Jeff Bezos of Amazon famously defined your personal brand as:
“What people say about you when you are not in the room.”
And in his “Fast Company” article, “The Brand Called You,” Tom Peters wrote:
“Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”
In today’s world, everything is visual… Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, your website… And yet, you must have noticed as you’ve visited business websites over the past month that so many companies – especially small businesses - are overusing bland stock photographs or have neglected to include images of the people behind the company. The good thing about this is that if YOU nurture your personal brand, including with unique, personality-filled personal brand photography, then you’ll easily stand out among the sea of your competition.
Your personal brand is the brand of you. You have a personality, and it’s critical that your personal brand photography portray that. Now, a headshot is just that – a shot of your head. A headshot could help to elevate your brand, but not every headshot falls into the category of personal branding. In order for a headshot to support your personal brand, it needs to be creative and authentic. So an authentic, creative professional headshot can be one type of personal branding photo, but at the same time, you’ll need more than a headshot to completely represent your personal brand. Personal brand photography can also include full body lifestyle portraits, action shots, and detail images that tell you and your business’s story.
Your personal branding photo collection will have a plethora of uses, including in social media, print marketing materials, your website, magazine features, publications, and more! Your personal branding photos – if done right - will be priceless!
In order for your professional photographer to create images that truly represent your personal brand the way you want them to, you’ll have to put some thought into what it is that you want your brand to communicate… what you want it to convey… as well as how and where you might like to use your personal brand photography. Here are a few questions to think about as you undertake this journey.
• Where do you want to use your personal branding photos RIGHT NOW? How many finished photographs will you be using RIGHT NOW?
• What opportunities do you forsee in the future that you would need photography for that you wish to plan for now? How many personal branding photos do you need NOW for use in the FUTURE?
(As you count, think about your website - homepage, banners, the about and contact pages ; social media platforms - Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter; print marketing pieces - brochures, flyers, advertisements, business cards; publications - book covers, articles you write, features from others… even your dating profile! And by the way, about business cards - see our article here on "What's On Your Business Card & How to Network Like a Pro.")
• What is or what do you want your brand’s personality to be? Name five adjectives.
• What is your brand’s mission? (Check out this article on Entrepreneur.com on “4 Techniques for Crafting a Mission Statement Worth Remembering.”)
• Gather samples of your current brand materials electronically to share with your professional photographer.
• Pin images you like to a private board on Pinterest. Make sure you start by browsing your professional photographer’s portfolio and pinning headshots and personal brand photography you like to the Pinterest board, then expand outward by browsing and pinning other photographs that you find elsewhere or on Pinterest.
Don't lose yet another opportunity. Don't waste yet another moment.
Elevate your personal brand today.