Our previous blog post discussed the importance of Corporate Brand Personality, and how it is created by every single person within the business.
This blog post, co-written by Mark Grey (Professional headshot Photographer) and Claire Boyles (Founder of Success Matters), explores how important it is for your business brand to have a professional headshot of the business owner.
Entrepreneurs and business owners are the public face of their businesses.
How the market perceives ‘brand ambassadors’, may not be the only factor to determine success or failure, but it certainly has a huge impact, especially on start-ups.
Seasoned business owners understand that perception is half the battle, whether attracting investment, securing funding or simply winning their first customers.
It is vital that the ‘face of the business’ is aligned with brand values to convey a clear message to your target audience.
This is particularly important because humans instinctively make snap judgements based upon appearance.
Researchers at Princeton University found that when given a series of portraits, people formed perceptions and opinions in milliseconds.
Perhaps more worryingly, initial judgements were reinforced the longer people looked at the images. This puts a lot of pressure on subjects and photographers to get it right first time, and is why it's important to choose your photographer carefully!
"you need to time to relax in front of the camera"
The fact is that very few people walk into the studio and get perfect portraits straight off the bat.
Most people - actors & models included - need time to relax in front of camera and let their true character shine through.
But there is a complication. Perhaps uniquely for business headshots, individual character has a job to do: it has to promote the business.
The character of the entrepreneur needs to compliment and enhance the business brand.
If you think of Richard Branson and the Virgin group, it's clear to see that Branson’s personal brand has a huge impact on the exposure and marketing of the Virgin businesses.
His character and personality shines strongly, which gets him free media time! His personal image shares core elements with the value of the Virgin brand; energy, and fun are two that are easy to identify.
The image of Branson by himself easily evokes thoughts of the Virgin Business Empire, and the zany, ground-breaking businesses and services of which he is the mastermind behind.
Another example of an entrepreneur’s character supporting and bringing power to a business brand is Lord Sugar.
Everyone knows Lord Sugar’s character, and there are no surprises when you start working with any of his businesses how they are likely to operate.
Direct, maybe a "bit" abrupt, but clear about exactly what they expect, and not “suffering fools gladly”.
If you’re doing business with a Lord Sugar business, you’ll likely be on your toes, to avoid being “fired”!
"a powerful business headshot encourages the type of customers you want, to connect with you"
Anita Roddick used her personal image and brand to support the growth of The Body Shop. Her values, ethics and ideals underpinned the business strategy and approach.
The images Anita used professionally of herself were warm, friendly, engaging and natural, mirroring the values embodied within products sold by her business.
So not only does the entrepreneur have to ‘relax’ in front of the camera, to be authentic and personable, they also have to bring out the elements of themselves which are especially important to communicate to their businesses' potential customers and existing audience.
Successful entrepreneurs establish strong businesses with clear culture and values, they understand that the business headshot needs to communicate those values with immediate impact on their audience.
"having a professionally taken business headshot can and will bring you sales"
Knowing what an audience wants, or who the right audience is, is an art in itself. It is the foundation of powerful marketing which creates sales, and without sales your business will die, or evolve into a very expensive hobby!
Having an image of yourself that you love (Maybe from Auntie Jo’s wedding where you looked the bees knees), doesn’t mean you have effective marketing image.
However, having a professionally taken business headshot can and will bring you sales and encourage enquiries and connections.
However, having a business headshot which is in conflict with your business values, and those that the customer seeks will cause you to lose sales, these are the leads you will never hear about, because they never happened!
A professional headshot can create or stop sales in their tracks, this is how fundamentally critical portraying the right image of you as a business owner and entrepreneur is for your business success.
In the next post we will explore the five essential elements that will help you prepare and create the perfect image for you and your company.
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This blog post was co-written by Mark Grey, a corporate headshot photographer based in Covent Garden, London.
Mark is an award winning portrait photographer whose work is exhibited nationally. He is the recipient of a PAGB Gold Medal. Clients include Virgin Media, MTV, leading London law firms and private medical practises.
Mark is available for booking professional business headshots from his studio in central London.
You can work with Claire on how to improve your marketing (even on a shoe string budget). Claire specialises as a business coach working with employees who want to transition from employee to entrepreneur, helping them creating business & marketing strategies so that they earn a living doing what they love.