The Red Carpet: The Ultimate Branding Zone

Taylor Swift in Gucci 'a Career Changing Look'
Taylor Swift in Gucci ‘a Career Changing Look’

Got the dress? Check.  Fabulous shoes?  Check.  Manicure? Check.  Jewels from Cartier? (Well, maybe not) Now, walk like you’ve never walked before, because this is your moment to shine right?  Well, it’s also the moment to solidify your brand, if you aren’t already a household name, the glamour walk on the red carpet is no longer just for fashion’s sake: its a branding statement that will make or break a career.  What makes awards season so unique in the world of personal brands, is that you can clearly see a branding story that takes place (good or bad) and it is much more than just fashion.

The most successful brands in the world don’t behave like commodities and neither should you. A great brand story will make you stand out, increase brand awareness, create customer loyalty and power profits. Isn’t it time to gave your customers a story to tell?”  (*”the story of telling”)  This quote struck me as I am often asked to help people with their personal style, having been a wardrobe supervisor for years in Hollywood.  Clients are always surprised when I ask them who their audience will be. “Why do you need to know this?”,  they ask. Well, to be memorable, you are going to have to create a story that is authentic to you and will ultimately lead to your ‘look’ or ‘personal style’ that tells people about you.  Of course, your audience will also want to relate to you too. So, you are ideally serving up your ‘look’ directly to the audience that understands you best.  Does it pay to be ‘fashionable’ or should you go your own path?

I tell my clients that being “on target” with specific trends that you can “make your own” is usually the best way to respond to the huge variety of style opinions that are out there.   Of course, this is important for actors and actresses, but also, the rest of us folks have to take this into account when looking for a job, finding a mate, and just being happy with ourselves.  Anna Wintour, in the recent documentary film about VOGUE magazine stated that fashion magazines are no longer in a place to be a ‘dictator’ when it comes to ‘fashion’ they are just there for inspiration or reportage about points of view from the designers.  This leaves most of us completely overwhelmed as there are simply too many points of view coming at us on a regular basis. 

Having a story for yourself, is one way to get through the clutter.  Now, I should mention here that one of the traps everyone gets into, is that their story might come from the past when they were at their prime or favorite age.  We’ve all seen those people who dress like a high school cheerleader,  a geek, a faux british rocker, a raver or mini “Michael Keaton from “Family Ties”. This is a human instinct;  to connect with a group of approving peers who dictates our style of dress so that we fit into the tribe. At this point, I recommend the Three R’s of Personal Style:  “Review, Refresh & Renew”  and you’ll get back on track to a place that makes sense.   Now, I am rather skeptical of when the magazine says  “Dress your Age” so I stick to Coco’s opinion, that “Style Never Changes, only Fashion, does”.