Ok, I admit it: I’m a big faker!

Well – I would say that’s a little bit of an over-admission.

But it got your attention, didn’t it?

Actually, I’m talking about my profile picture. I use it on my website, my Twitter profile and any time someone asks for a photo of me. But… and here’s the big but (and why I could be accused of being a faker), that picture was taken over two years ago – could be nearer to three. I don’t really look like that now (one pregnancy and a sedentary life of running my own business later); I look a bit different.

Alex Stone - Owner & Founder of Just Too Busy

If I’m completely honest, I never really look like that picture – well not on a daily basis anyway. (Here it is by the way!) That picture is the result of winning a makeover and photo shoot in London and a fair bit of airbrushing if I remember correctly!

So if I don’t look like my picture – I mean I DO look like it – but I never really look like THAT – WHY do I use it?

WHY????????????

Because I LOVE it! It’s the best of the best of all pictures ever taken of me (or I should say ‘airbrushed’ of me) and I don’t think I look too bad in it. OK, possibly a little bit of a smug look on my face – it’s not meant to be there – I wasn’t feeling smug at the time – and anyone who knows me will tell you I’m anything but smug – but there you go I can live with that one flaw in the picture.

So I use this picture for all my professional stuff (and by stuff I really mean to use the more professional term of Marketing and Promotional Collateral). But… and here I finally get to my point… if I don’t really look like that on a daily basis – why do I use this picture to represent myself on a daily basis in my business?

No it’s not just about pride – and like the smug thing I’m not really a very proud (or precious) person – but it IS about brand, it IS about perception and it IS about impressions.

It’s ALL about image – it’s ALL about Brand

This picture makes me look good. It makes me look smart, professional, competent – all those positive descriptors and associations we want to have with our business and ourselves. (Or at least I think it does.) And despite the make-up, the lighting, the airbrushing etc etc – I did actually look like that when the picture was taken. I CAN actually look like that – just not right now and just not most days when I’m in my home office.

So am I a faker?

Or am I just using my best picture to promote my personal and business brand? You see (according to what I’m told) I am very good at what I do. I am fun to work with and I “know my stuff”. I’m not perfect and I DO make mistakes. (Who doesn’t? I’m not a robot and I’m not selling accuracy, I’m selling creativity and marketing.) But when all is said and done if you come to me for small business marketing help, creative ideas and inspiration as well as some of the more practical sides of marketing implementation (copywriting, design etc), I would say I kinda am an expert.

But when perusing my website or looking at my Twitter profile – if I used a picture of what I look like every single day (no make-up, hair up and casual clothes) then you might not think I was as good as I say I am or as good as my ‘awesome’ picture might imply. And you know what? I wish I could use an every day picture – I don’t like the fact that people would  judge my ability on the way I look – but the truth is, and I won’t say sad fact, I won’t say surprisingly, because it’s not – it’s just the way it is: people DO judge me – and you – on the way we look.

Impression or Judgement?

They shouldn’t, but they do. And I do it too. So the way you present yourself in person and by photo has an impact and an impression on people. Like it or not; and I don’t like it predominantly because I haven’t got the time or inclination to wear make up, do my hair or dress ultra-smart every day as I have more important things to do like working with clients; it’s a fact that your personal image is part of your business brand.

Just how much a part is a topic for another post and another day, but it is a part. And as someone who loves branding, marketing branding, I know this and understand it and hence I take the opportunity to show you the very best side of myself through my profile pic so that you have the very best impression of me you could have and then what I, and my team, deliver actually backs it up.

I would actually prefer to be brave (and confident) enough to let people see me as I really am every day: just an ordinary, presently overweight, mother of two, businesswoman – with no make-up or airbrushing anywhere in sight – who is totally awesome at what she does and can, when she has the time and inclination, look pretty nice too!

And NO – I’m not going to change my profile pic. IF you do meet me in person then you can have a good chuckle and remember this post. And regardless of what I look like on that particular day, even if I am wearing a bag over my head (and sometimes I feel like doing that!), I am good, really good, at what I do. And I LOVE what I do (but not what I look like). 🙂