Nike, Coke, Apple...these are some of the biggest brands in the world. The companies who built them have carefully defined what these brands represent. But little do we know that as a person, we are a brand as well. Whether you like it or not, you are a walking, talking brand. But you may say, “But I’m not trying to sell something?” My friend, you actually are, whether you like it or not.
The concept of a personal brand has been intrinsic within our headshot process. Wanting to look professional is good. But looking believable is better. Whereas there has been so much talk about perception, the crux of the matter in professional headshots is about believability - does your photo look and act like you in person?
While we can try to Google the definition of a personal brand, allow me to define it via a story.
A friend who is a successful business person commented on a media personality and said that she did not like her branding. To which I asked, "What do you mean?" She then replied, "You know, it all seems so pretentious." I can tell that my friend was probably not the target audience of that media personality. From that simple exchange, I can surmise a simple, working definition of a personal brand: the 'you' that naturally comes out in everyday life in which people connect to. It is consistent whether you are within your personal and professional circles.
This was the situation with our client from the educational sector. We asked her the purpose of this photo. She replied that she wanted to build her personal brand beyond the institution she works for as she has been considered an authority in her field. She meets people within her industry and the parents of their students as well so there has to be a consistency with what these audiences see. So with what we knew as her objective and her personality, we set out to do the shoot and the result is the one below.
During the shoot, we asked her how she felt about the gap in her teeth. She said she was totally fine with it. We appreciated her candour and confidence about a trait that some would tend to hide. What you see on the photo is exactly her in real life which is the essence of her personal brand and a personification of how we define what a personal brand should be - honest, confidence and engaging to the target audience.
Our personal brand is the silent salesman that goes with us wherever we go. It helps us connect with people that resonate with us. People nowadays are wary of being too sales-y and while that is true, we are always selling something to somebody - whether it be our ideas or service. The right buyers will always come along as long as they have established that they can trust what they see and what they get.