Creating your brand guidelines
Do some research and collate logos, fonts, colours, adverts, photographs, textures, patterns, shapes that appeal to you or would appeal to your ideal client.
Look at everything you’ve collected and review against your brief. Start grouping common themes/areas and note any overlap or patterns. Discard anything that doesn’t fit the brief.
Start to build a picture that reflects your brand. Does it fit your values and the feelings you want to evoke?
If nothing feels it fits your brief, then revisit it – did you get it right or is your research suggesting you need to revise it?
Pick a couple of ideas and try them out! Draw simple ideas, pick a palette of colours and try them out. Big blocks of colour look nice on a page, but might not be strong enough to use in type for example. Write your elevator pitch out in your chosen fonts and colours and see how it feels.
Create a collage (mood board) of your brand so far and stick it up on the wall and view from the other side of the room. Leave it 24hrs and come back to it. Does it still excite you?
Write it down! If you’ve found fonts you like, note where you found them (and check the licencing). Write down the colour references, you will constantly need these! Thought of any useful phrases to describe your business? Write them down, they’re easily forgotten! If you’ve made a logo, make sure you label the file correctly and either delete or file away all previous versions. There should only be 1 version of the final logo.
All of this will form the basis of your brand guide. If you ever do a collaboration, work with a designer or web developer, you’ll be able to hand this straight over!
Now bring your brand to life
Now that you understand your brand: who you are, who you’re for and incredibly importantly why they want/need you rather than someone else you can use this information to build your website, guide your social media, blogs, business cards… you name it, this is the core of everything.
You’ve spent a lot of time creating a detailed brand document that speaks to your target clients and understand the business you need to run in order to achieve your goals, so how will you communicate with them?
The key to building trust with your audience is doing what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it and being consistent whilst you deliver it.
Consistency isn’t just about using the same fonts, colours and graphics although that is vital for brand recognition. To build trust you need to always feel the same, no matter where your audience comes into contact with you. Be that in person, on your website, LinkedIn, Instagram or somewhere else. Keeping your messages consisent will ensure that your audience can put you in the ‘trusted’ category. Your messing is always on brand and your general vibe is the same no matter where they meet you. Varying tone, energy and messaging can cause confusion which quickly erodes trust - don’t go there! I wrote about how authenticity + consistency = clients a while back if you’d like a read.
Personal Branding Photography
You’ve spent a lot of time understanding how you’re different and why your clients need you instead of your competition. You’re ready to show up fort them so they can choose you. Great copy is always important but most of us have the attention span of a goldfish these days and bounce away from a website in less than 20 seconds if it doesn’t immediately look like its what we’re looking for.
A picture says 1000 words allegedly so get yours saying what you need them to say to buy you enough time to fill in the blanks!
Don’t be afraid to be different - that’s the point!
I believed there’s a common misconception at the moment about personal branding and we’re in danger of becoming so homogenised that it’ll have the opposite of it’s intended effect.
Personal branding photography is designed to show you and your business in a way that helps you and your messaging resonate with your target clients. Its supposed to help you stand out from the crowd so that you can be uniquely and identifiably you.
So why is everyone arranging identikit photoshoots?! What’s the point of having similar images in similar locations to everyone else? How does this help you stand out? It doesn’t!
How to avoid it happening to you
When you’re arranging your own session have a think about what you need from it and don’t be afraid to test your photographer to make sure that they’ll do what you need them to do for you. If you think you’ll be another lookalike client on their website then start again with someone else.