Remember that time we all went out to dinner and told each other what great services we provide? Me neither. We told stories. We updated each other on events since the last gathering, we shared past experiences, related inspiring stories and chuckled at things that went hilariously wrong.
This may come as no surprise, so I’m fairly convinced you don’t need to be sitting down for my huge revelation, but Instagram and Facebook know what they’re doing.
They know all about personal branding. When you think about it, personal branding is the exact reason that both platforms exist!
If you’re wondering why, here’s another shocker – we’ve all been doing personal branding online since before Mark Zuckerburg had his big idea. We’ve been doing it since MySpace and Friends Reunited. Hell, we’ve been doing it since the first online chatroom ever came into being.
In fact, Facebook and Instagram have even drawn a great big “X marks the spot” and given us a feature called Stories. It’s like they sat down and thought, “Hmm we need to offer a personal brand app. People will like that.”
Telling our stories online
Every time we’ve photographed, our food, our coffee, our holiday, our shoes…everything!…we’ve made a conscious decision about what we’re going to show the world. We’re curating our life gallery.
Now, if you’re anything like me, you’re not much of a social media poster in your personal life, so you’re probably thinking that this doesn’t apply to you. Maybe that’s why this whole personal branding malarkey is a mystery to you.
Well, you’d be wrong.
You know exactly how to do personal branding.
Telling our stories offline
Just because you don’t splatter social media with your day to day stories and adventures, doesn’t mean that you’re not into personal branding. The clothes you wear, the car you drive, the colour of the car you drive, where you live, the music you listen to, your preferred cocktail, restaurants, holiday destinations, leisure activities, cat or dog, Kindle or book, heels or trainers…that’s all part of your personal branding. It’s literally the stories we tell.
Not that you’re doing it to keep up with the Joneses…or that other surname that springs to mind these days. It’s because you’re a human and you have free will. And even if you are doing it to impress others, well that’s part of your story too, and therefore part of your personal brand.
Personal branding in business
So, why are we so slow to apply personal branding to our businesses when we’re absolute naturals at telling our stories? Because we’ve made it a thing.
The moment a thing becomes a thing, we make it complicated.
I see it every time I photograph somebody. I’m big into positioning women I photograph to look their best, but natural at the same time. So when I start photographing a woman, the first question I ask is “If you’re standing in a shopping queue, which is the leg you stand on?”
That made you think didn’t it? Right now you’re trying to work out which leg you use. We don’t stand on two feet like soldiers on parade, we transfer most of our weight to one leg.
So the next thing that happens is my client draws a blank. Then she will try to figure it out by testing to see which leg feels right. Most of the time it takes a few goes, followed by a bit of a chuckle. That’s when it happens! While she’s relaxed and chuckling at herself, it just comes to her naturally.
Well, that’s exactly what happens when we try to work out our brand’s story, look and feel. We freeze up a little and stop doing it naturally.
Because I’ve photographed so many women, I can see the moment she starts doing what comes naturally to her. Her body immediately settles into it and then it’s easy to make the minor tweaks needed for a position to become flattering for photographs.
Likewise, because we’ve all spent all our lives listening to and watching stories, we know instantly when it’s not right. We’re experts at spotting bullshit and we know the moment somebody is trying too hard.
Making personal branding natural
And that is exactly why I start every client’s personal branding photography experience with a detailed questionnaire. I ask questions that open up your brand, so that you can tell your brand’s stories naturally with perfectly aligned visual content.
Are you ready to share your stories with the world? Get in touch for photography as awesome as your vision!