Your personal brand is your promise to the world of the values you represent and the quality of service you provide. 
 
In the information age, personal branding is necessary for the success of any company or individual. Failing to manage personal branding can lead to misinformation about you. Taking control of your public image is no longer an option.  A positive brand is necessary for success as it cements the positive vibes from the message you send across.
 
If you thought life was all about finding yourself in this cruel, harsh world. Stop! You ain’t getting anywhere because life is about creating yourself. Brands are manufactured and created, not found! If I were to ask you to name a coffee brand and a fast food outlet respectively, I’m 100% sure your answers would be the “Golden Arches” and “Mermaid”. Indeed. McDonalds and Starbucks are mega-successful because their branding is solid and has permeated the corridors of our mindshare. When we buy into a brand, we develop loyalty towards it. We patronize their services and products. We recommend it to others. 

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I’m here at the Singapore Management University (SMU) to give a personal branding workshop to entrepreneurs (both business owners and student entrepreneurs) tonight. A public event, I was happy to talk about branding. Clearly one of my pet topics, branding has always been part and parcel of my businesses. Building something from nothing to something and then attracting like-minded people to partake in the same business to make it grow even faster – that in gist is my brand story. 
 
I shared many tips with the audience tonight. Yet the one point I cannot over-emphasis enough is this one. Like it or not, our appearance is a vital part of any brand. Your appearance matters. Remember that first impressions and the way that you dress will affect the way people perceive you and your brand. It is important that your appearance reflects your brand and gives off the image that you want to portray to the public. Taking the time and effort to develop your appearance will greatly improve your brand’s reputation.

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In order to distinguish your brand from others, you need to stand out.  It is important, however, that you are memorable for all the right reasons. No one wants to stand out as the crazy person who lacks social skills and wore two different shoes to a conference.

You need to stand out in positive ways. Let me share 5 simple ways to stand out:
 
• Dress well
• Be confident
• Showcase your personality
• Create your own system for doing things
• Walk the talk

You must remember that rising out of a crowd is a risk. You will be noticed by other people, so make sure that you are noticed for all of your best attributes.
 
In this digital age, it will come across as little surprise how easy it is to just Google someone’s name online to check one out before deciding whether to hire, date or fire! Whether or not you own a business, personal branding is about managing your own name. It’s like keeping your own house in order. Only when your own house is in order can you manage a cluster of houses and an estate. The same reasoning goes. 
 
Always believe in yourself and put your best foot forward. And this starts with a positive personal brand. You are the CEO of your own company – Me INC!

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It’s an increasingly popular trend that I have observed in the recent years and it excites me. I say “bring it on and on and on.” What trend am I talking about? 
 
Ask no further than the four gentlemen who are attending today’s men's grooming workshop. Men are fast learning that it is of utmost important to upkeep their appearance. Very often, our appearance equates to our confidence levels. 

So gentlemen, are you ready? Let me share 5 tips to being a well-dressed guy. 
 

Tip 1: Choose the Right Colours
 
I cannot emphasise enough but knowing which colours look good on you, as opposed to picking colours based on trends or just trying to fit in, is the key to dressing success.
 
If you do not have a good colour sense, then please seek out a certified image consultant with good taste to help you out. Really. 
 
Unfortunately many guys are not good at this. They just pick out a black suit, match a tie to the suit and they call it good, as opposed to picking colours based on what fits them first and foremost. Black – solemn or classic it may appear to be – is not suitable for everyone.


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Tip 2: Pay Attention to The Accessories
 
Women have their branded handbags as their accessories. As men, what do we have? Fret not as we have plenty of accessories too! Pay attention to the details. This includes the quality of our ties, belts, shoes etc. For ties, not only does quality matters, so does the type of tie knot. For shoes – are you going for Oxford laced ups or loafers? 
 
Accessories can make or break your outfit. And remember to take care of you accessories because your accessories will take care of you.
 

Tip 3: Take Note of The Fit
 
How your clothes fit does matter. Be mindful of certain areas for a good fit. In particular, the collar size on a dress shirt is critical. Avoid the oversized collar at all cost as it projects a sloppy appearance. 
 
Also, other key areas I shared with the guys include the fit of the shoulders and the length of both shirt and jacket sleeves. 

For dress pants, how high or low someone wears his pants makes a tremendous difference. Wear it too low and you look sloppy. Wear it too high and you look nerdy.


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Tip 4: Be Comfortable
 
It's important that you are comfortable being dressed up. This is easier said than done, of course. Similar to my last point, if you're not comfortable with your clothes and who you are in such clothes, then even if you have the nicest dress clothes, a sense of "style" will be lacking. 

The clothes may define your external persona. But what is more important is knowing how to channel the inner persona – the one that wears the clothes. 
 
Personally, I love "dressing up". Knowing how to mix and match your clothes to give a refreshing look each and every time is an invaluable skill to master. 
 

Tip 5: Choose to Look Good

I cannot force you to want to look good. You have to choose to look good. 
 
It’s sad but I notice many guys do not care about how they look. I half suspect they are just wearing clothes because they should. Because it is an offence to walk around naked. How else can you explain the phenomenon of crumpled shirts? Or faded or ill-fitting clothes that have long seen their expiry dates?
 
Truth is, if you don’t choose to look good…then the other points don't make much difference. You owe it to yourself to look nice. Period. 

Everything else will follow.

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