Your public persona is your brand, and what has molded it is your audience's perceptions over time. But what have you done to leverage your network? The relationships you have created are based on your work, how you step into the role as a leader, and most importantly, how you perceive yourself.
If you are ready to make a more significant impact, you must become aware of these relationships that help mold you and your public persona.
Here are four ways to leverage your network
How do you perceive your competition?
First, research your competition to understand how different you are from them rather than how worse they are than you. This is always the best course of action. The purpose In my opinion, it's just sleazy to bad-mouth your competition. Maybe that's just me and what I advocate as a brand. However, the point here is to understand and develop a brand that is unique to you. Suppose you do it better than someone else; that is great. However, that is also relative based on the audience you want to attract.
Second, use them as a resource. I love the work of many photographers I know personally and those I admire from a distance. I get loads of inspiration from them. Sue Bryce, Lindsey Adler, and another brandphotographers have given me many techniques and business development tools that have helped me grow as a photographer and business owner. Andrea Fine is an excellent local photographer who specializes in modern glamour. We have become friends and traded services to have professional portraits, not taken by ourselves.
When you state your unique character and attributes, you share your value as a service provider. You appear more genuine and present yourself with more integrity. In a competitive society and marketing playfield, you'll be more liked if you give positive shout-outs to your competitors. You share a similar audience, providing you with better outreach.
What is your relationship with other brands?
We focus much on the brands that compete with us and strategize how we can appear different from them. However, we forget about the other brands that complement us. Building relationships with these brands and potentially partnering with them is essential. This can really help grow your business.
Think about other companies that are looking for similar customers as your brand. Advocating these kinds of brands will put you right in front of your potential customer. Also, think of other brands that work as an accessory to your own product or service. Boasting other brands as a "must-have" will get you further reach and recognition.
I currently partner with a fantastic Makeup Artist, Tami Bernard Makeup, and a Style Consultant, Pam Baczuk of Smartly Elegant. I’ve also held events and partnered with lifestyle and sustainable brands such as Parker Clay.
Understanding your relationship with yourself.
Knowing yourself is the first step in confidently sharing who you are with the world. Your brand is communicated through stories. A solid personal brand will share its value with the world by telling its “Why.” Why do they do what they do? Also, by sharing the moments that brought them to where they are, how they work with and help their customers, and all the successes and failures they have experienced. The point is to be okay with your identity and not be afraid to share it. We are all brilliant soles having a miraculous human experience.
You can create your Image any way you want. But compassion for yourself and striving to improve yourself are critical to your personal growth. Being okay with your true self and understanding how you want to be seen by your audience is a good beginning. To become a solid brand, you need to be that brand. Once it is defined, you must walk into its shoes and live it.
Cultivating your relationship with your fans.
A brand is developed by people who view it, interact with it, and make their opinion about it. If this is the case, your relationship with potential customers significantly impacts building your brand.
The way you speak to people and share your ideas, whether sharing online or talking live at a venue, communicates your knowledge, your personality, your values, and much more. Understanding your relationship with your fan base will enable you to find your authentic voice.
Be sure to be creative with your content that engages and informs. Your fans want you to succeed, so ask them for feedback. Fans want to see your customers and your most engaged fans rewarded. They want to know how you give back, not only to your network but your community. And always show appreciation to your fans when you can.
This final step requires understanding how your audience sees you from every touchpoint. In-person > social media > giveaways > website > consultation scheduling > email communication > follow-up contact> client communication > client work > client follow-up. Of course, these are unique to each business. All of these areas must share your value and your voice and provide the experience you want to give your customers from start to finish.
If you need help to develop your Brand Image, set up a Brand Strategy Session today!