What makes you stand out? Do you have something defining or memorable that makes someone take a second look?

Appearance makes a difference. Period.

55% of a person’s first opinion of you is based on your physical appearance and your body language. As an athlete, you wear a team uniform most often in front of the camera and uniforms serve the purpose to showcase “team” It’s the times when you are out of uniform that you should make the most out of highlighting you, the individual. You, the individual, can best come through in a memorable manner by having a defining characteristic in your appearance. Through being recognized by your outer appearance, people will pay more attention to who you are, what you stand for, and the end result will be a stronger personal brand.

It is in having a stronger brand that you will have an easier time achieving the goals you set for yourself. Your goals may be endorsement related, a call to action for a cause, or simply a new business endeavor. These things can be made simpler at that first step just from someone knowing of you before you ever knock on his or her door. Creating a more recognizable look helps to do this and is difficult as you might think.

Unique attributes or accessories can be a wonderful way to set you apart. Von Miller, a standout rookie in the NFL, has already made himself identifiable off the field simply through his vintage style of glasses that he wears. Having them already being referenced as a “trademark” element to his brand, shows you the impact they have made in a short amount of time.

While you can have unique attributes, it is consistency in how you wear them that drives the impact. Think about Brian Wilson during the 2010 Giants baseball season. His beard alone had become a national sensation and still gets discussed today. The beard looks the same today as it did 2 years ago, fans still love it, and Brian remains one of the most recognizable closers in baseball.

Color or patterns can be another way to create a memorable element of your outer appearance. Rickie Fowler did this well, having owned orange on the golf course this past year. During the final round of each golf tournament, Rickie will don his signature color, not just to stand out but also to support his college, Oklahoma State University. Rickie combines consistency with a story as to why.

The 3rd way to help you sear your personal brand into many a brain, is by linking your defining element to a story. People listen to stories, so if your defining characteristic is linked to a great reason/story, it is much more likely to be remembered. The reason Dhani Jones started wearing a bow tie is because a childhood friend, who was diagnosed with lymphoma, told him “if you want to be anybody in this world, you’ve got to rock the bow ties”. Dhani took not only the look to heart but also created bow tie cause, which provides a way for organizations to help support their own charitable foundations.

The athletes that I referenced in this story have something in his or her appearance that set them apart from others, and all of them were in alignment with their personal brand.

Ask yourself this question – when I look in the mirror each morning do I see something unique and memorable? Because if you don’t, how do you expect someone else just meeting you to?


Katie Marston is a partner in VMGelement , a personal brand development company focusing on professional athletes. Follow her on Twitter at @ktmarston