At the intersect between education and technology

What does a corporate image consultant do?

“Dress to impress”, “first impressions count”, “dress for the job you want” – these are just a few common phrases we hear in the business world. But what if you’re an ambitious individual with loads of talent, but feel like the way you present yourself in interviews keeps letting you down? Or what if you’re the head of an up-and-coming firm and need your representatives to really stand out from the competition, but have no idea how to help them look the part? In both these kinds of situations, a corporate image consultant can help.

Essentially, image consultants work with companies and individuals to teach them how to make a better first impression. Aside from their personal appearance and wardrobe choices, corporate image consultants also work on other aspects of presentation, from body language and business etiquette, to confidence and interpersonal skills. Here we take a look at what they do, and how to get into the business if you’d like to pursue a career as a corporate image consultant.

Personal versus Corporate Image Consultant

Although most image consultants will work a little with both, some specialize in helping individual professionals and others in working with sales teams, client-facing staff or entire organizations. They might help individuals and groups update, modernize and spruce up their look and image, or even help them create a whole new one. The high-powered lawyers and CEOs we see on TV might make it look effortless, but remember they actually have a whole team behind them, helping them to find the most flattering and stylish looks!

Some people have a natural eye for style and fashion, but most of us simply try our best to emulate the look we feel is expected of us. If you don’t want your image to get in the way of a potential promotion, new job, or landing that massive client, then investing in the services of an image consultant can provide you with the skills you need to make that all important first impression.

And it’s not just in the business world where these kinds of services come in useful. Many individuals will seek out the help of a personal image consultant in how to dress for a date, or just to get a better idea of what clothes suit them best, and how to make the most out of the assets they were born with. They may also advice on what wardrobe choices are best for different situations, such as a lunch out with clients, the office Christmas party, or even meeting their partner’s parents for the first time.

The role of corporate image consultants is slightly different, as rather than highlighting an individual’s appearance, the idea is to make the whole team look more cohesive and polished. While it still entails working hands-on with each individual, it’s also about the bigger picture – helping their client set out clear dress code policies which reflect modern business standards and fashions, advise on potentially sensitive matters, and coach teams on how to work better together when facing a current or potential client. To this end, image consultants frequently work with specialized clothing providers such as specialized corporate wear so that it’s quick, easy and simple for employees to pick clothing that will complement their coworker’s.

The psychology behind image

Image is about a lot more than hair, makeup and clothing. Yes, we’re all guilty of judging people by their covers, so to speak, but we also judge ourselves – and that impacts on our behavior in front of others. If we feel like everyone else in the room looks better than us, we’re likely to be a lot less confident and outgoing – and that can cost you a client or a new job. If, on the other hand, you know you look smart, polished and professional, and you know you understand the appropriate language and business etiquette to boot, you will naturally project a more open and confident image too.

How do you train to become a corporate image consultant?

Image consultants work with everything from makeup and skin care, accessories and accent pieces, to social skills and business etiquette – so a background in any of these fashion- or psychology-related fields is a good start. Most image consultants go into business for themselves, acting as their own boss and creating their own brand. While there are no formal degrees or qualifications you’ll need to acquire, you’ll need a natural eye for fashion, detail and color coordination. While very large firms may hire a fulltime image consultant, the vast majority of consultants will have to find their own clients and build their own brand and business, meaning solid entrepreneurial skills are also a must. It might take time and hard work, but becoming a corporate image consultant can be a lucrative and extremely rewarding career path for the right person!