Image makeovers: top to toe, from skin deep to soul searching

‘Tis the season for an image makeover. Where to start?

No place better than from the top, literally. You could consider getting a radical new hairstyle. Perhaps a Julie Bishop / Condoleezza Rice / Hilary Clinton structured look (take your pick of powerful women).

The maintenance must be maddening though. Condi famously woke up at 3am to start her day with a workout, and then surely it would have taken at least a good hour to get those tresses locked into place just so.

Beyond hair and skin deep, an image makeover can include a new wardrobe. But I’ll leave that to my learned friend Kara who has her finger on the pulse when it comes to sartorial matters.

You could also overhaul your diet and go paleo just like 60 Minutes’ Charles Wooley who reported on the cult diet a couple of weeks ago as if it were news, although its current iteration has been around for about four years.

If you want to align all parts of your life to your new image, then taking a deep, inward look into your personal values and spiritual beliefs can round off a top to toe, skin to soul comprehensive makeover.

Similar to a personal makeover, a corporate brand refresh can remain skin deep or go all the way.

Many rebrands start with new logos, websites, brochures, signage and advertising. In the pursuit of looking good, more meaningful changes can easily be neglected.

I’ve been involved in rebrands where common mistakes were made (some we fixed, others we chose to accept as flaws we weren’t going to change for one reason or another). My top 3 mistakes were:

  1. Mismatched tone of voice – failure to change customer scripts, language used on websites and other customer contact points. In this case, the TV commercials that positioned the client as fresh and accessible did not match with the experience that customers got when they picked up the phone or read the product brochures online. It’s like adopting a power hairdo but not using a deep, masculine voice in important meetings or media interviews.


  1. Promises to external audiences not supported by internal policies – in this case, my former employer’s slick sustainability report claiming commitments to the environment, reducing social impacts and tighter corporate governance appeared disingenuous to employees. One simple example was the company’s claims on addressing gender imbalance issues did not align with their restrictive maternity leave policy. It’s like saying you’re going paleo and having grain-fed chicken.


  1. Ultra-modern logo and décor not supported by any other updates – the most superficial rebrand I have worked on to date had a generous budget for a logo refresh, a luxe office refurbishment and cake ceremonies to celebrate the big moment. Beyond that, the law firm handled client files in the same way, didn’t offer anything innovative and workplace conditions remained tortuous, despite claims about being different from their competitors. With no infrastructure to support it, the modern logo became old soon enough, like last season’s wardrobe.

What makeover mistakes have you made in the past?