“How do I avoid looking like everyone else online?” It’s a question I hear often from my brand photography clients. If you’re wondering the same thing, you’re in the right place! In this post, you’re going to learn 3 steps you must take in order to create an original personal brand. Because I’m a brand photographer and educator, we’re going to focus on your visuals in this post. But trust me when I say all of these principles and action steps will transform every facet of your brand. Ready to learn the exact steps you need to take to create an original personal brand?
P.S. I’m diving DEEP into each of these 3 steps in my new online course. If you could use some extra help in creating your original personal brand and need accountability to make it happen, join us here.
Take these 3 actions to create an original personal brand
1. Craft Your Vision
First, you need to craft a vision of what you want your brand to be. This step doesn’t merely involve mood-boarding and daydreaming (though that is the most fun part!). Before committing to a certain look or feel for your brand, you must welcome where you are. What do I mean by that? I mean that you have to accept your insecurities, doubts, and fears about creating a personal brand. As tempting as it sounds, you can’t skip this step! Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you hesitant to show your face on social media?
- Do you absolutely cringe at the thought of posing in front of a camera?
- Do your insecurities (you know the ones) hold you back from taking steps towards your goals?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, practice letting unproductive thoughts go. Simply acknowledging them will take you in the right direction. The euphoric payoff of creating a brand that is all yours will help to quiet your fears.
Let’s now shift to something a bit more hands-on. In order to craft the vision of your personal brand, you need to take inventory of your business to figure out what visual content you need to create. Take a look at your social media platforms, your website, your products, and any other marketing materials you use. Where are you missing content? What could be improved? How could you more clearly explain something with a photo or graphic?
And finally, the super fun part of crafting your vision: getting creative. This is where you can let your creativity run free, creating mood boards and gathering inspiration. My biggest tip here is to take inspiration from everywhere, not just other brand photos. Gather colors, textures, quotes, and designs. It might not make sense as you pin and collect, but once you take a step back you’ll likely see patterns emerge.
2. Formulate a Plan
Now that you’ve dreamed up your original personal branding, you need a plan. If you look at my website and blog for 5 seconds you’ll realize that I love planning, but I know it doesn’t come naturally to a lot of people. So, I’m here to lay out a plan for you! Here are 3 things to plan before you execute your vision.
First, you need to create your strategy. This means developing and defining the brand stories you can tell visually. Do you have an origin story that explains why you started your business? Plan to tell that story in photos. You can also make a list of upcoming business goals, and brainstorm how your photos can help you reach those goals faster.
Next, you need to assemble your team and ask for help. Hire a team, enlist your employees, or ask friends to help you execute your vision. You’ll definitely need a brand photographer (hello!) at minimum. But there are a slew of other vendors that can help take your brand to the next level (not to mention reduce your stress levels!). Think: a hair and makeup artist, wardrobe stylist, videographer, or a friend that can pose as a “client” in your shots.
And finally (my favorite part!), you need a plan for styling your visual brand. Here, you’ll want to come up with a list of on-brand props, locations, and even songs that will get you in the zone on shoot day. Be sure to keep variety in mind as you plan as well. Plan on wearing a few different outfits and shooting in 2-3 different spaces (even if they’re in the same home, venue, or street!). You can also create a checklist for the day of your shoot so that you arrive feeling prepped and don’t forget anything.
3. Take Action
Finally, it’s time to put it all together. You’re not going to sit on your great ideas and the incredible vision for your brand. You’re going to make it ALL happen. And in order to make it all happen, you need to put your plan on paper and communicate it to your brand photographer and collaborators. Just use a simple Google doc or if you want to get really fancy, a Canva presentation! Include your inspiration, information about your brand, shot list, wardrobe ideas, and a prop list. Get feedback and see how it resonates with your team or a friend.
Next, you’re going to master your marketing. Remember when you took inventory of your business in step 1? Using your brand new ah-mazing brand photos, you’re going to start filling in the gaps. Fill your website, social media planner tool, and newsletters to the brim with your new photos. Go a step beyond and use your photos as inspiration for captions and ways to establish yourself as an expert.
Lastly, it’s time to expand your brand. Armed with the newfound knowledge, experience, and straight-up vision you have for your brand, repeat this entire process over and over to create content that speaks to your brand, and your brand only. By focusing on your own vision, business goals, marketing needs, styling, and strategy, you’ll ensure your brand is original and unique to your business.
Let’s Wrap It Up!
Now that you’ve learned exactly what steps you need to create an original personal brand, are you ready to do this thing? When you thoughtfully craft your vision, formulate a plan, and take action, you will set yourself up to create a brand unlike anyone else’s. You won’t just stand out from the competition, you’ll separate yourself. And that sounds like a great place to be, right!?
P.S. If this all feels a little overwhelming, I’ve got you. Join the waitlist for my online course here. I’m taking you through every single one of these steps to create strategic brand photos (not just pretty ones). This means more money in your pocket and more impact on your customers!