A personal brand is powerful because it’s not just about your company letterhead, it’s about you as a person and how people describe your business when you’re not in the room.
Simon Sinek said “We don’t do business with companies. We do business with people.” This is so true, because when YOU are YOUR brand, you’re marketing yourself, and if you do this effectively people will buy into you. What’s more, they are much more likely to actively seek you out to collaborate or do business if your whole brand message is consistent and professional looking. If you look like you’re successful, others will be eager to know more about you and what you’re offering.
How do we create a personal brand that will stand out from our competitors and get people to trust in what we offer?
It’s a bit like finding a good recipe and adding your own secret ingredients to it. You must market yourself in a unique way. So don’t look at your competitors for information, be sure to find out your own strengths and let your personality shine through in all you do.
I found these questions useful to get me started in creating my own personal brand.
- What is my mission?
- Who is my ideal client or target customer?
- How do I want to be perceived and what qualities do I want people to associate with my company?
- How can I communicate my message effectively?
- What channels can I use to do this?
Often a client will approach me for photography after they’ve started the branding process with their graphic designer. They know it’s important to have a clear headshot so people will recognise them, but for their profile to stand out effectively, the headshot should also tie in with their brand and show authenticity. This is the difference between a OK headshot and a headshot that people want to engage with.
Sometimes even though a client has a good idea of their brand design on paper, they aren’t quite as clear on how they want to represent themselves in a headshot. What to wear and what colours? What style? Which location? How many different shots? These are all things to consider and discuss with your photographer.
A great way to get ideas flowing is to create a mood board. This is where you can look at those questions I mentioned before, and use them for inspiration and clarity. Through conversation, your photographer might suggest things you hadn’t thought about or you can talk through your values so that you’re both on the same page regarding the styling of the shoot.
You may just need a few head and shoulder shots for your About page and social profiles but I particularly love it when websites display the behind-the-scenes of a business so that people can follow your story. You can show your day through a sequence of professional lifestyle images that are carefully planned to make sure that the brand is reflected throughout. After all a picture speaks a thousand words so make sure you explain your service with photography if you want to appeal to those clients who are looking for something more visually exciting.
The goal is to tie all the design work and photography together so that the message you want people to know is very clear and powerful.
Think of Marie Folio from Marie TV or Carrie Green from The Female Entrepreneur Association. Both have a very clear brand style running throughout their website and marketing. You can tell they are both very professional and successful women, but with very different personalities.
You can achieve a similar standard, it just takes a bit of planning. Once you’re ready, start putting your brand design and photography to work. The main thing is to be everywhere that your target client is, so you will become recognised and become a powerful brand.