Personal Branding- What Message do you Send?

Let’s talk first impressions

  • How long does it take to size someone up?   (about 7 seconds)
  • How long do people take to look at a webpage before moving on?  Less than 10-20 seconds unless there is a clear value or something drawing them in.

So, you do not have long to impress.  Make the TIME count! 

#1- our message has to be clear and concise.  

#2- we want people to trust us.  They will determine if they think that maybe they can trust us in what- about 7 seconds.  In this case, trust is about being open to listening a little more versus tune you out.  If we are not authentic, people will not trust us.  


How do we impress and gain trust? 

Let’s talk Personal Branding vs Headshots.

‘Head shots’ have traditionally been rather dull, flat images that have little personality.  Ah, but the Personal Branding photography is about YOU. In the world of entrepreneurs, corporations and social media the days of simply self promoting are gone.  They want to know the why behind our businesses and they want to know about us.  This is one of the most fun things about I do.  I get to know people and guide them through.

 Personal Branding is about self-expression where we deliberately shape our image and persona to let the world know what we have to offer, how we are different and WHY.  Our style shows through.  

Feeling a little Vulnerable?  

Yes, I get that.  What if your style or your way of expressing yourself is a put off to some people.  Get ready for this!  This is what happens- those who are drawn to you are YOUR clients. They’re the ones who will want to do business with you- who’ll buy from you, who’ll hire you and so on.  Those who are put off are not going to be your good clients.  And if they decide to, they’ll be the ones who lead to some drama for you.   You will not please everyone.  Attract the clients YOU want to work with.  There will be a future blog about CHOOSING YOUR IDEAL CLIENT.


WHAT IS YOUR STYLE?

So, you’ve decided that you want to think about your own style- where do you begin?  If this doesn’t sound daunting to you, then either you haven’t thought about it much OR you REALLY know yourself.

Your style or brand identity should:

  1. Authentically represent you and your business.  Ask the question ‘why?’ over and over.   I’m going to use myself as an example-

I did this and was amazed at the light bulb moments for me.  I was working long hours but loved what I did.  I did not love a lot of it though.  I went over and over asking 'why' until I got to the root of it for me.  Why was I not taking care of myself?  Why did I say yes to everyone but myself?  ….Why wasn’t I following what I was really passionate about.  Once I did this, the path was really clear for me.  It’s not that I didn’t get pulled in other directions some, but I was and am so certain about what I do.  Exactly how it's going to look- now, that’s the mystery that I so love.

I had to really do the hard work.  I had to get to the marrow of what I wanted and who I am.  I’m still working on this.  It's a fluid thing and just trying to stay on the right track will be work.   As humans, we evolve and adapt.  

So, going back to the #1- authentically represent you and your business. What is YOUR Style?  

Your Style or brand identity should:  

  1. Authentically represent you and your business.

  2. Be distinctive/memorable- it should make it clear to others what sets you apart from your competitors.
  3. It should help you get to where you want to be quicker.
  4. Be unique
  5. Be consistent and cohesive between your personal image, your website and your social media.   It all needs to go together.  You need to be clear on who you are and what your business is. 

 

Why are images important?  

How much time do you have to impress and be memorable- in a good way?  About 7 seconds in person and 10 seconds or so on the computer.  Maybe more- maybe less  

What messages do our images send?

A key component to Personal Branding is to determine how you wish to use your images. 

What will the images be used for:

  • Social Media- banners and or profile picture?  For personal or professional pages or both?  
  • Magazine, newsletters, blog posts about you or your business?
  • Personal use- has it been a long time since you had portraits taken?  Would your significant other appreciate a special beauty shot?  
  • Do you need images from different parts of your business- i.e. your office, with your coworkers...
  • Do you have special events coming up that you want to promote?  

Examples of the messages our images send:

  • Fun
  • Serious/Pensive
  • Open or Closed
  • Engaging
  • Non-threatening
  • Vulnerable
  • Confident
  • More and More

How do you get this message across:

  • Your words (style and meaning)  - written word is easily misinterpreted 
  • Your images- what they are and where they are placed
  • The colors you choose
  • The consistency 
  • Cohesiveness

Summary:

  1. Your Message- your Personal Branding is about you- you represent your business.  Your business is a part of YOU.  Don’t lose sight of that.  

  2. Be clear on your message by being clear about who you are and what you do.  Stems from your VALUES. (Watch for future BLOG post about VALUES  because they are important.)   Keep is REAL.  People will not trust us if we are not authentic.

  3. Know that not everyone is going to like you.  Know that this IS okay.  Your perfect clients are out there waiting for you.  

  4. Make sure that what you show the world is consistent with #1 and #2.  Now, you can think about colors, logo, website design and so on.  Now you know why this is NOT step ONE! 

Do you need help deciding what kind of images to use for your business:  social media, website, paper materials and so on?  I now do phone consultations to help you get to the root of your needs.  I consult with every client I photograph but I realize that not everyone lives nearby.  It's the next best thing-SKYPE or other medium to discuss this virtually face to face.  

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