Branding is a HUGE passion of mine.
It took me several years working as a photographer before I finally understood that my branding wasn’t just my logo, that when it comes to carving out a successful and rewarding business, there is literally NOTHING more important than your brand. As soon as I twigged what branding actually is and how crucial it is, I made it my mission to learn as much about it as possible. Over the last three years I spent huge amounts of time and money completing online branding courses and diplomas, and devoured branding books and resources. It was hands down the best thing I’ve ever done for my business.
WHY AM I SO PASSIONATE ABOUT BRANDING?
In life, I’m passionate about personality, character, honesty, energy, stories, dreams, values… all the powerful, incredibly personal stuff that makes one person different to the next, what makes them unique and magnetic. For me, the joy of photography has always been capturing exactly this.
Branding is, quite simply, all of this applied to your business. I’m passionate about helping individuals connect their business with their own unique personality, stories and values to develop a business whose character is as unique as they are. As a result I see them magnetise likeminded people to work with and see them enjoy the huge rewards and satisfaction that come with that. Personality is, and always has been, the thing that interests me the most about other people, it’s the thing that I always look for in my photography, and so branding – finding, developing and enjoying your business’ unique personality – just goes hand in hand with all that. For myself and for others, I don’t just want a business that’s a bill-payer, a menu of products… I want it to matter, to have depth and meaning and purpose, I want it to bring joy to people, to serve them. I want my business to make a difference. Getting clear on your branding is how you achieve all this.
SO WHAT ISN’T A BRAND?
There are SO many misconceptions about branding. It’s not a logo, it’s not a font, it’s not a colour scheme, a pattern, your website or your business cards. Those are just the VISUAL aspects of your brand, the tip of the iceberg, the tangible aspects people can actually see. They’re of course extremely important as they’ll be responsible for a huge proportion of people’s first impressions of your business. But if you think of your business as like a person, they are just the clothing… and clearly we’re so much more than the clothes we wear. So many people just concern themselves with the ‘clothing’ and forget to look at what’s inside – and end up ‘dressing’ their business in clothes that don’t suit them and that don’t reflect the personality underneath, inadvertently attracting the wrong clients and putting out confusing messages about what their business is all about. Many even neglect to look at what’s ‘inside’ at all, creating a business that’s like an empty person, dressed nicely but with no discernible personality (and who’s going to be drawn towards someone like that?)
SO WHAT IS A BRAND?
The vast majority of your brand is the ‘rest’ of the iceberg under the surface, the personality under the ‘clothes’. Most of your brand is invisible and conceptual, what’s going on INSIDE, in the heart and head of your business. Your brand IS your business, its life-force, its identity. It’s how clients and potential clients connect with you, it’s why they love you, it’s what they hold in their minds when they think of you, it’s what makes you unique, it’s what sets you apart from others. It’s what makes others look at your business and say YES! THIS IS THE ONE FOR ME.
IS IT EASY TO DEVELOP MY BRAND?
To find and develop your brand is to commit to understanding and developing the true value of your business – done properly, it’s a transformational process of self-discovery, it’s emotional and meaningful at the same time as being powerfully strategic and purposeful. It’s all about finding your ‘legacy’, what you’ll leave behind. As such, it’s not always easy and can require a huge amount of soul-searching and rethinking… but there’ll never be anything more rewarding and positive you can do for your business – it’s worth every second.
WHERE DO I FIND MY BRAND?
So many people look OUTWARD when designing their business and brand – what are others doing? What are industry norms? Who in your industry do you admire? But for your business to truly succeed and flourish, you need to look INWARDS. You must root it in your own genuine personal strengths, passions, values and purpose. YOU are your brand, and your brand must grow from YOU. Your brand is your business’ personality. Just as you can’t look to other people to tell you what your personality should be, neither should you look to other businesses to tell you what your brand should be.
WHAT DO I NEED TO ASK MYSELF TO FIND MY BRAND?
You need to examine your own ambitions, dreams, beliefs, values, desires and passions. Look at the forces that drive you and your goals, things that propel you to work late into the evening, things that light you up when you talk about them. You need to figure out what is unique and special about you (and I guarantee there WILL be things that are) – what will others love about you? What will make them connect with you? When you start to root your brand in your own life, personality and stories, your business starts to really come alive and become so much more than just a ‘business’. Grow your brand from YOU.
I hope you’ve found some nuggets in here that have got you thinking about your own unique brand and how you can strengthen and grow it.
If you’d like to properly explore your own brand personality in detail, please do check out my online group course for photographers – THE GAME PLAN – the first three modules contain extensive branding strategy advice and resources, including:
– Auditing your existing brand
– Discovering your own unique strengths and passions
– Getting clarity on your purpose, core values and guiding messages
– Magnetising your ideal client by understanding and communicating your brand’s value to them
We also cover MARKETING and PRODUCTIVITY in depth, as well as heaps of other useful stuff – think of it like your photography business’ annual MOT, service and roadmap 🙂
Make sure you’re on the mailing list to be the first to hear about any course availability, as well as exclusive special offers and priority booking 🙂
Hope you’ve found this all useful and that I’ve helped you to enjoy carving out your own unique brand!