Raising your Brand Image - Amanda Richardson Personal Brand Photos
branding image featuring woman in purple blazer holding cell phone, example of what to bring to a branding session

Raising your Brand Image

February 1, 2021

The secret to raising your brand image and perceived value to book more ideal clients.

Marketing research tells us that people make buying decisions either based on trust, on emotions and connection, or both. The artistry of using your brand images strategically and intentionally is powerful enough to build–or break–those connections and push clients from on the fence to booking. Raising your brand image is about consistent reinforcement of your expertise and value through purposeful image placement.

Like where this is headed? You’d love the Raise your Brand eMagzine!

 

Why does it matter what my brand looks like if I do great work?

 

For you to book the client, you first have to make a great impression.

 

When someone is searching for a product or service, they will compare you to your competitors, Pinterest-worthy ideals, and the brands that have professional marketing teams. People are bombarded with perfectly curated social media content and targeted ads all the time, raising the bar for captivating content. 

 

As a small business owner, appearing professional and experienced is critical to building trust. The care you put into your first impressions and client experience–including their visual experience–says that you are thorough, detail-oriented, intentional, and your work is not sloppy. 

 

Consistency in branding and appearance is a sign of a healthy business. It’s like having running water. You don’t really notice or appreciate it most of the time. But when it’s not there, you are suddenly aware! Even if your business is otherwise fantastic, people notice when you don’t take care of your online presence. 

collage of consistent personal brand imagery for female creative business owner in charlotte nc

Trust is everything

  • Neglecting your social media content diminishes trust.
  • Having busy images from multiple photography styles reduces trust.
  • Dimly lit cellphone photos in your portfolio kills trust. 

 

Your “old brand” is devaluing your “new brand” and killing your inquiry process!

 

Leaving outdated, inaccurate, or irrelevant content online is another way to break trust with potential clients and lose them in the booking process. Once a year, you should be evaluating your client workflow to find all the places people are hearing about you.

For example, what does your Google Business profile look like? Is there an unclaimed Yelp page floating out there? Do you have old blog posts with inactive sign up links on them? Are your headshots super dated? Are you using different headshots on each platform? It’s time to do a sweep! Update those business hours, services, and brand photos everywhere you see them each year. Keep a list of places where your information is published so your next audit is even quicker. This will ensure you are findable, recognizable, and look professional throughout the web. 

 

How does using brand imagery book more clients?

Consistency is the key to a strong online brand. Your headshots will only take you so far. Your ideal clients want to get to know the authentic you. Offering impactful images that show who you are and the story of your brand will grow your audience and build a quality online brand.

 

One

Professional branding tells your story and fosters connection

 

Your website makes it obvious what you offer. (If not, it should! What does the first paragraph say?) But remember, people buy into products or services when they feel a connection with the person behind the brand. Given two equal options, are you buying cupcakes from the baker you know nothing about, or the baker whose daughter named all their cupcake flavors after her favorite book series? This silly example shows how brand storytelling brings you more clients. People not only want to know more about the brands they support, they’ll pay more for the same services if they feel an emotional connection!

 

Two

It creates consistency that your competitors tend to lack

 

Most business owners are not also masters of visual branding, graphic design, and content marketing. These are three unique skills that it takes to pull off high end branding implementation. But making an effort will go a long way towards raising your brand image. The more put together you appear, the easier it will be to gain your client’s trust and help them recognize your value. 

 

Three

Branding imagery fills your content calendar with shareable images, saving you time and helping you plan ahead

 

Remember what I said about neglecting your social media presence? Getting out there and telling your story consistently is one of the ways you can build that emotional connection with your clients. Keep reminding them who you are, what you do, why you do it, and what makes you different–nay, better!–than your client’s alternative options. You are the one amazingly unique thing setting your business apart from others like it. Don’t be shy about that!

 

Four

It elevates your perceived value: raising your brand image

 

Personal brand imagery is an investment in yourself and your business. It enhances the client experience and raises the perceived value of your services. In the same way that clients are willing to pay more when they have an emotional connection to a brand, they’re also willing to pay more when they perceive a service as high-end, luxury, or more valuable. You create (or even degrade) value in the way that you present and talk about yourself and your business. 

behind the scenes branding photos of NC small business

Your client experience is everything, and first impressions are fast!

 

It takes the average person seven interactions with a brand before they make a purchase. Seven seems like a lot, but today, most of these are quick digital exchanges. 

 

  1. The first time they see your content online shared by a friend, they follow
  2. They see your social media post the next day
  3. They view your Instagram story, prompting them to sign up for your email list
  4. The potential lead gets your email one day, and clicks through to your website
  5. They reply to your email, and you reply back
  6. You set up a consult call and send them a follow up
  7. They want to book, so you send your contract and invoice along with a welcome packet

Evaluate your inquiry process

Everyone’s “seven touches” will look different, and you probably have multiple paths to becoming a customer in your business. Evaluate how people find and book you. Ask yourself:

  • What does my customer experience look like?
  • What do they see and experience?

The visual elements, verbiage, and information should be consistent, on-brand, and clear. Otherwise, it’s easy for a potential customer to get turned off by the inconsistency and not progress to the next step. 

 

For example, if I inquired with a business I was familiar with, and received an email back with a signature that didn’t identify them, had a headshot that looked really outdated–or like it might be someone else!–I would be confused. You never want to give clients a reason to second guess booking with you, even if it’s just a surface level impression. 

small business personal branding photo session charlotte nc

Places to start implementing your personal branding photos today

 

Thinking about how your clients find and book you, write down some places where you haven’t personalized your appearance but would like to. Here are some often forgotten places you can implement personal brand imagery to raise your overall brand image right now:

 

  1. Your email signature line:
    Include a headshot to personalize your signature and stay memorable! I recommend WiseStamp for customized visual signatures.
  2. The often forgotten Google my Business photo library:
    Upload a photo of your team to Google my Business so you immediately make a connection with those who are finding you organically on Google.
  3. A “behind the scenes” album on Facebook or highlight on Instagram:
    Save some behind the scenes content where new followers can easily find it and flip through to educate themselves about your processes.
  4. Your proposals and invoices:
    These documents do NOT have to be plain! Spice things up by including a few images.
  5. And of course, all throughout your website:
    Curate the images on your website to highlight the whole story of your brand, rather than just your products. Be careful–it’s easy to add too much content and make a website look busy and distracting. Focus on clean, intentional placement. If you’re not sure how to do this, I can help!

Support after your personal branding session

It is really common for clients to be super excited about their new personal branding images, but not know how to use them correctly. I want to support my client’s businesses and see them grow. This means now just taking your photos, but giving you actionable steps towards raising your brand image, increasing your value, and being more successful. I offer support after your personal branding session in order to help you make the most out of your investment in your brand. Just reach out!

  1. […] you cards, and more. These additional touches are opportunities to raise your brand image (link: https://amandarichardsonphoto.com/2021/02/01/raising-your-brand-image/) and continue to show your preparedness, professionalism, and individualism throughout the booking […]

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