More often I’ve been accused of being too honest with my opinions, a trait that results in either utter hatred or endeared respect. The general public, it would seem, prefers to have everything packaged and presented, making allowances for cultural nuisances, age, position and standing in society.
The person we hear news from, no matter how disheartening it may be makes a huge difference in how we feel about purely because of who is delivering it.
So it begs the question that if I wanted to imitate a voice or character, whose would I choose?
I can imagine myself as a female Nelson Mandela commanding respect and reverence and driving an African resurgence; the thought gives me chills down my spine.
The image of an individual is powerful and spreads across many different facets for example, some religious icons are revered, trusted and obeyed beyond comprehension, the love of a leader has sent many a soldier into deaths valley with pride and honour being their last worldly acts, this is a small example of the power one can wield if they have crafted an image so powerful that it invokes the strongest emotion of all…love.
I look back at famous characters we have loved irrespective of whether they were personal friends or have ever met the individual; some just evoke an emotional bond that strikes a cord.
One of my all time favourites is Bill Clinton, yes, really. I don’t know if this man was ever hated by any individual, his charm charisma and superior intellect made him a beloved leader of America and an admired leader for those of us further afield.
Okay, I wouldn’t say that I would go as far as to lay down my life for him but hey I really did like the guy.
Even after his misdemeanour that had him impeached, his popularity continued to soar and everyone was saddened by his departure from the oval office, “four more years, four more years!” remember?
Another case study of how a good image can transcend life is that of Ghandi, who died fighting for his cause and up until this very day, masses of people continue living by his principles.
Now that we have covered the emotional aspect lets look at a whole other area of this industrious trade.
That is the financial aspect; being the mastermind behind the image that is created, now that is a sector that is quietly making a small fortune for those in the know. Africa is catching up quickly and already there are many ‘schools’ set up that promise to change your world as you know it and once you’ve gathered their knowledge change the world of those whom you represent or advise.
Image consulting is as yet another majorly untapped field in Botswana.
When I say image consulting the first thing everyone would think of is the visual aspect of how we look, the clothes we wear, our hairstyles and shoes.
But really image consulting is so much more than that, it looks at the individual holistically taking into account their personal attributes and what would best compliment it as well as their mannerism, speech and presentation, up to a polished smile that has been practiced and crafted to perfection.
Now taking into consideration at all these factors and scanning our local environment I cant say that I have seen very many cases of individuals who conform to that standard, except of course a few cases in the political arena and a few image conscience woman in the business community.
Just imagine if we had members of parliament sporting tattoos and driving around on Harley
Davidson’s; how quickly would they lose their constituents?
At the end of the day we need figures who portray the virtues we associate with the trade, for a banker it would be trust and accountability for a lawyer depending on their specialty, it would either be shrewdness or ruthlessness for a corporate or divorce lawyer, or principle and the martyrdom for a human rights advocate, a corporate leader should exude decisiveness to win the confidence of shareholders and boards, and should be perceived as being both diligent and strategic.
Either way if they don’t act according to the standards we have been raised to associate to those professions we won’t budge emotionally.
Image consulting has many aspects to it, one involves getting the person to look the part, ie hair, clothing, style, makeup; another deals with acting the part, your walk talk and presentation, evaluating your best angle for photography or television, the tone of voice you project, and your speech delivery speed. Managing image is all about matching an image against what we are trying to achieve.
A consultant will look at your objectives and develop a targeted strategy which would plant you in the right publicity space to maximize your visibility thus increasing your opportunities, but also develop your package so that you gain positive feedback and therefore interest.
The client becomes the physical embodiment of all the wonders we associate to a profession, cause or individual. It’s amazing really if you think about it; a simple manipulation of oneself can yield such amazing rewards, yet only a few are successful because it not only takes commitment and continuity, it must be consciously and deliberately done, such that one can map out their key result areas and target, and periodically and scientifically assess which have been met and which are still outstanding.
Ultimately it would be an amazing experience for us all to enjoy a complete overhaul and it takes me back to my earlier statement, are we really projecting images that coincides with our careers or envisioned life path?
Do people see us as we would like to be seen?
A simple exercise will really be enlightening for many; firstly ask yourself what kind of person you are or your traits, both good and bad. Secondly ask your friends and associates the same question. Tally the answers against your own list and you will most definitely be surprised at the answers because very often we don’t take into account how we project ourselves to others.
Now go a step futher and evaluate how those results tally with your chosen career path, or even your personal relationship goals? It may not have occurred to many people, but many of us are a living nightmare to work and live with!
Now can you imagine trying to get that promotion, that professional recognition, reach that big number to set yourself on the path to early retirement, or even snag that man or woman of your dreams, when your image doesn’t tally with your dreams?
For all those individuals starting to contemplate the reality of image consulting, remember that it can play a vital role in your success. Marilyn Monroe didn’t become an all time sex siren by chance, every step she took oozed with a sensuality that still has many young men and woman trying to capture her essence.
For anyone interested in finding out more on how image consulting can change your way of life please mail me on: HYPERLINK “mailto:[email protected]” [email protected]
*Keneilwe Matseke is a Communications and Marketing Consultant and an
Associate member of the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa and the National Press Club of South Africa.