What is Personal Branding?

What the heck is personal branding anyway?You’ve started to see the phrase everywhere, but you may not be 100% sure what it means or why people are talking about it. When and why do you need to have one? How do you establish it? And is it important?

Actually the term has been around for quite awhile and was first credited to an article by Tom Peters in 1997. Apple and Nike are brands, but so are individual people. Think of the Kardashians and you know about a personal brand. They are their own brand and many companies seek to work with them because they are so well known. Wikipedia says “In Be Your Own Brand first published in 1999, marketers David McNally and Karl Speak[5] define personal brand this way:

"Your brand is a perception or emotion, maintained by somebody other than you, that describes the total experience of having a relationship with you."

I love this definition because it’s all about describing to people what differentiates you from anyone else doing exactly what you do. It’s building a reputation for how you want to be seen in the world in your career. There are a multitude of ways for you to get your unique offerings, values, and visions out to your clients. The branch that I help you with - obviously! - is in images for your marketing.

I have been offering portraits for my clients that are much more than just a simple head shot for many years now. Often my clients want to show themselves to potential clients as any of the following - accessible, warm, funny, approachable, excited, enthusiastic, engaging, dedicated, intelligent, knowledgeable, and as an expert in their field.

What’s on your list?

When you know how you want to be seen, I can help ensure that my camera captures you and your elements…in your element!

When you show yourself at a computer working, this gives clients the immediate story of where and how you accomplish your brilliant offerings. Do you work from home? In an office? Will your clients be meeting you virtually or in a coffee shop? Your environment choice in your images are a big factor in the story that you are telling to your potential customers. They might hire you as a personal trainer because of the way you present your self image and work out style. They may connect with a picture you’ve hung in your home office. Or they may be drawn in by your warm honest smile versus the stiff head shot your competition shared. I often hear from my personal branding clients that they have gotten work because their clients connected to the images we took onsite or in my studio.

In our sessions, I spend time talking to you about what your style means for you personally. What goes through your mind when you pick an outfit out to wear? Before the camera comes out, we’ll talk about how your style conveys your professional image, and how that ties into your website and marketing materials. It’s all a cohesive story that you are presenting. I can help you illustrate it.

When a personal branding client hires me, we spend time planning out the session in detail. We go over all the elements that make up your brand as well as what your mission and vision are for your career. We talk about your style and colors as much as your passion and career vision to help guide you into finding the perfect outfits and the best environments and backdrops to show off your unique style to draw in your ideal clients. These sessions can be done in the studio or in a location of your choice.

Here are a few examples from work I have done with clients in a variety of environments to tell the story of who they are in their brand to the world!

You are your brand. You have a unique offering like no one else. 
You have a story to tell.

Let's share it.