than men in how they are viewed. That’s why Ruth Marcos colors her hair (as do I).
It reminds me of a remark by Dee Dee Myers, the first female presidential press secretary: “People can’t hear a word that a woman says until they decide if they like her hairstyle or not.”
During the pandemic and the rise of remote and virtual working, I started talking to clients, colleagues, and friends about how all of these changes would affect us in the long term. In many ways, the pandemic accelerated trends already happening – the shift to a more remote, digital and virtual workplace, a less hierarchical organizational structure, and a realignment of industries fueled by new technologies.
As I talked to more people, I started working on a book, The New Brand You: How to Wow in the New World of Work that will come out in the fall. You can preorder here.
So far the office wars are continuing over remote vs hybrid vs in-office. Many workers are digging in their heels about remote working and they have the upper hand due to the job shortage. Many corporate bosses are hoping the old way of working together in an office comes back in full force in the fall.
Wall Street Journal columnist, Peggy Noonan, makes a compelling argument about the importance of working together for both organizational and national culture. “I don’t want America to look like an Edward Hopper painting,” in an article titled, “The Lonely Office is Bad for America”
No one knows for sure how the office wars will end. But one thing, I believe is certain, you will have to be an adept marketer of Brand You in the new world of work.
Good-bye to the superiority of the clean-shaven face. Beards have the advantage according to a study by behavioral psychologist Sarah Mittal published in the WSJ on July 29, 2022: https://www.wsj.com/articles/beards-sales-marketing-research-11658425250?mod=hp_jr_pos2 The study was originally published in The Journal of Business Research, August 2021
Men with beards scored 10.6% higher in “expertise” and 11.6% higher for “trustworthiness” compared to a clean-shaven salesperson.
It’s the power of visual identity, which I discuss in my new book, The New Brand You, coming out in the fall of 2022. (You can preorder at: https://www.amazon.com/New-Brand-You-World-Work/dp/1399804065/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3MPQ50IVIOI4K&keywords=9781399804066&qid=1653313554&sprefix=9781399804066%2Caps%2C52&sr=8-1
Visual identity is particularly potent in first impressions. Surprisingly it only takes a person only a few seconds to assess you based on how you look. As Dr. Mittal who conducted the beard study pointed out, “we immediately use visual cues to assess whether we think they know what they are doing…and if we should trust them.”
The United States is becoming a nation of viewers not readers. And it’s not all bad.
According to one study, people remember 95% of a video message but only 10% of a text message.
The best place to tap into the power of video is on YouTube. It is the second largest search engine after Google with two billion active viewers. By 2022, online videos are predicted to be more than 82% of consumer traffic.
Plus, YouTube is a trusted link, so people are comfortable clicking on it.
Best of all, creating a YouTube Channel that reflects your brand is free.
It’s versatile, so you can have a consistent brand look across channels: website, blog, email, social media, YouTube channel.
If you have a small business or side hussle, don’t think you need to have high production values. Videos on a smart phone have the same potential to be effective, maybe even more so if you’re authentic and reveal your personality.
Best Speaker. Best Message. Best Outfit at the Inauguration 2021
Not just her poem, “The Hill We Climb” had a powerful message, so did her fashion. Her iconic coat was a nod to Jill Biden who invited her, and her ring in the shape of a caged bird, a nod to Maya Angelou. Fashion “it’s my way to lean into the history that came before me and all the people supporting me” (January Vogue interview).
The December 11, 2020 Op Ed by Joseph Epstein, “Is There a Doctor in the House, Not if You Need an M.D reads like a female put-down. Seems like Epstein and the WSJ need a doctor, a spin doctor, to dig themselves out of this misogynistic mess. Jill Biden should be admired for her achievements and commitment to her career as a “working” first lady, rather than mocked for calling herself Dr.Biden and her Ed.D. dissertation titled mocked.