When I tell people I offer personal brand photography, I often get some confused looks. Personal branding is certainly a buzzword in the business world but the concept is not always fully understood – or embraced.
So what is a personal brand?
A personal brand really does what it says on the tin. You are making your brand personal. Instead of focusing all of your marketing on the amazing products you sell or the great service you offer, you put yourself out there and let your audience get to know YOU. You share who you are, why you do what you do, what you’re passionate about, what your values are, even the faults you have. It’s about being authentic and giving your audience the opportunity to connect with you as a person.
Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, famously said ‘Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room’. Ultimately, people will form an opinion of you regardless of whether or not you choose to make your brand about you. A personal brand allows you to own the narrative about you and your business. I like this quote from Influencer Marketing Hub:
You can either ignore your personal brand, and let it develop organically, possibly chaotically, beyond your control, or you can help massage your personal brand to depict you as the person you want to be.Influencer Marketing Hub
What are the benefits of a personal brand over a business brand?
‘Be yourself, everyone else is already taken’Oscar Wilde
It’s easy to get caught up in trying to appear perfect on social media or worrying about what you say in case you upset someone. But wouldn’t it be easier if you could just be yourself? You’re entitled to have your own opinions and values in the same way that other people are entitled to agree – or disagree – with you. Not everyone is going to feel a connection with you as a person – and that’s OK. Think of it as a way of filtering out the people you probably wouldn’t want to work with anyway. Deliberately limiting your audience in this way can be a scary prospect, particularly when you’re starting out, but wouldn’t business be a whole lot nicer if your clientele was made up of people who shared your values?
People do business with those they know, like and trust.Originator unknown
Millennials make up over a quarter of the UK population, meaning that there is a fair chance that they feature within your target customer base – and if they don’t, they soon will. A study cited by Forbes in Jan 18 found that 84% of millennials not only dislike traditional marketing, but they also distrust it. 87% of millennials do, however, trust influencer marketing. Why is this? Because, by nature, an influencer has a strong personal brand that resonates with their followers and builds that know, like and trust factor. Especially in this day and age, where it can be rare to find a business that is offering something completely unique, personal branding can offer entrepreneurs a competitive edge.
Another benefit of having a personal brand is that you can continue to attract and engage your audience even when they aren’t ready to buy from you. If you only ever talk about your products or service, then there’s a fair chance that they may lose interest in the content you’re putting out. Sure, some of your hardcore fans may stick around but, for the most part, if people aren’t currently interested in what you have to offer, then they’re likely to scroll straight past. If you’re regularly sharing personal content that strikes a chord with the people it reaches, then they’ll stick around and, hopefully, when they are ready to buy, you’ll be the first on their mind.
Examples of people with a strong personal brand
OK, so now we know what a personal branding is and how it might benefit you, let’s take a look at some examples of people who have a strong personal brand.
Michelle Obama is not just a former First Lady. She’s a speaker, author, lawyer, and activist for what’s right in the world. Her passion, confidence and personality shine through in everything she does and her message is absolutely nailed.
Richard Branson is the founder of the Virgin Group and is known as an adventurer, risk taker and someone who likes to go against the grain. His personal brand as someone who doesn’t take himself too seriously is no accident. Richard himself said that ‘Too many companies want their brands to reflect some idealized, perfected image of themselves. As a consequence, their brands acquire no texture, no character and no public trust.”
Sophie Hinchliffe AKA Mrs Hinch has become an internet sensation since launching her Instagram account, @mrshinchhome, in March 2018. Her grid is jam-packed with photographs of her flawlessly-clean home, however it’s her Instagram Stories where Mrs Hinch and her personal brand really come alive, sharing all the must-know cleaning tips alongside injects of her home life. Her audience love her authenticity and how relatable she is.
I hope you found this useful. If this has convinced you to have a personal brand but you don’t know where to start, then fear not! I’ll be talking about this in future blog posts so check back soon.