Branding yourself is every bit as important as branding your company.
The same rules you adhere to with a company for maintaining relevant and fresh graphics and messaging need to be followed by individuals as well as part of your personal brand and image.
So how do you define your personal brand? Everything about you makes up your personal brand including but not limited to the people you surround yourself with, the activities you participate in, the charities you support, the clothes you wear, the car you drive, your passions, your ambitions and the way you speak. Most of these details about you are readily available to anyone through your Linkedin/facebook/twitter/instagram/pinterest account. If you care to know, figuring out where a person likes to eat, or what they do on the weekends is a fairly simple task. So be mindful of the image you project into the digital world because now more than ever what you say or do online defines who you are to the world. Just ask Anthony Weiner, he was a politician right?!?! Not sure that was the personal brand he wanted to have promoted.
This post is not about all the things that define your personal brand. Just one important and often neglected piece. The profile picture.
I recently realized myself that the images I had been using online on company materials no longer appropriately represented myself well. I had to make sure to put the right visuals in-place and had to do one of the most dreaded tasks for anyone that is a little shy in front of the lens, it was time for a photo shoot. The results are the images in the slideshow below. Big thanks to Rat Race Studios, I am very happy with the results and think they represent me very well. I decided to wear a three-piece suit for the shoot allowing me to pull together a few different looks in a very short time. Ditching the suit, tie and vest for half of the session resulted in the appearance of a slight wardrobe change. The more put-together shots will be perfect for my Linkedin page, and the more casual shots will be better suited on social channels like About.me.
I’ve never used an online dating service, I was married before they became popular, but your images found on your various social channels are being used by potential clients or employers much the same way a potential date on Match.com is. Social media has made it all too easy for all of us to peek-in on who this possible connection is long before an actual meeting has been scheduled.
How many times have you met for coffee with a new connection you’ve never met and been able to pick them out from the crowd the second you walk in the room? If you are doing your homework prior to the meeting, you’ve already visited their Linkedin profile, maybe accessed pieces of their facebook page or followed their twitter feed and not only know what former roles they have held/where they went to school/what their interests are but also (as long as their profile image is current) exactly what they look like today.
This is why the actual image is important, though this one piece is often neglected from your personal brand. Maybe I’m wrong, but isn’t how you look an important part of your personal brand? The clothes you wear, the colors, the fabrics, to shave or not to shave, these are all visuals that help new connections to identify if you are the kind of person they want to know better. In a business sense, your picture is your brand logo.
Again, the rest of the puzzle is almost complete when you fill out your profile and register yourself on the social channels you’re using. We know all about you, and if we follow your comments and updates we know even more, maybe more than you intended to make public, but your actual image is every bit as important.
This is not to say you should never revisit the biographical information you typed in when you first registered yourself. We are constantly reinventing ourselves and you should make sure new developments in your life are represented. Did you pick up a new hobby? Have you decided you like Jazz more than the Blues? People like to work with people they like. Having common interests can help facilitate that new and rewarding business connection you’re looking for.
Search me out online if you like. Let me know if what you find paints the kind of personal brand I want to project. What you should find is someone that loves music, cycling, marketing and photography; is a proud father and husband and really, really digs his Mini Cooper.
If you go so far as to run a google image search, the image in the unitard is not me. Apparently there is another, much younger Josh Fedie in the world that loves to wrestle.
Also, the guy with my exact same name in Wisconsin (Mugshot found here) Thats not me either…..
Here are the results:
Being the fashion loving person I am, I should mention the designers I am wearing in the photos. True fashion connoisseurs, please be nice in your comments. Suit and Shirt Banana Republic, Socks and Shoes Cole Haan, Tie and Pocket Square are from Hammer-Made. I cannot say enough good things about Jason Hammerberg of Hammer-Made. He creates great clothing. Check out his store in the galleria or online at www.HammerMade.com
If this post has left you feeling like your personal brand could use a little refresh, I would be happy to help you schedule a profile shot session with our photography studio. If enough interest is shown we might even set-aside a day for everybody to swing in and make a little party out of it.