By Joe Anzalone
When you think of branding, you might think of the basics: a fantastic logo, a clever tagline, a carefully chosen color palette.
But in reality, branding goes way beyond your marketing “stuff.”
It’s the emotional connection you create with your clients.
In case you didn’t know it, YOU are your brand.
Here’s an explanation of what a brand is by Seth Godin:
“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service or over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.”
The only thing missing in that explanation is “or CHOOSE A PERSON”, and that person is YOU!
YOUR HEADSHOT IS YOUR PERSONAL LOGO FOR YOUR BRAND
There’s a reason logos can cost on the order of up to $211,000,000 (that’s right, $211 million) or more. It matters. A LOT. So I’ll repeat again; YOUR HEADSHOT is your “personal” logo for your brand.
YOUR BRAND HAS A SHELF LIFE
If you’re that person who uses a photo of yourself that is five years old, or 20 years old—or even older—thinking that you actually still look like that today, that ship has sailed and you have completely exhausted the picture’s shelf life. If that’s you, what do you do when you meet your potential client that thinks they are meeting the person in that photo and you show up looking different? Bait and switch?
If you’re not comfortable with what you look like today but are holding on to the “old” 90’s or early millennial version of you, do you think this will instill confidence from this person?
FACT 1: Every Facebook and social media page requires (well asks for) a photo.
It is vitally important to both your professional and personal life to portray yourself as you are today, not how you were. That being said, YOU need to look your best!
(ON A PERSONAL PERSONAL NOTE: I don’t connect with PEOPLE on social media that do not have a picture of themselves on their social media page. I need to know who you are or I won’t connect. Why are you hiding?)
FACT 2: In order to be associated with something, or a look, it usually takes having done or seen numerous times, and over a lengthy period of time, usually six to 12 months.
FACT 3: The more people see your headshot, the more familiar they become with you. The headshot photo you have posted will determine within three seconds whether that person seeing you will want to be associated with you.
HERE ARE SOME COMMON PROBLEMS WITH HEADSHOTS
Let’s be honest. Most headshots on the web are not flattering. And I’m not talking about your “attractiveness.” I’m talking about the quality of the photo. Attractive people can look terrible in photos and vice versa.
For example, I randomly find people using unflattering selfies, images of themselves from parties, snapshots with significant others or friends, their cat or dog, even their favorite foods. These are just a few classic examples of poor photos to use when trying to brand yourself. Sadly, there are a huge number of business people using something like these examples on their business social media pages. Seriously.
LET’S GET REALLY SERIOUS HERE
The importance of a great business headshot is that it is essentially one of the most valuable tools that you can use to build trust in YOU as an individual.
People connect with people. People hire people. Make sure you ALWAYS put your best image out there!
So Why DO YOU NEED a GREAT Headshot?
- It shows dedication and commitment. 2. It makes you memorable. 3. It gives clients all the right feels about you. 4. It’s un-copy-able, period. 5. It permeates WHO YOU ARE.
A competitor can stalk everything you do, but they can’t recreate you because they’re not you. If your brand, more specifically your headshot is strong, people will remember you and identify you in ANY form of social media, on any website, or publication!
Your brand is more than just about the company logo — it’s the way clients perceive you, your business, and the likelihood they’ll think of you FIRST when it’s time to make a decision.
The Most Important Reason: IT CAN SINGLE-HANDEDLY HELP BUILD TRUST!
YOU ARE YOUR BRAND
No matter what your position is in your company, you are either representing yourself, or the company/organization you work for. The images of your products, your company logo, and all the collateral marketing materials, are helping to brand your business.
But what about you? Is your current headshot representing you correctly? If not, do you think you are branding yourself properly?
A GOOD RULE OF THUMB
If you do business, you should update your headshot regularly. If you get a new hair style, hair color, lose weight (gain weight), dental work, new wardrobe, almost anything that changes your appearance, you need to re-tool and get a new headshot. Even if these changes don’t apply to you, every two years is about the shelf life of that headshot.
If you’re an actor, you need to do this every six to twelve months religiously.
This small regular INVESTMENT in YOU will without a doubt pay dividends!
SO I LEAVE YOU WITH THIS ONE QUESTION?
If you’re a banker, Realtor, financial advisor, accountant, attorney, car salesman, or are someone in a service related business, etc., people are typically going to be spending with YOU or trusting YOU with thousands, hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of their hard-earned dollars. Do you really think your selfie, cell-phone picture, or party photo bomb is going to convince them you are serious about what you do?
Joe has been creating great headshots for more than 25 years. Read more about him and see more of his work here: http://www.josephanzalone.photography