Thursday, December 18, 2008

Managing the Identity We Project

Anyone who has been following the news has probably read of the most recently successful first-of-its-kind operation at the Cleveland Clinic on a woman who had suffered severe facial trauma. The woman who is NOT being identified, got essentially a whole new face. Dr. Maria Siemionow who performed the successful surgery commented in her press conference that her patient needed "a new face to face the world." Unlike other parts of our body which can be covered up, the face is the unmistakable flagship product of our brand. No wonder products for the face abound!

The face might as well bear the American Express tag line: "don't leave home without it!" What steps can we take to preserve the face we have? Finding and using good skincare products from an early age, good nutrition, adequate sleep, and yes, pints of hydration. If we also remember that other life stage issues and daily stresses will affect the face we wake up to everyday, we are part of the way there.

In life stages, the face of a preteen is more often than not responding to unique hormonal challenges of impending puberty. Then there is teenage acne which with proper care may take leave to return to the unsuspecting woman in their childbearing years due to hormonal excesses. During menopause, the skin may yet again present some hormonally induced challenges.
Some daily stresses that may affect our skin may include climate changes, events in our lives and inadequate sleep.

Often, we do not have control over some of the antecedents of poor skincare. No one can choose to skip a life stage to avoid acne or other skin irritations. Some of what we can control include: what foods to avoid that may cause our skin to break out; what regimen to follow to minimize outbreak; and making hydration an intricate part of our daily routine. When we have done all this we can then sit back and be confident in knowing that we did everything to manage the identity we project!

Next time, I will examine how teens can start a regimen to manage their skin.

Monday, December 15, 2008

What is your brand?

Most people don't spend any amount of time comparing themselves to brands. When we can spare the time, branding for most individuals centers around other people's perception of them. For some people, creating a brand image can be an uphill battle because they did not make a good impression the first time around - hence the saying that "you never get a second chance to make a good impression." What does this mean for all of us in this global climate of people "dying to look good?" If you take care of what you have been blessed with naturally, you will have very little use for extreme measures.

Historically, females have been portrayed as the gender most preoccupied with appearances. One of the arguments advanced to support this theory include the instant aging privileges that child bearing confers on females who bear children. At the same time, very little is said to detract from the comportment of a male at any age. Although not as a direct consequence, there has been a tendency over time for women to be more conscious of their images, but not necessarily conscious of their brand. A brand includes both image and identity. Whereas image is an intangible abstract concept in the sense that it has everything to do with other people's perception of you, your identity is a tad more tangible, and you have the power to influence the identity you project. Some of the ways you can influence your identity are tied to your grooming and how you package yourself.

Packaging is another concept that is intricately linked to branding. The reason most people will reach out for the branded item in the store instead of the generic rendition
is packaging. Invariably, the buyer may be aware that both the generic and brand name version of the product do the same thing and have the same ingredients, most will opt for the brand name version. Whether you choose an Infinity or a Nissan, may largely depend on your visual plateau. How then do you know why another candidate for a job interview was picked over you? Do you know if it was based on how they packaged themselves for the interview? Probably not. Next time I will go into how we can best capitalize on the identity we project.