Illustration by Remy van der Geer

Branding your brand is like trimming your beard

A story about image, branding and Lady Gaga

Some time ago I worked for a client who wore his beard wild and uncontrolled. The beard was so thick and vulgar that I couldn’t tell if the man was smiling or not. As you might imagine, it was an impressive sight.

I realised that wearing a beard is an absolute statement. You can hide behind the thickness and richness of a beard, but you can also use your facial hair to express yourself in a myriad of ways. Whether it’s a stubbly beard, a goatee, or a so-called Spanish beard, it tells you something about the person in front of you. Even the absence of a beard is a dead giveaway of someones personality features. My client’s beard told me: “I have the life experience of a 100-year old, dare to prove me wrong.” Which, of course, I didn’t.

A beard (or a pair of glasses, a hat, sigaret, earring, fireman suit) can influence the impression you have of someone. In other words, physical appearance is the first thing people see and, for the bigger part, will determine the image they have of that person.

“Building a successful image for a brand is much like styling your hair or putting on the right specs.”

But wearing a beard comes with a risk. Does it fit your identity? And if the beard fits your identity now, what if it grows past that subtle border just above the Adam’s apple? If you don’t take care of your beard, you are likely to find yourself with the image of a vagabond, or a viking.

But a well trimmed beard gives a man a remarkable appearance and an uncompromising and unbuyable charme. A firm, comfortably cut beard and a gentlemen’s smile even get a plain white T sold to Lady Gaga.

Building a successful image for a brand is much like styling your hair or putting on the right specs. It is as much a vain process as the process of branding your brand. It needs time, attention and a lot of expertise. If it is not done right, a sent message is easily misinterpreted. A well designed and maintained visual identity is therefore essential.

“Branding your brand is like trimming your beard”, i told my client later on. Three guesses what his beard is like today…

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