The brand per­sona

The Shed - - Editorial - Lara Wyatt

‘The world is your mar­ket’ is be­com­ing an ever-in­creas­ingly rel­e­vant state­ment thanks to the in­ter­net. Once upon a time, you’d have had to pick up a phone or head along to a face-to­face meet­ing to in­tro­duce your­self and your work, whereas, th­ese days, hav­ing your own in­ter­net pres­ence and main­tain­ing a brand on­line, which oft-times is mar­ket­ing your­self, are a vi­tal as­pect in mak­ing sure you are kept at the top of po­ten­tial clients’ minds.

It’s a tricky bal­ance try­ing to walk the line of pro­mot­ing your work and mak­ing your ex­pe­ri­ence and knowl­edge known, and over­shar­ing too much of your non-re­lated-to-your-work life­style. There are an abun­dance of plat­forms that you need to keep tabs on ev­ery day through­out your day. Not only do you need to en­sure your web­site fea­tures the lat­est and great­est work to show­case your port­fo­lio to peo­ple search­ing for ex­am­ples of your cre­ations, but you may also have an ar­ray of so­cial-me­dia plat­forms on the go as well to let peo­ple know what you’re up to, what you’re work­ing on, and to show­case some of your lat­est works. It’s quite a time­con­sum­ing process, and it’s dif­fi­cult to sep­a­rate what is your ‘per­sonal’ life from your ‘work’ life. Some­times it may seem eas­ier to just roll ev­ery­thing into one and just have the one page — which this is where the brand per­sona co­nun­drum comes into play.

A ‘brand per­sona’ is all about the per­son­al­ity and at­ti­tude of your brand, which, in most sit­u­a­tions for pho­tog­ra­phers, the brand will be them­selves. You and your work are what you will usu­ally be try­ing to pitch to a client, so com­mu­ni­cat­ing your ‘brand’s’ val­ues and per­son­al­ity is vi­tal in as­sist­ing peo­ple to reach the de­ci­sion to pur­sue you as their pho­tog­ra­pher of choice to work on their up­com­ing projects. But, as you share, it is im­por­tant to keep track of what you’re shar­ing in terms of how it re­lates to your brand per­son­al­ity. If you’ve said from the start that you are go­ing to use your var­i­ous me­dia plat­forms to talk about your­self and what you do, where you go, who you see, and what you eat — not nec­es­sar­ily re­lat­ing th­ese things to what you’re work­ing on all of the time — then your brand per­sona may be con­fused with more of a per­sonal re­flec­tion; whereas, if you’re shar­ing pho­tos of what you’re work­ing on, who you’re work­ing with, be­hind-thescenes videos, and other types of me­dia that pro­mote you as a pho­tog­ra­pher, your brand will be a strong and in­ter­est­ing one to fol­low, whether it’s in blog form, via so­cial me­dia, on your web­site, e-news­let­ters, or makes use of the many other forms of com­mu­ni­ca­tion plat­forms avail­able.

For some, it may be a good idea to share on more of a per­sonal level with the au­di­ence, as then it would sug­gest that peo­ple would feel like they’re in­ter­act­ing with a per­son rather than just a brand or a name, or even a web team who go about cre­at­ing con­tent to share on a pho­tog­ra­pher’s be­half (in terms of videos, and Face­book posts, etc.). Per­son­ally, I like the idea of be­ing more ‘busi­ness ca­sual’ rather than ‘bar­beque ca­sual’ — that is, where you can still ex­press your ‘self’ and in­di­cate that it’s you do­ing all the work be­hind-the-scenes while not hav­ing to be best bud­dies with the peo­ple you are try­ing to spark an in­ter­est in work­ing with you. I feel like — on a pro­fes­sional plat­form — it’s bet­ter to save the what-I’m-cook­ing-for-din­ner posts for your real-life per­sonal friends, rather than let­ting a po­ten­tial em­ployer know your ev­ery move. The idea of per­son­al­iz­ing the con­tent that you share and putting your­self into those pro­fes­sional posts will be more ben­e­fi­cial to main­tain­ing a strong brand per­sona than shar­ing the per­sonal and in­ti­mate mo­ments of your life.

The way that you com­mu­ni­cate your brand via on­line plat­forms is one of those tightrope-walk­ing ex­pe­ri­ences that, as the in­ter­net con­tin­ues to bloom and grow, will con­tinue to be fine-tuned, in the process re­flect­ing that ev­ery­one’s in­di­vid­ual ex­pe­ri­ences and pref­er­ences are al­ways unique.

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