You often read in my articles or listen to me saying, “We need to harmonize form and substance”.
What do I mean by this statement?
This statement, if decontextualized, may in fact give rise to such a profusion of considerations and reflections that one can get lost.
I restrict the scope and interpret this concept in the light of Personal Branding and therefore of the consistent management of our image, that is, the set of contents and visuals (photos, video, etc.).
I have often pointed out how our image, translated into a “look”, needs to be aligned with our personality, with our own style, in order to truly represent us and to express our real Identity.
As an Image Consultant, I pointed out what should be the path to follow to achieve this goal.
It is not just the perfect photo that captures our outward appearance to tell the world who we are.
The photo allows people to get an idea, to make a first impression (whether good or bad …), but it is fundamental that our portrait is in harmony with what we claim to be.
That is why we should pay close attention to the contents as well.
When we work on the publishing of our site, write articles for our blog or create posts on our social profiles, we must never forget that even the words and the tone we use tell a lot about us and there is nothing worse than generating dissonance between the text and the images.
It creates disorientation, confusion, but above all disappointment in the interlocutor who immediately perceives you as scarcely credible.
I always make two very simple examples during my workshops in the company.
Let us think about LinkedIn.
Let us imagine the profile of a CEO who has a creditable CV and a commendable career.
The value of this ‘content’ may be made vain if the picture of the profile depicts him perfectly dressed, but on the day of his marriage, 20 years ago.
Conversely, it happens to see perfect profile photos that refer to less-skilled professional figures, such as for example a call center employee.
I do not consider it as a matter of roles, who does what. Each job has its dignity and needs precise skills.
I am just pointing my finger at the consistency between image and content.
Another example, Facebook.
A manager of a Brand that supports animal welfare grants interviews on these topics and such interviews are published on the company’s public profile.
Then on his private profile, he posts a picture of his wife wearing a mink coat.
In this case also there is no alignment.
They seem extreme examples, but I assure you that they are real cases because the risk of making such slip-ups is much more frequent and unexpected than you imagine.
The content must therefore be weighed, worked, intelligently generated. And I deliberately use the word “intelligently” because it is synonymous with something that is first thought and not casually thrown into the web sea. Someone will always read us and this someone will always get an idea of us and inevitably judge us.
Who cares… Some of you may tell.
It is true.
But if you work with the web or you just want to promote your professionality on it, then I am sorry but you cannot ignore the present issue.
Which does not mean to be false, contrived. There must not be a copywriter behind us writing for us or a prompter whispering us the lines to recite.
We need to be authentic, but this truth shall not be the alibi for not paying attention to how we express, how we relate to people.
And all this in the end concerns good education, for example when commenting on social media, command of language, because writing correctly represents the basis, the consistency of what you publish, whether it is our CV on LinkedIn or the story of how we spent our weekend.
Words are important and it is for this reason that each time we use them, we need to do it consciously.
In detail, not by chance we talk, for example, about SEO copywriting. Good website writing – using the correct keywords to write website texts, blog articles, blog posts – helps web pages indexing and consequently helps expanding visibility.
So imagine you have to work on indexing your professionalism or business.
What are the keywords that best represent us?
Finding the right word can have a great deal of power on your own image.
In this regard, let us explore the concept of confirmation bias
Confirmation bias is the tendency to accept evidence that confirms our convictions and refuses the proof that contradicts them.
When you meet someone for the first time and tell them what we do, they will inevitably look at our appearance, our behavior, and the way we are communicating to see if all these information matches with the world to which we say we belong.
If we are coherent, we will have conquered their attention in the end and they will perceive us as credible people; vice versa it will be very difficult to get them change the impression they got of us because the signals we gave them were contradictory.
Every professional environment has keywords related to its reference sector; in the common imagination professionals working in this field must meet the adjectives that characterize and identify them (I am not deliberately talking about stereotypes because it is a very strong concept but for some professions this is just the way it goes!).
If you think about a doctor, the first word that comes to our mind is reliable. A lawyer will be a good speaker, an accountant will be accurate.
Let us suppose to meet one of these professionals for the first time and in the case of the accountant, to be introduced to a messy person, badly dressed, with worn shoes.
What do we think of him? Would we entrust him with our accounting?
If this accountant has promoted his business on the web and his keywords have been ‘precision, care, attention to detail’ you will understand that there is something wrong.
He has missed right keywords or such keywords were right if linked to the stereotype, but they were certainly not related to his person.
If his style is, let us say, naïf perhaps his communication would have been winning if he had used the word ‘creative’ and explained that his mission is to give numbers a less cold and negative connotation and make them more familiar.
Piergiorgio Offredi comes to my mind in this regard.
Identifying your keywords is a tortuous journey especially because you have to do it first inside yourself. Knowing yourself, discovering yourself, revealing yourself first to you and then to the others.
For many individuals it is definitely more instinctive: I am talking about people who have already focused on their talent and potential. Others may need an external guide to accompany them along this path.
You do not need many keywords. Three are enough, but these will have to be part of your mission, communication, life.
They will have to intertwine constantly with our personality, look, behavior and communication mode. They will be our digital fingerprint.