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What does it mean to have control of your image?
Let’s start by defining what an image really is.
im•age [ noun ] A visible impression, obtained by a camera or other device, that represents an external form of a person or thing.
In college, I learned that my camera captures a latent image by what I artistically render from my own impression and interpretation of the world. The physical form of my own imagination is the images that have been frozen in time and space.
I know, this sounds super deep but bear with me. The real question I’m trying to get at is…
Your image is a mirror of your inner thoughts
The image you project to the world communicates where you stand in life. It is a reflection of how you see yourself. It is also a reflection of how you see your brand. Your brand image is more than your logo or color scheme. It is how you present yourself to your audience. This comes through in your sense of style, the way you dress, and your mannerisms. It also comes through by how you speak to others and your message, whether in person or through your website, and tone in your social media posts.
Now I’m going to date myself. Before the days of digital photography, a latent image was the undeveloped impression of an external form captured on a sheet of film. It was not yet a physical image until the negative was developed and we could see the actual image appear. It was there, but not yet visible to the world.
Your personal brand is the entire package of You. Your name, logo, and face become the symbol of your brand essence and what it represents. This is based on how you serve your clients and behave. If your true essence is not imbued in your brand image then you do not have an authentic brand. You are not seeing your true self inside.
A latent image is similar to your own thoughts, perceptions, beliefs, and dreams. In every moment they evolve and project a “reality” of yourself that may or may not be completely accurate. Every single human being has the ability to uncover who they truly are and create a new identity that is genuine. You have the power to visualize and create a life and business you desire. It just may be latent and not yet developed.
How we see ourselves influences how others perceive us
When you strategize how you should be presenting your brand to your audience you need to pull out the real you. Show the world the experience you’ll give them by living your essence. Being intentional and consistent is the key to attracting not only more customers but the right customers to you.
If the way others perceive you is based on your own impression and interpretation of who you are then what happens when you’re not being true to yourself? You may be struggling with how others see you. Take a deep look into what you are communicating to others. Here are a few examples of why you need to begin taking control of your brand.
- Your business is gaining momentum and you suddenly get several 1-star reviews.
- Your reviews are consistently 4-stars or less. Some reviews have been awful. The primary reason is that you did not deliver what you claimed you offer.
- You attract the wrong kinds of clients to you. They are frustrating to work with and don’t value you or get you.
- When you are asked you are unsure how to explain what it is you offer.
- You do everything you can to please your clients, even if their requests are completely unreasonable.
- You offer too many services and agree to projects that are not in line with your vision.
- Often, you feel like a fraud.
Ignoring how others see us gives them control of our brand image
Another valuable point to consider is that if you do nothing to control your image, then others may create their own perceptions of what the brand means. Word of mouth marketing is the number one way we will get new clients. Jeff Bezos understood this well when he said “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Whether you have bad reviews, great reviews, or no reviews doesn’t always matter.
Take this general list of what you should be focused on to take control of your image and to create an authentic brand.
- Understand your own essence, and own it. Only then can you live authentically.
- Know where your true gifts lie. Offer to your clients only those things that you are a master at.
- Strategize your brand to your target audience.
- Speak only with your brand voice and how valuable you with consistency.
- Communicate to your entire team what your brand stands for and the mission you are trying to accomplish.
- Monitor what other people say. Bad reviews can be the best feedback you’ll receive. Just be diligent to reply back eloquently and with grace.
It’s never too late to take control of your image
If so far you have not really done anything to control how others see you that is fine. Even if you have made some wrong choices it is still never too late to start telling your brand story.
We are entering a new millennium, can you believe it! What are you going to do to get clear on how your own brand image should be presented? How are you going to make a bigger impact? What will it take to attract the right audience and grow your business exponentially?