Ever since they first appeared, vehicles became powerful status symbols and an extension of their owner’s personality. Don’t believe us? Well, Bullitt has its iconic dark Ford Mustang, James Bond drives a classy Aston Martin, and Batman has its gadget-stacked Batmobile. Can you imagine any of them without their beautiful vehicles?
Similar rules apply in the corporate world where the first impression may determine how you will be perceived throughout your entire career. As you can probably imagine, making an entrance with an old clunker just won’t cut it at making the first impression a killer.
So, let us take a look at a couple of ways how exactly the vehicle you are driving affects your professional image and what you can do to improve it.
A well-maintained car speaks about a meticulous owner
Ok, we probably made one overstatement in the introduction. Driving an older vehicle won’t hurt your career in any capacity. But, you have to make sure that the car doesn’t look like a clunker. Just put yourself in the shoes of your future employers and associates – if you fail to keep your car clean and well-maintained, there is no way you will be able to keep up with all the challenges at your future job.
On the other hand, if you make an entrance in a car that looks like it just flew off the factory line, you will appear far more meticulous and professional.
The choice of the car speaks volumes about your personality
Although we often look at our cars as the fastest way to get from point A to point B, they actually give quite an insight into our personalities. For instance, small, easy-to-park hatchbacks may give the impression that you are a city-crawler and an economic person.
Giant trucks give away that you are outgoing and like to spend your free time in nature. Caravans – you are a family man who values reliability above anything else. All these things can be successfully leveraged to your advantage. Or you can simply switch the vehicle and cast a new light on your persona.
Luxurious vehicles will make you appear vain
As we already mentioned, expensive cars are powerful status symbols. However, you need to be aware of where you are on the business ladder. Lamborghini, Ferrari, and Bugatti are something reserved for corporate leaders who are earning tons of money. If you overstretch your budget and invest in such an expensive vehicle to appear powerful, you will create an opposite effect.
People will think that you are vain and preoccupied with making an impression. So, keep the game within your current boundaries. Smart choices are far more appreciated than excess.
Powerful performance for performance-driven image
Keeping that in mind, all vehicles – even the affordable ones – can be improved to provide better and steadier performance. Unlike throwing your money on the cars, you can’t afford this is something you should absolutely put on your to-do list.
For instance, quality K&N filters are very efficient at trapping dust particles, so they allow better airflow into your engine. As a result, the car runs faster and more silently. Small tweaks like this show that you are resourceful but also a performance-driven person ready to challenge the limits to get better results.
Embracing the vehicle’s brand values
This one works on a similar principle as choosing the type of vehicle that best represents your personality. This effect is only underscored by the brand values of the car manufacturer. For instance, Tesla is a very hip manufacturer with a strong eco-friendly vibe.
German vehicles (BMW, Audi, Opel, Mercedes, etc.) were always considered to be robust, precise, and reliable. French vehicles (e.g. Peugeot) are, on the other hand, probably the best-designed pieces of automotive technology you can buy. Linking your personal brand with these values can do a lot for your corporate image.
Choosing the car that speaks to your audience
Keeping all things we mentioned in mind, choosing a vehicle that represents your personality is incredibly beneficial but only as long as it fits the industry you are working in. For instance, if your future organization is doing charity work, sports cars, bulky trucks, and other similar vehicles are probably not the best idea.
Sure, they might be affordable and economical, but they do a very poor job translating to the audience what your organization tries to do. On the other hand, real estate agents and SUVs are a match made in heaven. In this case, you want to appear as a trustworthy family man. You get the point.
Devil in the details
By now, we have mostly talked about how the choice of the vehicle and proper maintenance make you look suitable for the job you are doing. Accessories don’t share the same power, but they can definitely underline the impression you are trying to make.
For example, if you are a repairman and drive a truck, installing a tonneau cover will let your clients know that you are a genuine professional that takes care of its tools and cargo. Affordable aluminum rims make a far stronger impact than hubcaps, and so on. All these upgrades are very budget-friendly but do a lot of heavy lifting in terms of impression.
Spending time to get to know the vehicle
As we already mentioned, the car is an extension of its owner. But, in order for this synergy to exist, they need to spend some time together and get to know their quirks. That is why before driving your new car to an important meeting let alone giving a lift to some of the important clients you should take a couple of days to see how the vehicle behaves in different circumstances.
It is highly advised to do the same after all major upgrades as well. The last thing you want is for people to get the impression that you are not in control and insecure.
We hope these few considerations will help you get a better idea of how your car can help you shape your professional image.
Impressions are a tricky beast – once they are made, it could take ages before you are able to repair them. So, use every possible asset to make the first one count. Cars, which are, for all intents and purposes, the best representative of the owner’s personality seem like a perfect place to start.