Each of us has a personal brand, but it may surprise you that your brand has nothing to do with how you look. That said, the images we share with other do speak to how we want to be perceived. However, what we may not realize is that our personal brand is NOT what we tell our customers to think about us, but rather what THEY tell others about us. The impressions others form about us in regards to what we do, how we act, and how we treat others is what becomes our personal brand. When you work with talent and integrity your personal brand expresses your character and what you stand for. Clients will use this criteria to decide whether they want to do business with you and/or your company.
In working with a client-based industry, you need to keep in mind who you are serving, what you can provide for them, how you can best benefit their needs, and what sets you apart from others providing the same service(s). Knowing these answers will help you create a system to best provide for your client base and make the experience they have with you the best it can be. That experience coupled with great customer service is what will help create the personal branding message you want to project to your clients and those they will influence.
There will also be times when your “personal brand” includes how you handled your mistakes or the criticism of an unhappy client. Rising above, admitting you made a mistake, or taking the high road will always leave a better impression than attempting to prove you were right and the client was mistaken.
As a photographer, I see the need for personal branding images that speak to who you are and can let a client see into your personality with a single image or a series of images. No longer is a simple “head shot” sufficient to tell your story. Your branding images need to speak to who you are and how you want others to see you. Then it is your mission to follow through with the service and experience to reach the goal.
I challenge you to ask clients and friends how they would describe your personal brand message, and if their answer isn’t what you hoped it would be, how can you change it?