Putting your brand under a microscope seems like tough, uncomfortable work. I can attest to that! When I first started out, I didn't bother with this. I figured “why would I need to take the same business planning steps as large companies?” I’m only working for myself. And the longer I put off this task, the more daunting it became. But do you know what? It's actually not as terrifying as I thought it would be.
Creating a mission statement, identifying your brand values, and recognizing your ideal audience not only give you more confidence in your business, but knowing these can also help you carve your path forward and seek out projects and people that will help you grow, spending time nurturing relationships that truly matter.
Before booking a personal branding photography session take a moment to explore the following, if you haven’t already.
1. Mission statement
I have to admit that writing a mission statement was kind of scary at first. It seemed so formal to me and that I was taking myself too seriously, but in reality it took only a few minutes and it's actually identified direction in aspects of my business. Plus, it really can be quite easy to create. Ask yourself the following questions:
Who are you?
What do you do?
Who are you for?
What problem do you solve?
You’re welcome to use mine as a reference to help you shape yours.
Wild Kind Photography creates vibrant, authentic, images for creative eco-minded women to grow their brands by sharing their stories and connecting with their ideal clients through personal branding and remote product photography.
2. Identify your ideal clients
You may have scratched the surface of this when writing your mission statement but I encourage you to dive deeper.
If you have a look at my mission statement, you'll see that I want to work with creative women in business, and from that you can glean some potential characteristics. It's likely that my ideal clients are strong, independent women who love color, or have bright personalities, among many other things!
Figuring this out will help you build stories within your marketing that speak to your ideal audience, and connect with them on a level that will keep them coming back.
3. Pinpoint your brand values
If this sounds challenging to identify at first, ask yourself these questions:
What traits are you most proud of in your business?
How do others describe the work you do, or how you do it?
What do you want to convey to your clients?
These answers are vital in determining how you want to broadcast your story and which consumers you want to connect with. Sharing these values build community, which can increase your customer base, as well as invoke brand loyalty by being your honest, true self.
For instance, these are my values and how I reflect them in my biz:
Authenticity – working with those are happy to be filter-free
I do this by showing up authentically, and sharing my truth
Philanthropy – giving back by fighting climate change
I donate trees for every branding session booked
Compassion – love and gratitude are part of my daily practice
I live a vegan lifestyle and reflect on what I’m grateful for daily
Approachability – speaking in anti-stuffy, relatable language
I try to create everything I say as if we’re having an informal chat
FUN – because if you don’t have fun with it, what’s the point of it all?
I share photos of me having a good time, not taking myself too seriously
4. Appeal to those clients
Putting yourself, as well as the values you've identified, out there to start attracting beautiful souls, is the best way to appeal to your ideal clients. As they say, YOU are what makes your brand unique, so fly your flag, shake your booty, and leave it all on the field. Your people will find you if they love what you're about.
For instance, in my hippie heart of hearts, I know that I want to focus my work with eco-friendly brands. I've put this out there, right on my website header and business cards where I feature a young woman carrying an anti-animal cruelty tote (compassionate and environmentally conscious), against a bright, vibrant background (playful and happy with bright colors), using documentary photography to capture her enjoying a walk (authenticity and approachability), rather than throwing her into uncomfortable poses that have nothing to do with the story. These are all done in obvious yet understated ways to demonstrate the types of shoots I do, clients traits I seek, and values I represent.