“Loyalty is not won by being first. It is won by being best.”
– Stefan Persson
It is no secret that creating a powerful personal brand is tantamount to brand influence and success. Everyone from personal brand powerhouse Gary Vaynerchuk, to the almighty media mogul Oprah, can tell you that having a strong personal brand is non-negotiable. There is a reason that every cover of O Magazine features its creator. She is the power behind her brand and her magnetic, influential persona is the reason people buy the magazine.
As small businesses, we may only aspire to have the influence of GaryVee and Oprah, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take a few pages out of their books. So, how do we create a personal brand as powerful and influential as these two mega stars?
I’m a personal brand photographer, so I’m supposed to say that right? Well, yes. I wouldn’t be a brand photographer if I didn’t recognize the power photography has to transform our businesses and create trust and credibility in the marketplace.
People don’t buy from brands, they buy from people.
But how can they buy from you if they don’t know you?
Photography gives your audience the opportunity to get to know you and learn whether they will like you or not. It offers them a peek into your life and the brand you have created, and allows them to build trust in you over time.
Below are a few keys to using photography to elevate your brand into a powerful, influential and credible leader in the marketplace.
Decide on a visual aesthetic and stick to it.
Your brand aesthetic is a set of visual “rules” your brand should follow to communicate the look and feel of your imagery. Your brand aesthetic coincides with your graphic design and the mood your brand story evokes. When creating your brand keep in mind the part your visuals will play in the overall message of your brand. Below, I’ve highlighted some popular Instagram aesthetics to give you an example of how your visuals play a role in communicating your brand message. Think about what kind of brands might choose each aesthetic and how powerful their messaging would be when paired with their visuals.
The minimal aesthetic is perfect for lifestyle brands who are promoting a simple, minimalist way of life.
Colorful aesthetics are great for creatives who infuse their fun vibrant personality into their brand.
A boho aesthetic has the ability to connect with audience who appreciate a more earthy vibe.
Consider photography as part of your brand building plan.
Whether you are rebranding an existing business or building your brand from the ground up, you will need to plan for the photography your business needs. Consult with your design team or brand stylist to determine the kinds of photography you need and how it will be used to compliment your online presence. Waiting until you are ready to launch could impact your launch times, especially when you realize that the images you have now don’t fit your website or marketing designs. Working with a professional photography and graphic design team will allow you to plan your photography to fit your needs seamlessly, letting you do the things you do best, like serving your clients.
Use photography to run a more cohesive campaign.
Every element of your marketing should have professional, quality, imagery attached to it. Some brands prefer styled stock photography and some prefer a more personal approach, like lifestyle or personal brand photography. Decide which style works best for your campaign and keep it cohesive across each platform. Making sure your campaign photography is “on-brand” with the overall aesthetic of your brand is key.
Make the investment, hire a professional.
I know. I know. This one is a no brainer right? We all know it costs more to hire an amatuer (or several) than it does to hire a professional, but you would be surprised at how few people understand the true value of quality photography.
Your imagery, just like everything in your brand arsenal, should reflect the value you place on your brand as a whole. You can get by for a while on sub-par imagery, but as your brand grows, that imagery will begin to affect your brand value negatively. The expense of your brand photographer can be written off on your taxes, just like every other investment you make and it should be considered as part of your budget when you rebrand or create your brand from the ground up.
Most importantly, know what you don’t know. With powerful image recording devices at our fingertips, it is easier than ever to create compelling imagery ourselves. And I encourage it. But just like any other skill, it takes time and energy to master. If creating your own imagery is something you dread doing or you just don’t have time, don’t be afraid to outsource it to someone like me. Just because you can do something yourself, doesn’t mean you should.