What is a Personal Branding Session?
You can think of a personal branding session as a tailored photoshoot for your business. The essence of a personal branding session is to display your businesses values, services and uniqueness in a visual way. This is so important from a marketing perspective to ensure your visual material is communicating your authentic story. It is also important to recognise your customer base and respond to that with your content. Considered and tailored sessions really help you to legitimise your small business by marketing yourself and your services or products as a brand. In doing this you naturally attract and establish your customer base. Ultimately, a brand is far more than a logo or a catchy name. Branding your business in the right way can impact your outreach and help you to establish new clients. A brand is more than just the things we can actually see and as such can communicate and create certain emotions, thoughts and feelings for your audience. The outcomes from a personal branding session will help to keep your visuals across all platforms cohesive and sleek. This in itself creates the building blocks for establishing a brand. Consistency, professionalism and uniqueness are key.
Identify and Set Goals
First of all you need to consider how your business can utilise and benefit from a personal branding session. Identifying your goals for the session are a must and most photographers will discuss these with you to help you get the most out of your experience. There are many different reasons to invest in a personal branding session. A few questions to ask yourself to help determine your incentive for investing in a session are:
- Are you a new business owner who is trying to get your name out there? - Are you a business owner who would like to refresh, modernise or rebrand your current business? - Are you trying to establish a client base? - Have you started offering a new service and would like your session to be focussed around showing this off? Knowing the motive behind your personal branding session will help you and your photographer work more efficiently at achieving your goal. Establishing why you will benefit from a personal branding session is phase one. Phase two includes visualising how you want your story to be told. This is where a professional photographer will really come in handy. Photographers are phenomenally good at visual storytelling and framing visual material in a way where the information is easily accessible, meaningful and relevant to the message. If you have a unique take on your job, share it with your photographer! They will be great at integrating these pockets of uniqueness into the shoot.
It is important to consider where you are going to use your images. If the reason you need the photographs is to have more coherent visuals across your platforms, then you will probably need a mix of both portrait and landscape images. This will ensure that you are able to work with the layout and size confines set by social platforms. Alternatively, you may need a lot of imagery of the same orientation to slip into bodies of text or to create a consistent image gallery from. If you only need photographs for your website, you may need specific types of images. You may know the website pages you want to focus on are ‘meet the team’ and ‘services. In this example that will mean you want team headshots as well as shots inclusive of your team at work. These things are all totally dependent on your specific business and needs, so have a think, where do you need them for?
One thing that can put business owners off doing a personal branding session is that they do not think they have a brand and so don’t feel worthy of a personal branding session. You do not need a strong established brand to have a session. The session in itself can really help you to consider what your brand is and why you are unique. You can use the personal branding session as a kick starter to better things. This does not mean that you have to go and purchase new signs, brochures and team t-shirts, it simply means that you get to decide how your customers will perceive your business. The visuals that the public associate with your business have more impact than you can imagine! Whether you are using the personal branding session to showcase the brand you have already developed or to communicate who you want to be is irrelevant, the public will see your business as whatever you present it as!
A personal branding shoot can seem like this big scary commitment where you have to know your business inside and out. It may feel like you have to be booming with customers, established, and know your way around a photoshoot. This is because we associate the word branding with corporate conglomerates, and as a small business owner we do not feel as though we have earnt the right to say that we have branding, unless of course we have paid a graphic designer for a fancy logo. This is simply not true! Branding is so much more than a name, logo or a colour scheme.
Branding our business in the right way communicates who we are and what we do, and a personal branding shoot can help you with filling in the ‘and why us!’.
- Do you offer a particular service or product, or even, does your website have a specific colour scheme? If so, try incorporating this colour into your clothes or backdrop of some of your photographs, this will appear like a deliberate stylistic decision! - If you have any equipment or spaces that feel intrinsic to who you are and what you do as a business then communicate these to your photographer – they will be able to get creative with how to include them in shot. - If you don’t want certain kinds of shots because it does not feel right for your business, for example, no portraits, then this is ok! The reason you work with a photographer on a branding shoot is to avoid getting stuck with standardised images that don’t work for you.
"If you don't give the market the story to talk about, they'll define your brand's story for you."
- David Brier