Jan 26, 2018 | Advice

Make your brand useful and it stops being purely promotional.

Worried you’ll turn into a mouthpiece who only promotes themselves and doesn’t actually do any work anymore? Take yourself out of your personal brand and watch it grow!

Last week we talked about the value of figuring out your personal brand – on your life and on your bottom line.

But we also talked about how getting into the world of branding can come with TWO big problems:

– It can end up being a massive time suck, a mini obsession, a[nother] way to procrastinate…
Or, how it can become really self promotional.

Let’s get really clear here; self promotional branding puts revenue first but building a real personal brand with integrity puts your clients or customers first.

So how do you define your personal brand and make it work for you without becoming a sleazy salesman?

You take yourself out of it.

Hah? I know, it’s your personal brand… So of course you’re in it?
Yes, but it’s not about you.

Giving your business a face and a real name builds your reputation, credibility and your trustability – it gives people, your clients someone to connect to. It’s not about you, it’s about them.

And that’s a massive realisation.
Honestly, something I’m really only coming to terms with on a real level recently.
As a creative, as someone who basically sells the product of my brain processes via a tool that can record light, it’s hard to separate myself from the feelings that go with that.

But it’s not about me. And it’s not about you either.

It’s about your customer, your client, your guest, you collaborator, the person who’s buying your service or product.
Do you do something that people need?
Do you do it well?
If the answer to those two questions is yes then you’re cheating people out of the chance to buy from you or work with you if you’re not promoting what you do.
The key thing to remember is that promotion with integrity builds a community of people who want to buy what you’re selling.

So don’t make it about you, make it about them. The people who want to buy your art, your photographs, your designs, your craft, your work, your services. Make your brand about being helpful or entertaining or inspirational – or all three.

I have some examples of this philosophy at work from three people I’ve worked with over the last few years, business women who put their clients and customers first always, who run a valuable business with integrity, that they promote through being a resource as well as a buyable service.

An awesome example of this is Tara Prendergast’s Bite The Biscuit community. A tribe of over 4,500 people already who are all the same space to get to know each other, inspire and support each other – and buy from each other. Tara’s brand is fun, bright and hard working. Just like her!

But it’s not about her.

Tara’s tireless work is to support creatives and help them to make money from what they do. The free Facebook group serves as resource and inspiration, and then she offers online courses in branding and marketing – this is something that people need. I need it! I’ve worked with Tara for two years now, and clearly I’ve been inspired by her in more than ways than one, #personalbrandingphotography!

Being a resource doesn’t mean giving away the farm

Another wonderful creative who puts her tribe first is Amanda Grace; she has a great Facebook group called Pilgrims On Deck

… an intentional community. A gathering of women, committed to standing strong and true and well, in this world.

The group is thriving and it serves its members so well. Pilgrims share resources and their journeys, Amanda shares resources and her offerings in a community of people who she knows are looking for, who need, her work.

This should be fun for you too

Another creative I’ve worked with who puts her pack first is Audrey from Pawtrait Ireland. The way she does this is she hosts Pawties a couple of times a year where her clients can get together in a dog-friendly location to hang out, eat & drink together. It strengthens her relationships with her clients, but it also means that they get to meet each other. The people you work with will probably have a lot in common, so why not get them together? Friendships, collaborations, shared advice and resources pour out from something like this; making it hugely rewarding for you and beneficial for your clients or customers.

(By the way, these events are ticketed too.)

What resources can you provide to your clients above and beyond the service you offer?

All images by Firechild Photography | Personal Branding Photographer Dublin, Ireland