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The business of image is a great reflection consultant's talent
The business of image is a great reflection consultant's talent
One should not be fooled by the likeness of Julie Branden's petite five-foot two frame and sweet smile.  When it comes to her consulting firm, Vivid Image, She means business.
 
In a short time, she has helped companies like McDonald's and Allstate Insurance attain higher levels of customer service and positive image goals. "After hurricane Katrina, restaurant owner Doug Gehrig felt the need to improve the performance of his staff and give them a chance to reach their personal and professional potential. So he called on me to help. A Lake Charles area McDonald's was my first major client"
 
Vivid Image Consulting is an image management and style branding company providing professional image management services to corporations and individuals.  The company customizes services to enhance client image which add bottom-line value. Vivid Image is committed to rebuilding New Orleans businesses through seminars and workshops that emphasize the importance of work ethic, confidence and excellent service.
 
"The service industry is the pulse of our city, even more so after hurricane Katrina," Branden states. "A lot of companies were eager to reopen and put warm bodies in positions instead of qualified employees.  New Orleans as a whole has to step up and employers should demand great service from their staff."
 
Branden keeps a watchful eye on local companies and the image that is projected to visitors of the city.
 
"I am tired of visiting establishments and seeing the sagging pants on employees.  I try instill the importance of a positive image that goes beyond the surface. When you look good you feel good and when you feel good, you can do anything. Productivity increases in the workplace when employees attain a positive attitude."
 
The New Orleans native recently facilitated an Image 101 seminar for FINO (Fashion Institute of New Orleans)  Students learned about developing a business persona interviewing skills, appearance standards, customer service and business etiquette. "I get young people thinking about appearances but also and what's beneath the surface." says Branden.
 
The founder of Vivid Image Consulting, has 20 years of experience in the image and hospitality industry.  Along with owning and operating a beauty salon at age 19, Branden worked as a front desk clerk in local hotels and managed three area restaurants.

She is certified by the London Image Institute and is a member of Association of Image Consultants International.  These certifications and programs have given her the opportunity to reach the public and private sectors of New Orleans.  This past June, she held a charm school seminar for area girls to learn simple tips on grooming and hygiene to social etiquette. "I can relate to these young females because I was that girl back then and I knew there was a better way, so I understand where they are coming from."
 
Branden, who grew up in the Lafitte housing development has come a long way. But her success was only a surprise to others. "Growing up in the Lafitte housing project, everyone thought I wouldn't succeed but I proved them wrong," she says.  "I set my standards high. I made mistakes, but I kept pushing through." 
 
The tenacity Branden had early on is what she instills in the young people she meets while facilitating seminars. She accepts the responsibility of providing a blueprint for success for the youth of the city. 
 
"The staff from McDonald's still calls me for advice.  I don't mind because I feel I am still giving back to the community.  I am very eager to give them whatever advice I can to help them. Whether it's wardrobe choices for a job interview or conflict resolution on the job, I am here for them."
 
You can catch Julie Branden in action at the Gateway Minority Business Conference and Expo, August 14th and 15 the Sheraton Hotel.  Vivid Image Consulting services will be showcased, providing color and wardrobe consultations and will feature Branden in an interview with the Southwest Community Channel, sponsored by LSU. The one- hour segment focuses on women in business and the importance of image.





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