From One Photographer to Another: Why Your Personal Brand Matters
Before we dig into what your personal brand is and why it matters, it is very important to educate ourselves on some definitions:
Brand: “A person’s perception of a product, service, experience, or organization”
Brand Identity: “The outward expression of a brand, including its name, trademark, communications, and visual appearance”
Branding: “Any efforts or program to build a brand; the process of brand-building.”
Brand Steward: “The person responsible for developing and protecting a brand”
Brand Story: “The articulation of a brand as a narrative; a coherent set of messages that articulate the meaning of a brand.”
There are many different types of brands, and as wedding photographer, we can fall under many brand categories! Our brands can classify as entrepreneurial brands, corporate brands, employee brands, service brands, product brands and personal brands. Most of those brands speak for themselves, but what’s unique to creatives like us is that we have a personal brand. A personal brand is a brand that has been built around an individual. The individual is, in a way, defined as the brand as they promote themselves, their opportunities, and what they bring to the table. We can use our personal brands as a way to elevate ourselves above other brands because it is YOU who is delivering for them!
Who are you?
As you consider your personal brand, it’s important to consider who you are, what you value, how you want others to perceive you, what are you going to bring to the table on a wedding day, how are you going to interact with the wedding party and families? Yes, I’m Mikayla Bronkema and I’m also a wife and a mom and a daughter of the King, but I’m also Mikayla the person behind Mikayla Jean & Co. It’s become a huge part of me! You are the steward of your brand and therefore you should be your biggest brand advocateIt’s important to ensure that your clients and potential clients can clearly interpret your personal brand through what you are sharing on your social media platforms, website copy, and client communications while having it be consistent with what they actually experience with you on their wedding day.
It’s so important that you are letting your personality and your personal brand show through as you post and interact with others on social media. Of course you will share what you are selling, but sharing more than strictly business information is key to developing an authentic personal brand. Consider having 3-5 brand pillars that you alternate using as your caption focus. Maybe it’s a combination of sharing fun facts about yourself, sharing your faith, talking about tips & tricks (educational resources), interacting with followers and building relationships with others photographers (community). . Be a human, be intentional, be yourself!
PRO TIP: your profile picture should 100% be your face, not your logo
Your website is another place where your personal brand will shine through! You want the brand you create on your instagram or tiktok feed to be consistent with the brand you display on your website. Having a cohesive brand helps potential clients truly understand who you are and what you have to offer. It’s important to have copywriting on your website that actually sounds like you! It can be really tempting to try to sound like the other photographers you follow online, but it’s so important to be clear and consistent as you share your brand story so that your potential clients know that it’s YOU talking to them. If it takes time to find your own voice- that is a good thing!
Branding vs Marketing?
Branding is about making people feel something.
Marketing is about making people do something.
While finding a balance between branding and marketing, consider selling what you can do for somebody rather than selling yourself. For example, as a wedding photographer I’m not just delivering photos-I love to capture all that is timeless, personal, and playful! I’m giving people photographs that they can look back on for generations that they’ll pull out at family gatherings. I’m capturing photos that show authentic emotion in the moment. Instead of solely referring to the salesy details, use your personal brand to make people feel something and create a connection explaining how your unique brand will give them what they need.
As you strive to create a cohesive personal brand across your social media platforms, website, communications with clients, and actual wedding days, it’s so important to show up fully as yourself. One simple way to truly personalize your brand and make your business feel more you is by having updated brand photos. Your face is a huge part of your personal brand! You may have the most beautiful logo and branding suite ever, but while developing your personal brand identity, the face behind the name should be visible. I take branding photos that pull in your targeted audience with intention and individuality. Updated branding photos truly make your business more personal!
However…Your Brand Doesn’t Define You
Though this might feel contrary to what I have been saying all along- you are not just your brand. You get to define your personal brand but, that doesn’t mean it defines you as a person. It can feel extremely hard to create boundaries around your business and your personhood, but it is so important to do so. Incase you feel like your business is taking over your identity, I would encourage you to take a step back and see what other value you bring into the world and the lives of those around you. You are more than just a business owner! Annndddd, when you are able to make that healthy distinction, you will realize that any business set-back is not a personal set-back & any creative critique is not an identity crisis. If you are struggling with the difference between who you are and what you do, know that you are not alone. But, don’t just stay there. Read this post to learn about how to implement aspects of yourself into your brand without it becoming your identity.
Always in your corner-