Brand Story & Telling vs Selling
The next thing here that we're gonna talk about is your brand story. So, your brand story is really the personality of your brand. It says everything about you captured by your words and your images, and video, too, that's the new wave, is video. So in order for you to know what story to tell, it's important for you to understand your audience. So choosing your audience will really help you determine your voice, which will then naturally help you figure out the type of content that you want to share. So the best way for you to figure out your audience is to define the ideal customer for you, for your business. So I've created a little run-down here, a little exercise that I wanna pause and kind of get you guys to think, and it really is forcing you to think of who your ideal customer is. So if you wanna just take a moment here and kinda fill in the blank. My ideal customer is, and it's about being definitive, 'cause sometimes we're like, well, it's both. Okay, your ideal, the key word ...
is ideal. Who is your ideal customer? Are they male, or are they female? The next is, they are what age? Whatever age group that they're in is going to help you maneuver in the type of content you share. You're not going to be talking about babies if you're trying to, say, market to teens or pre-teens, it just doesn't make any sense, so define that age. Next, their favorite thing to do is. You wanna understand, what are the activities that the people in my audience are doing, what are some of the things that excite them? Because I'm gonna make sure that the way that I create my content is going to speak to that. So let me actually write out, what is my ideal customer doing right now as we speak. Are they a runner, are they an actor, are they a cook, are they a painter? Because then I know what type of content that I'm gonna share with them. They are passionate about. So name a cause or an issue. So for example, Nike is a really great example of somebody who did active research to really understand what is my ideal customer right now, and they uncovered that their ideal customers are millennials, and millennials, over 70% of them feel like they can actually make a difference, so therefore they're catering a lot of their campaigns toward actors, different celebrities, all of these people who actually associate themselves to a cause or an issue. So think about that. If your audience who think they're feminists, wouldn't it be smart that you cater your content to speak to the issues that matter most within that topic? So it's really important for you to fully identify the causes and the issues that they care about the most. And then they would follow. So this is really important, because you want to make sure that when you're trying to do a target audience that you understand, okay, I see that Tracee Ellis Ross has the type of audience that I want, too. So I'm gonna make sure that I'm gonna write down the different types of profiles that are very similar to my business so that I can use that as maybe a palette in the way that I create my voice, or the way that I create my content, because clearly the audience that likes things like my business also like things like how Tracee Ellis Ross is. So, you know, whether it's now or in the future, highly encourage you to really fill in the blanks and identify that, and keep that at eye level for you so you know how to maneuver when you are reaching out to your consumer and your audience. Okay. So then the next piece here is telling versus selling. Once you have figured out your audience, you just wanna define how you actually want to speak to them now, and so you can do this with the digital media versus the catalog approach. Okay, so the digital media kit is basically the approach where you focus on telling your audience who you are and what you're about and naturally about your service, or, excuse me, telling them about who you and what you're about, and naturally your service or your product that you have will fall into that picture. So you're not actually deliberately saying, hey, this is my product, this is my service. Instead, you are naturally portraying yourself, and so for example if I'm posting about myself online I don't need to deliberately put, hey, stock photography business. Instead it could be behind the scenes, me taking pictures. So that elicits to them, okay, so let me uncover who they are, what are they taking a picture of? It forces them to read the caption, understand you a little bit better, rather than me throwing a service or product to you. And again, you'll find that studies are showing that people care more about the person behind the brand than the actual product. So you want to do your best to create a digital media kit approach, which is, again, showing them naturally how you are maneuvering, rather than throwing something at you. And so when we go to the throwing someone at you, it's more about the catalog approach, and I will say that I don't necessarily think that is bad, I just think that you have to be careful in the quantity, or the amount of times that you portray your brand in this way, because no longer will it suffice for you to, say, sell beauty brands, or a beauty product, and only show the picture of that product. It doesn't work anymore. People are attached to that ethos. So you really want to not be selling to your audience the whole time, because people get sick of that. I mean, I think you've scrolled through your brands before and you're like, here they go again, telling me about their before and after with this miracle juice that they have, oh my gosh, they have it right in their hand, it's so, it's just not authentic. So just try not to sound like a salesperson, and just try to be more your natural self.
I wanted to pause, Karen, and see if we had any questions, specifically maybe on the digital media kit versus catalog, or diving a little bit further into maybe more examples of those.
Thanks, this is great. So one question is you're giving these examples which are great and I keep thinking, well how, as a single photographer and I'm on a shoot, how can I portray myself doing it if I'm by myself creating pictures for a client? How would you go around doing that?
And so let me be clear, when you're taking photography, is there anyone else that's around? Because the way that I would combat that is, you know, it's about having 60 seconds of courage and saying, hey, excuse me, do you mind taking a picture? Before I started this, I stood right here and I asked Ken, I said, do you mind taking a photo of me really quickly? And it may not be that I'm the one that actually propped up the camera, but what's gonna happen is that now I have a behind the scenes, and I'm able to portray that and post that on my page. So if you don't have the ability to take the picture yourself, I would just ask a stranger to just take a quick photo for you. And there's things obviously as you know as a photographer, a self-timer, you know, you have your professional camera but you do have a phone, and you can just put a little self-timer and have that clicking as you're doing everyday things related to photography. So it takes extra work, it does, you have to be intentional, but that's the way that you can make it so that it's not like, here's my picture, here's my picture, here, I'm a stock photographer, I'm in stock photography, it's like, show a little bit about your day-to-day, who you are as a person, tell the story that naturally, again, people will figure out that you're in stock photography.
Would you ask a client, so if you were working with a client, would you ask a client to take a picture of you taking pictures for the client?
Yeah, that's fun, and actually you can even do, implement Insta stories. We're not really talking about Insta stories a lot today but that's a way for you to give a full picture of what you're doing. You can have some questions that you could ask the people who are your audience, hey, what do you think about this picture that I took of this client versus this picture? There's things called polling, you can poll on Twitter, you can poll on Insta story, and it just engages your audience and it gives you a different angle that you can take to create that loyalty with them. So that's what I would suggest.
We'll start here and then go over there.
You kinda touched upon it a little bit. Basically if you struggle to put yourself out there, you know, like an introvert versus extrovert kinda thing, or when you start doing it it's kind of like a diet, you know, like 80/20. I eat healthy 80, and then 20 this. So when you're putting your personal, I guess your behind the scenes content on there, there are times when I see people doing that, I'm like oh my God, again? So it's like, would you say there is a balance that you give to yourself to say, this is what I do daily, this is what I do weekly, this is what I do monthly, this is what I do quarterly, something?
Yeah, and I'll touch a little bit on how you can create a balance between the content that you share. But what I will say is pay attention to the engagement. So if your audience is enjoying seeing you with your selfies it's probably not annoying, so keep showing, I know somebody who literally their whole entire palette is all their face, and in my mind I'm thinking, that is really annoying, but then I look at the engagement and I'm like, okay, they're doing it for a reason, they're smart, be smart about it. If you're taking a bunch of selfies and no one is engaging, probably should stop taking selfies, you know what I mean, like (laughs) so. So you had a question here.
Yeah, I was wondering if you could give us an example of your brand story, because I currently have a media company and I feel like my clients are all so different. Like, they want the end, I know the product that we deliver, and that's consistent, but maybe they aren't, so what does that look like for you?
So you're saying that your clients are not consistent?
Yeah, so they kinda, like, they want our end product but they aren't all like the same type of person, if that makes sense.
Okay. 'Cause I was gonna say that if people are coming to you with varying requests then that means that you are not being clear on what you offer, you're portraying that you offer all these different things. So our brand story is we provide diverse stock photography that showcase what the world really looks like. How do we do that? Well, we do that with diverse imagery, but we also take a step back and we allow you to know the particular subject through our narratives section. Our narratives section really ties the whole brand together, because it's not just that we're showing you a photo. If we're complaining that we don't think that there's diversity, well a lot of the diversity comes with the education. I was just talking to a gentleman prior to going on air, we were speaking about authenticity. Okay, well I don't know anything about, say, how to shoot African-Americans. Well, it's important for you maybe to understand some of them, and so we understood that that was a problem so we created a narratives piece. And so now that narratives piece has actually opened up doors to allow people who maybe are afraid to necessarily use the images, well now they can come in and say, hey, this is my brand, I'm a plumber, and I have plumbing. I already know that you know how to tell the stories of plumbers, you know how to do narratives. How can we work together, make a perfect marriage? You're authentic to your brand, I'm authentic to my brand. So it's really just creating that perfect marriage, but you have to be clear in the way that you represent yourself what you do offer. So as far as varying clients, I think it's fun and it's fine to have varying clients but the center mission has to be what you offer, right?
Karen, I have one more from online that's related, and this is from Mary Massey, thank you Mary. While portraying the person behind the brand would you show family pictures or life outside the business? So what do you tell people to consider when they are thinking of going beyond the selfie, I guess?
Yeah, I think that it's really great for you to showcase that if that is a part of your entire brand. So for example, on TONL, we've already created our brand story, which is of course, again, diverse imagery of people and their stories. It doesn't make sense for Karen to go on there and show a random selfie. So, sometimes people make a mistake and they're like, but I wanna show my personal life, I wanna show who I am, but they've created this whole story of their brand to be about cars. That's weird to pop in a picture of yourself if you didn't create that story, so sometimes it comes to the point where you just need to have two different online stories, one of who you are as a business owner and another of what your company is. I'm gonna get to this, but I'll speak it now. There's a woman, her name is Sakura Considine, and she co-founded Bloguettes and she is the perfect example of that. She has an entire aesthetic and brand story for Bloguettes, which is basically like a branding company, and then her own personal story. She does tap into that, she lets you know that that's what she does, but she also shows her family on there, she shows her friends, she shows the trips she's doing, she shows some of the paid partnerships. She's able to be a little bit more herself. So I would just say that if you're striving to be able to show your personal side, decide on whether or not that actually fits your company's brand story, and if it doesn't, just make a separate page.