One of my favourite marketing minds is Terry O’Reilly of CBC’s Under the Influence. A recent episode was called Selling Yourself: The Art of Personal Branding.
I’ve reached out to Terry and have his permission to paraphrase some of his points from this episode.
These days, everyone is a brand.
You are unique, you have a skill set to offer the world. Friends and employers have an opinion about you. That is the general definition of a brand.
But smart brands know exactly who they are. One of the first things he tells clients is to do a review of every single touch-point you have with customers.
The reason is to make sure there is a consistency at every intersection. That every aspect of a company is professional, and that it accurately reflects the identity of the organization. To make sure there are no gaping holes.
A company has a multitude of communication points – it could be a website, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, advertising, business cards, a storefront and even what people hear when they call and are put on hold.
So Terry says – think of all those touch-points as tasty items on a shish-kabob. There is a piece of beef, a piece of chicken, a tomato, a green pepper and a mushroom. All different, each with a unique taste and function.
But here’s the important part – all these things are held together by a skewer. And that skewer is a consistent tone of voice. In other words, everything should feel like it’s coming from the same place. The same rule applies to branding people.
You or your company have a website, a Facebook page, a Twitter account. You write blogs, you post items online, etc.
Terry explains the different touch points in his podcast but the one I want to talk about is that profile picture.
In advertising, this would be the product shot. Visually, it’s the most important part of a commercial. More time and care is put into a product shot than any other moment in a typical commercial. Nothing makes people want to buy more than a beautiful photograph of the product. The same applies to your profile picture.
Face perception is one of the most highly developed skills in humans. It influences how people judge trustworthiness, enthusiasm and competence.
Take searching for a job for example. It’s critical to not only have a profile photo but to ensure it says the right thing about you. You are seven times more likely to be considered for a job if you have one. It’s like selling a house – if there’s no photo – you wonder what’s wrong.
Many people choose scenery, kooky pictures or Twitter’s default “egg” profile shots – all fine – as long as you’re not hoping to look professional.
At HEADshotphotos.ca we use two techniques to ensure your image represents your brand.
First: We get a good camera! That’s a given and be rest assured we aren’t using iPhones to get these HEADshots. We have a ‘look’. Browse our website and this is what you can expect.
Second: Psychology. Yes… psychology. If we are trying to make sure someone has a certain perception of you as a brand we need to be able to pull that brand out of you and show it in your Headshot. Sometimes that takes a psychologist. Are we confident? Friendly, approachable, authoritative? Do we look like we know what we’re doing? What do we want your image to say about you and your brand? We’ll spend some time on this because we aren’t just ‘taking a picture of you’. We are developing your branding. That’s important. After all YOU are the product shot and like Terry says… nothing makes people want to buy more than a beautiful product shot.
If you are serious about your brand contact me here. We’ll get a great product shot of you.
To hear Terry’s Under the Influence full episode click here. It’s definitely worth the listen.