By Suzie O’Brien

There is a growing demand for quality, skilled image consultants who also understand the need for helping to grow their client’s self esteem, inspiring them to change the way they see themselves, to raise their expectations and open new doors to an exciting life of new possibility.

Using an image consultant helps to reinforce and sustain your career, your relationships and your future. Your personal brand image is your unique advertisement. It tells everyone who you are, what you do and where you are heading. It advertises your capabilities, your potential, your personality, your value and your achievements. Your image has always played an important part in determining your success in both your personal life and your career….. now in a challenging business environment it has just become essential.

I interviewed Jon-Michail, CEO of Image Group International on his thought about hiring an image consultant.

What are some common misconceptions about image consultants?

Not all image consultants work the same way. Each brings something different to the experience. Some focus entirely on colours; that is, helping you to learn the colours that suit you and those colours that go together. This enables you to coordinate what you are wearing to give a favourable impression both in your personal and business life. Other consultants will include expert hair and makeup advice to complement your new wardrobe. You may want further advice about your wardrobe and this is when you look for a consultant who will also act as a personal shopper. Others may offer all of the above and more, a holistic approach. Find someone whose image you admire with a successful track record and make enquiries. Depending on the services you want, the fees will vary. However, like everything in life, expect to get what you pay for, if you pay peanuts, you get…

When is a good time to look for an image consultant?  

Begin as soon as you start thinking about improving your look and personal power and influence. Perhaps you feel you’ve looked the same for too long a bit fuddy duddy, tired or maybe you’ve lost confidence in your abilities. Your trained and accredited image consultant must have a proven system that will support you to become more confident right away. Remember to hire a competent professional with the ‘runs on the board’. Real testimonials from past clients are a good indicator regarding experience and past successes.

What are the most common goals your clients have?

The reasons for approaching an image consultant vary a great deal. People in the public eye (executives, politicians, celebrities, elite athletes etc.) always need to look their best, and many realise that they need expert help in presenting themselves. Some want to improve their grooming, appearance and communication skills in order to do well at an important job interview or new promotion. Some organisations use image consultants with whole teams, particularly in management, sales and marketing. Their employees’ increased confidence and personal brand image is an important tool in increasing sales and profitability. Remember in a challenging economic environment, that is more relevant than ever.

Have you faced any unusual challenges?

We work with all sorts of people, like the lady who had lost her hair as a result of her cancer treatment. We had a lot of fun finding her a range of wigs that she could wear with different outfits. We loved seeing her increased confidence and desire to try new things.

What kinds of things should I tell my image consultant in order for her / him to get the best possible result?

Often clients don’t know what it is that they really need in order to make the most of themselves. The more your consultant knows about you, the more effective your consultations will be. Your consultant’s embodied skills and advice will help you to understand exactly what clothing suits your colouring, body shape, profession and lifestyle. The end result is that you will develop a better understanding of your unique personal style and present a personal brand that is authentically you.

As Audrey Hepburn said, Nothing is impossible. The word itself says I’m possible.”

Jon Michail is Group CEO of Image Group International, an award winning author and recognised as Australasia’s No 1 image coach. Image Group International supports executives, entrepreneurs and their organisations to become iconic and monetised leadership brands.

He is a regular commentator in international media organsations ABC, CNN, NBC, Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur, Success, The Financial Review and Vogue.

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