Chris Garrett had a great post about Gravatars last week that got me thinking. While we talk about branding, one of the easiest way to remind people of you is your image. For consumer products, it’d be called a logo. For those of us that are marketing ourselves, our image really is our logo and an important integral piece of our brand.
When you think about it a bit, it’s quite clear. How better to promote your brand than putting a face to it? If we associate stylized imagery with consumer products & brands, wouldn’t it be wise to do the same with your brand? Putting your image forward gives people an easier way to associate with you and the specialty or service that you offer.
When you start using your image as part of your brand, it needs to be consistently applied when possible. Most all sites of the social web have the ability to upload a profile picture. Using the same picture for all services helps promote your brand and is easier than somehow putting a link or your tagline there.
People will associate your picture with your comments and your words. More easily remembering what value you would bring to their efforts or solve their problem. Helping prospective clients or simply online friends remember who we are across the Internet, from one site to another helps build the consistency you want in your brand as well. The other, bigger part of consistency, of course, is your message and how you deliver it across the various tools you use of the social web.
The Real You
I think it’s very important to use a picture of you rather than a logo. Yes, you may have a nice logo designed for your website or blog, but it isn’t as true a representation of you then you are. Sure, you may have an aversion to having your picture taken, and may dislike every single one ever taken of you. However, you need to remember that other people won’t be looking for flaws in your picture, but will be looking to associate it with that great person they know in you.
So go get a professional “head shot” done, just like executives would do. Or, have a talented photographer friend help by taking a few picture so choose from. If you really hate having your picture taken, find backgrounds to shoot in front of that help you relax, or are also representative of you. While “professional” photo’s may be nice, it’s probably more important to simply make sure it’s a clear, positive reflection of you. It doesn’t have to be perfect, so don’t make it. Often, some spontaneous, candid shots work out to be very nice indeed. I’ve taken to using pictures that I capture through my webcam, and change them up when I have a notion to. Rather than some schedule or plan, it’s more often because I want a current picture of myself than any other reason.
I’m finding more people who once used an avatar or graphic design are switching to a personal picture on many services that I use. I welcome this greatly as it let’s me see who I’m talking to and further develops the relationship with my friends and contacts. What’s your take on personal logo’s? Have you tried a logo, or stick with your pic? What do you use & where else should we use it?
Photo credit: Sumit