I speak to many groups about branding here in Pennsylvania and other parts of the country as I help them optimize the image that they want to project. A person in the public eye who serves as an excellent role model is the great and powerful Dr. Oz, adviser to the masses about good health and a good life. Yes, he is an Ivy League-educated physician PLUS a Wharton M.B.A. AND he has performed thousands of cardiothoracic surgical procedures at New York City’s prestigious Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. But those characteristics are not nearly as obvious as the others he visibly presents, including:
- HIS DRESS — I usually see him in his scrubs or similar “doctor” garb. Calculating? Yes, of course; I doubt that he has rushed to every TV appearance from the OR. However, there is also no mistaking that he is a physician, just as Bruce Springsteen must dress like a rock star (usually in black), or David Copperfield must look as mysterious as a magician should.
- HIS PHYSIQUE — Oz’s fitness is the bane of all the rest of us middle-aged guys. At 51, he looks as much as a decade younger, trim, flexible and vibrant. He represents his own advice, much as the late, great exercise advocate Jack LaLanne did, even as he lived into his 90s.
- HIS BEHAVIOR — Upon greeting a reporter from Success magazine, Oz offered him cashews from a bag he carries with him. Do you keep a bag of nuts or another healthy snack with you at all times? You do when you are trying to be the living embodiment of good health.
- HIS PERSONAL LIFESTYLE — Oz professes that to live a long, healthy life, one must personal relationships.He is frequently photographed with his beautiful family of a wife, three daughters and a son. Together, they look like they came out of central casting (a compliment), also reinforcing his message of health and happiness.
So what is the image you are projecting? If you are gifted with your hands and work a manual craft, do you present yourself to customers as someone who is ready to tackle a tough job or as someone who just stepped out of a Lands End catalog? (Look to Dirty Jobs’ Mike Rowe as a good example of credibility in this case.) If you are a financial adviser, do you look successful yourself?
A friend contacted me recently literally minutes I had updated my LinkedIn profile because I had left an unusual number of typos. “Bad image for a professional communicator, Pat,” she emailed me. Branding is a complete job, and it requires attention to a number of details. Heed them all.