Is That The Real You?

You have seen them – pictures of people on their websites, social networking sites, brochures and business cards. When you meet them in person there is a disconnect, the image they use to support their brand does not match the reality.

Here are some examples:

– The images show someone with a full of head of hair – the reality is someone who doesn’t have a full head of hair.

– The images show someone who is sleek and slender – the reality is someone who has gained weight.

– The images show a young vibrant person participating in sports or other activities – the reality is someone who has aged 20 years.

– The images show a glamorous young woman – the reality is a mature woman who is probably still beautiful.

As a photographer and marketing professional who helps people build the images for their brand I see this disconnect quite often. People come up to me and show me their business card and ask, “What do you think of my picture?” I usually say “That is a nice image” and more often than not I follow it with “When you are ready to update your images to reinforce your brand let me know, I would love to see if I can help you out”

Don’t get me wrong, there are times and situations where the disconnect between the image and the reality may actually reinforce your brand. Something like “I have lost all of my hair in the many years I have been doing the worrying and stressing for my clients – that is what they pay me for”. For most of us this may not be the case.

I did a quick market research project by asking several people what they thought when they saw the disconnect from the images on a business card from the reality of what the person really looked like. Some of the responses surprised me and I thought some were quite harsh like:

– “I think this is dishonest”

– “I don’t know if I would trust this person”

– “It shows that they are insecure in who they are”

– “I don’t know if I would do business with them”

– “I don’t know if I would hire them.

Your physical images are an important part of your brand. Make sure that your images reinforce your brand and don’t create a disconnect. Here are some things to keep in mind for Your Brand Images:

– Be yourself, be honest, be genuine – you will be rewarded.

– Be proud of yourself, this will make you more confident and it will show.

– Think creatively about how you want your image to support your brand.

– A good photographer can bring out your best and show you in a great light.

– If you don’t have a good photographer – get one!

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About Neil McKenzie

Neil McKenzie is an author, educator and consultant to artists and arts organizations. He is the author of The Artist’s Business and Marketing ToolBox – How to Start, Run and Market a Successful Arts or Creative Business available in softcover from Barnes & Noble and Amazon and as an eBook from iTunes, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. He has developed and teaches the course “Artrepreneurship” at the Center for Innovation at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and is also a visiting professor at University College at the University of Denver. Neil has over 30 years’ experience as a management consultant and marketing executive, working with some of the world’s top brands. Neil is a frequent lecturer to artists and arts organizations, a guest columnist for Colorado Biz Magazine, where he covers the creative sector of the economy, and the author of several articles for Americans for the Arts, a national arts organization. Follow Neil on Twitter: @neilmckenzphoto