Personal branding – the importance of what people see

Guest Post by Lauren Smit of Lauren Graphics

Lauren Graphics is a graphic design and social media management company, specialising in helping companies and individuals to attract ideal clients through the power of the individual brand. In this guest article Lauren discusses how all of us have a personal brand (whether we like it or not!) and how we can use this to get the opportunities we want.

What’s really amazing about us as humans is that we have extremely vivid imaginations and we can come up with an opinion of someone with little to no context at all. If we are given an image, an object and a situation our minds immediately fill in the blanks for us. The downside is that if we don’t consciously build and curate a personal image (or brand) of ourselves,  other people will instinctively come up with their own opinions about us.

To add to what Toni has already shared with you in her last two blogs on our online presence, I’ll be discussing how the visual side of your online presence links to your goals and the difference it can make to your career. 

Firstly, what we all battle to comprehend is how images, photos and designs can impact us on an emotional level. Like the expression says:

 “A photo can say a thousand words.”

A single image of you can imply that you are professional, trustworthy and competent just by the clothes you chose to wear that day, your body language and the quality of the image.

The same with a design, it can be clean, legible and well balanced and people will easily stop scrolling to carry on reading what you have to say. Attracting them. And if you don’t supply an image, they keep on scrolling anyway.

On the other hand, a design that is not well balanced, or that is too busy and confusing, can easily overwhelm and repel people, influencing their opinion of you. This is also true for people looking to hire you, trust you, work with you, invite you to participate in an event, or use your services.

What we wear, how we converse and the photos and designs we share online play a huge role in our personal brand and we should be mindful of what it is that we want people to see. This doesn’t mean that we all have to look the same online. In fact, bringing in some of your own personality and authenticity is what sells you. As Rob Brown says- ‘People buy people’.  If we try and be someone that we are not, people will notice. Being authentic online gives people, looking to invest in you, a sense of how you will be able to uplift their company while bringing along your own personality. This makes you stand out from the noise and different from the other candidates with the same qualifications. Authenticity is what drives your personal brand. 

As a designer, I love the fact that design and images can have so much to say. How, for example, it can show people the professional, yet personal, quirky side to who you are. That you take your work seriously, but you don’t take life too seriously, or that you are a hard-working, team-player and that you’ve dedicated your life to your work. The possibilities and abilities of what these imageries can say are endless and it’s important to consider what will influence your goals and career in the manner you want it to.

Another important point, that is true for individuals and businesses, is being consistent. Consistency is key in fostering trust and recognition amongst your followers or network. You can do this by:

  1. using images that have a similar look and feel. (Consider using photos that have the same filter or photos that have all been photographed in the same location.)
  2. using the same fonts, pattern and colours in your designs and documents. (Create 5-8 templates using your fonts and colours to keep things consistent and convenient)
  3. using the same profile picture throughout different online platforms so that people start recognizing you
  4. And showing up consistently with your content

Think of posting regularly as an investment in your personal brand, your career and your future opportunities. Every post that you share online now can be used and seen in the future. This helps people who are looking to hire you, understand you better through all of the content that you have already shared, and ultimately contributes to building a trustworthy image and reputation. 

In conclusion, try and keep these three points in consideration when building your online presence and personal brand:

  1. Use images and designs to highlight your content, but make sure they reflect who you are and what you want to say
  2. Be as authentic as possible 
  3. Be consistent. Post regularly and be consistent in the use of the type of images and style that you use.

Your personal brand has an intellectual, visual and emotional role to play in influencing the people that surround you or who are interested in hiring you, whether you are consciously building it or not and if you can have a hand in guiding people to understand you better then why not leverage that to reach your goals. 

Lauren Smit is a brand and social media marketing specialist for online businesses and individuals. She works with her clients to build design and marketing solutions that make a lasting first impression, helping to attract ideal clients and your ideal personal interactions to get you in front of the people that need to see you.

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