Colette Werden is a personal brand expert who has developed a unique one-stop agency that looks after the personal branding of her clients; their image, their communication skills on camera and stage and their online identity. She has featured in the media as a thought leader in her industry and travels around Australia delivering keynote presentations and workshops that help entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial talent push through the blocks that keep them from putting themselves out there confidently.
We virtually sat down with Colette to garner some of her top tips and advice for women wanting to develop their personal brand.
You’ve worked with some of Melbourne’s biggest brands including construction giant Buxton. What are some of the key brand issue’s you see women facing in the Property, Construction and Professional service industry?
I admire women in Property, Construction and Professional service immensely. They are in an industry that is asking so much of them; a forever developing skill set, emotional intelligence and resilience, especially in the way of standing strong in a male dominated environment. Whilst there has been a major positive shift, some of the key brand issues that come up in client sessions and workshops are:
- They believe they have to be a “man in a man’s world”. They’re presenting themselves in a very masculine way, believing that this will help them get treated seriously. It’s actually working against them. Their facade is a barrier between building genuine rapport and they’re exhausted. There is nothing more powerful than a woman in business that embraces her feminine energy and balances it out with her masculine energy.
- They’re not putting their hand up for opportunities, especially the highly sensitive, introverted, intuitive types (I get these types because I am one!). They are working extremely hard, yet waiting for someone to tap them on the shoulder to promote them, rather than dressing, walking and talking like they deserve those opportunities now.
- They are representing who they think they should be, rather than who they are really are. I’m meeting so many extraordinary personalities that are hiding behind the uniform of conformity.
Can you give us a run-down of your revolutionary The Ratio System and how it came about?
When I first started my business, my first service offering was Personal Styling / Image Development for entrepreneurs and professionals. Not because I wanted to be a personal stylist, but because I knew it was the first vehicle I could use to make my mark in the industry of authentic empowerment. Especially because the poor perception I had of my own self-image was costing me my experience of life. I needed to transform myself in order to transform others.
I looked at the image development industry and shook my head in shame – I could not believe that for 55 years we were still labelling our bodies as fruit or geometric substances, then placing rules around what we can and can’t wear. Often which was contradictory and restrictive. I called bullshit and knew there had to be another way.
I employed Core Data Australia to survey over 500 professional women to find out what body parts they most commonly want to camouflage and how they wanted their body to look. The results found that most women wanted to achieve a “longer, leaner silhouette” and wanted to camouflage the following body parts; “stomach, hips and thighs”.
I developed The Ratio System as a non-emotional, very easy to follow way of helping my clients achieve exactly that, no matter their age, size or shape. It works on the concept of wearing clothes in a way that create an easily identifiable ratio on the body of 1/3 Torso, 2/3 Leg. There are many ways to create this using basic wardrobe pieces.
The Ratio System got coverage on Channel 9, Mornings. I was interviewed by Georgie Gardner – in the commercial break she said to me; “You are onto something really great here – the wardrobe department call my body shape a Pear and I hate it”.
What are your top 3 branding tips for women looking to develop their personal brand?
Most definitely the 3 things that the most influential personal brands commit to:
- Consistency: the lack of consistency, equals the lack of trust. Your message, the way you present yourself, what you stand for, how you behave needs to be consistent each and every day so you become known, trusted and respected for the power of that consistency.
- Authenticity: represent who you really are, not who you think you should be. Extroverts aren’t more powerful than introverts, academics are not more intelligent than creatives, logic isn’t preferred over intuition. Neither, or, is better or worse. Get clear on who you are and go all in on that.
- Alignment: ensure all that you associate with your brand is in line with what your brand stands for. Things like; who you refer is on par with your way of doing business, where you take your clients for coffee, the events you attend, all the way through to the clothes you wear and charities you support. For example; if you are against animal cruelty, you would not associate yourself with a company that tests on animals. A contradiction of alignment will create an uncertainty of your brand integrity
Lastly, if you could go back in time what advice would you have for yourself when you were first starting your professional career?
I would sit myself down, look me straight in the eye and say this:
“It’s going to get tough. It’s going to push you, change you and make you question every part of your identity. Your emotions will run from high to low. Some days you’ll want to step out, other days you’ll have to step up. Mind wars will stir you, experiences will test you and people will challenge you. You’ll second guess yourself, compare yourself and tell yourself you should be doing more. It’s all part of the game. Know that the game you’re playing is worth the fight”.
For more information on Colette please visit her website at colettewerden.com