The brand persona
‘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.