Welcome to the HR blog. I'm a Sydney photographer, podcaster and brand strategist from the Northern Beaches and I'm so glad you're here! Feel free to grab yourself a peppermint tea - my drink of choice! - and enjoy viewing my latest work, browsing our brand and portrait resources, and getting a little peek into my life!
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I believe yes, branding does matter, and I’m going to answer these questions and help you understand why in this episode today.
As a personal branding photographer and self-confessed brand nerd, I’m always looking for ways to learn more about branding. Brand identity was my first role at IBM after I graduated from uni and throughout the years in business it’s remained something I’m really interested in and passionate about.
Recently I went to a personal branding workshop at General Assembly, which is an adult education company in London that runs nighttime workshops (they also have offices in Australia, the US, Hong Kong and Singapore). It was a really fun night where we talked about the basics of personal branding and what goes into building one.
The workshop facilitator, who’s name is Howard Kingston, described personal branding as ‘a desired perception’. A desired perception – think about that and what that means for a second. How do you desire to be perceived?
I loved that description, and I agree that distilled right down, that’s exactly what a brand is. And as a result, the process of brand-building is therefore all about proactively shaping the way you and your business are perceived in the marketplace.
Yep, you heard me right – “proactively shaping”. That means we get to influence how people perceive us. Because ultimately it’s your customers who perceive your brand as the sum of your customer service, identity, logo, value, and reputation – and when you’re intentional and thoughtful about what you’re putting out there for your customers to experience, you get to shape the perception that they form.
Which brings me back to what I said at the start of the episode, which is that whether you realise or not, and whether you care or not, you have a brand. We can’t escape it, much as we might like to try! As humans, we’re wired to organise our thoughts into categories, and we need to classify everything we experience into categories so we can better understand them.
Whether that be distinguishing species of animals apart from one another and deciding which one we’d want as a pet, or differentiating certain colours from each other and choosing our favourite based on how each colours makes us feel – the same principles apply to people and brands. Even if we like to think we don’t make judgements or perceptions of people, on a subconscious level we do – it’s just our way of mentally processing and organising our experiences so we can better understand and evaluate different options against one another.
And so what does that mean for you? Well, it means that, right now, in whatever way shape or form you’ve been showing up in your business, you already have a brand – planned or not – because people perceive you in a certain way.
If you think about it now – including everything from the communication of your purpose and values, your visual identity to the experience people get from all aspects of interacting with you on and offline – are you happy with the way you are perceived?
If you’re not sure how to answer that, let’s dig a little deeper into the implications of perception:
A strong and intentional brand can help you excel in your industry in all of these areas and more.
So here’s what intentional Branding can help you to do:
Okay, so now that we know what intentional branding can do for your business, let’s break down the elements of a brand so you can understand exactly what components are involved in a 360 degree complete brand.
Now, what’s the process of building a brand?
Once you understand how your intentional brand (or lack thereof) influences your business’ place in the market and ultimate success, you can use the parameters of brand building to create a plan that helps you and your business be seen in the exact way you want to be seen. the moire you act out on your plan, and consistency show up in all aspects in a way that supports your brand, the way your potential customers see you will change and grow for the better.
To do this, it’s a really good idea to create a brand plan that outlines all the aspects that we’ve covered today. Determine your purpose, your values, who your customers are and how you want to be seen first. Then flesh out your character and personality – the way your brand will express itself in the market. Once you’re clear on these steps, you can start to craft your visual identity, which is your logo, colours, typography, patterns and icons, to visually support and reinforce your purpose, promise, and personality. And when all those elements are determined, you can use this intel to help you show up and deliver an experience that’s consistent and in line with your brand!
You can either create a brand plan by yourself, or you can work with a brand strategist and consultant like myself 1:1 for a professional and objective view (and advice). Either way, I’ve created a free template resource for you to help you write down your own responses to everything we’ve covered today, and you’ll be able to download that right below.
Thank you so much for tuning in today guys! Have you found this episode helpful? If you have, come on over to Instagram @hayleyrichardsonphotography and share your thoughts on today’s episode with me! Thanks for tuning in, and I’m excited to bring you another episode next week.