OPINION: Why women need to become better personal branders

Kitti Gould
By Kitti Gould | 21 June 2012
Kitti Gould.

'Jack of all trades' is how I have often come to describe myself. I’m an art director/designer/illustrator/photographer/blogger and sometimes artist.

In the lead up to the next SheSays event on Personal Branding, I was forced to sit down and think about my own. What is my USP (unique selling point) in just one sentence? How can I articulate my unique promise of potential value?

The way we choose to talk about ourselves can be as important as our business cards, CVs, and even what others have to say about us. For women it goes further, where we’re judged on our appearance, makeup, hairstyles – and even our weight. That isn’t to say that men go unscathed, but take a look at the hysteria behind Julia Gillard’s latest visit to her local shopping centre wearing… GASP…. JEANS!?! If she were a man, would she attract as much criticism and attention over her fashion choices?

Raechel Gavin, group HR director at DMG Radio aptly points out that, “dress is often contextual to the situation so it’s about being flexible and knowing what’s appropriate to the team/audience you will work with, and of course what makes you feel confident and comfortable!”

Putting our wardrobes aside, what is preventing women from becoming better personal branders? After all it is hardly a question we can sidestep – this very publication, quite rightly pointed out on 15 May this year, “Most CEOs haven’t appointed a senior female exec in the last three months” according to a recent study.

So is it a question of confidence? Determination? Or is it simply that we aren’t as bold as our male colleagues when it comes to selling ourselves, even when we do it every day on behalf of the brands we spend our lives selling?

To get to the bottom of these questions, I asked a fabulous woman in the industry with a healthy personal brand, Jane Caro. Her thoughts were very insightful: “In my experience, women whose fathers loved and respected their mothers, who liked women as people (not just as possible conquests or servants), and who thought their daughters were strong and smart (rather than sweet and pretty) find it more natural to assert themselves and promote their personal brand.”

And just like Raechel, I found it positively reassuring that Jane valued authenticity over everything else: “Being absolutely and fearlessly yourself is, of course, the only kind of personal brand worth having.”

So for myself, I am embracing a new sense of confidence. I am no longer a ‘sometime artist’. I prefer the shorter, bolder title of ‘artist’. And while I’m at it, I change my view on ‘jack of all trades’ – rather I package up my many roles into creating one, big Kitti Gould brand.

SheSays event on Personal Branding is tonight, 6.30pm at Saatchi & Saatchi. Please contact shesays.sydney@gmail.com for more details

Kitti Gould’s solo exhibition ‘Before Battle’ is on 5 July, 6-9pm at Fernside Coffee Shoppe, 410B Cleveland Street, Redfern

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