10 tips on communicating your personal brand.
Everyone is talking about personal branding these days. And quite rightly, as for many people it’s become important to have a clearly defined personal brand, communicated clearly. As a photographer, I can confirm that my fastest growing sector of work is personal branding photography. But not everyone feels confident about this so I have put together some tips on communicating your personal brand in order to help. (If you are a little in the dark about what personal branding is, read my blog entry here.)
So, in order to begin to communicate your personal brand, you firstly need to have a clear vision of who you are and how you want to be seen. You need to be able to answer the following:
- What do I want to be known for?
- How do I want to show myself to the world?
- How do I want people to talk about my business?
- What kind of reputation do I want?
I have defined my Personal brand but how to do I communicate it to the world?
Ok so let’s break that down a bit into some steps you can follow to put your Personal Brand communication together.
- Be clear on your Unique Selling Point – In other words, define your brand promise: why you do what you do. What do you do that is clearly different or better than someone else. And a top tip: it may be the product or service you offer or it may be your audience which is unique. Be genuine. Authenticity is highly valued and copycats are easily identifiable and will not be respected.
2. Put a stake in the ground and define your space. In other words, claim a niche and make it yours. For this is how you dominate a category, by establishing your authoritative voice and presence in your niche. The best personal brands are very specific and your goal is to be relevant to a targeted audience. Remember, this is really key: Don’t try to be everything to everyone. You will dilute your message and fail to be relevant and salient to your actual target market. Your message will be diffuse and less effective.
3. Identify your brand’s named core values – 3 words that describe your brand. eg. Real, Inviting, Valuable. (Your content should be funnelled through these values.)
4. Nail your brand stories. Your origin story, your a-ha moment and your success story. You may not have tried to articulate this before but you already know these stories. So you just need to hone them and be prepared to tell them.
5. Now this is really important and sometimes even creative people get nervous about this: but you have to become the Creative Director of your business. You have to really lean into this and make your package visually appealing. And be prepared to invest in your brand — it’s investing in yourself!. This means professional photography, professional website designer, etc). If you give the message that you aren’t worth investing in, then it really cheapens your brand. Obviously what you are able to spend in the beginning might not be very much but keep investing in your brand as you grow.
6. Website. It goes without saying that we all need one and I am not a website designer but I will say this: If you have the above things in order, it will make the website design go smoothly whether you do it yourself or hire a professional and use this clarifying process to brief them
7. Ask some friends/relatives/colleages what they would say about your brand. As the saying goes, your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. And check the feedback they give you against your brand values – if these are not lining up, you should think about why and what you need to change to get them to align.
8. It follows then, that the work you create should be consistent with your brand. There must be a consistent message in what you say, what you show people and what you do. Make sure your brand values carry all the way through the transaction, and are not just promised in social media. (And while you are doing the work, document it so you have content to share!)
9. Brand Talismans – Think about the things in your life that you might weave through your brand – your hobbies and passions and things which identify you. You should bring these into your brand story and your social media/website. These talismans help people remember your brand. And they give a fuller picture of who you are, what you are passionate about.
10. Develop a strong brand voice. When you know who you are and what you are about, your content will amplify who you are. Consider not just what you are doing or selling but also communicate your values: e.g. giving back, mentoring, thoughtful leadership, sustainability, etc.
* Bonus tip* I hope you have enjoyed these tips for communicating your personal brand. Just one final tip here, initially just pick two social media platforms to channel your energy and time into. One is more long-form (so you can add high value – eg. blogs) and another with high engagement. Where you can build relationships. e.g. Instagram Stories. Personal Brand communication takes time, and it’s usually not the primary focus of your business so focus your efforts on platforms that are most relevant to your business. As you grow (and perhaps are able to hire someone to do content) you can expand onto other platforms.
“Photography through the lens of a storyteller”
LONDON PERSONAL BRANDING AND HEADSHOT PHOTOGRAPHER