Having a clear and consistent brand is vital to building a successful business, whether you run a small business or a really large one. According to Seth Godin, brand is “the set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product over another.” If you think about your favorite athletic shoe brand, for example, the brand might represent traits such as athleticism, performance, and strength to you. When you see the logo for that company, you automatically feel and think of these traits because of how the company presents its product. In short, you trust the company with your purchase of the shoes because the company has built a reliable presence and a good product. Personal branding is similar, but also slightly different. It relates to how consumers view “you”. YOU are your brand, which is often true for small businesses. Personal branding is marketing “you”, and describes the feeling consumers have about you as they encounter your business (you) in person, online or on social media. This is important for a few reasons.
Personal branding is tied to your “why”. The reason why you run your business and share your gifts with your community should drive how consumers view you online. If you are a cake artist and bake cakes for weddings because you value serving clients in an excellent and positive way with your artistic talent, your imagery may show you working on the intricacies of your art along with the details of the various processes you may use. Your headshots should support your why as well by illustrating your positivity and confidence.
Additionally, connection matters. Consumers often want to be able to relate to the people who own the business before they choose to hire them or purchase from them, especially when it is service related. Consumers do research. Therefore it is important to show up online in a positive and consistent manner or they will be less likely to trust you. Consistent usage of engaging and authentic branding imagery on social media and on your website can help to build connection. Connection online often has to happen before a client will be comfortable with idea of meeting with you or using your services.