For the twenty-fourth episode of the Personal Branding Exposed Podcast, I got to talk with the founder of the Brand Hero summit, Personal Branding Photographer, and host of a podcast much similar to my own, Aaron Hunt. Working on the same field but from different business models, we got to have a conversation all about personal branding, while simultaneously touching on subjects of creativity and being true to yourself. Here is how that went.
A Little Bit About Aaron
While most of my guest’s stories are about them either having a breakthrough or naturally following their career path to a unique place, what I like about Aaron’s is that it almost seems like the start of an adventure.
Or as he put it: “I really started out as an industrial engineer, so I think, one of the things that made me successful in most of my leadership roles was my creative problem-solving and just the creativity that I used in general. I feel like most of my corporal career I was just fighting the urge to be too creative, to still have to fit in, but that extra creativity really came in handy.
I was huge into art and theater growing up, I always had a camera around, I could never actually afford a good camera growing up, so I think that’s what really reignited my love of photography in 2013, I bought a really good camera, and it all just came rushing back.”
Another revelation that he got to do for the first time during our talk was that he was actually stepping down from his role as a director in a regional health system to work full time on what he loves. This is something a lot of people aspire to do one day and have that announcement first hand on my podcast was really special. You heard it here first, folks.
Personal branding photography
We also got to talk a little bit about the whole process of personal branding photography, or rather, how sometimes our process is mold by both good and bad experiences.
Aaron tells us that: “Some of my processes changed because of other failures, not that we need to fail, but, you know, it’s a really good teacher when it happens, and this failure was not like the photos were bad, but it wasn’t what I hoped to do for this individual, and we had done a destination shoot, we had traveled to this historical location in Florida because it fit their brand, it’s a place that they visit on a regular basis, but there were parts of my process that felt like they just didn’t need to do, like my branding questionnaire, it just seemed like a lot of work, so literally, when I was getting on a plane to head down there, I’m like ‘ I still don’t have a one hundred percent plan of what we’re trying to do here because the individual hasn’t given me enough information, and they wore the wrong clothes, they were nervous, and it was one of the most uncomfortable shoots I’ve ever done.”
Aaron also explained how the questionnaire helped establish not only a relation of trust but also gave him insight into the customer’s identity, which is essential in establishing a personal brand.
And it’s true, there is nothing more natural than being nervous in front of a camera, but if that barrier is never breached, the overall feeling of the picture and of your brand by extent is going to suffer. So, if you are hiring the services of a personal branding photographer, be sure to follow all of his instructions, the only reason they are there in the first place is to make sure you come out of the experience with the best possible results.
Personal Branding And Honesty
From there our conversation touched on another extremely relevant topic about the misconceptions some people have about the nature of personal branding, believing it to be more about presenting an “enhanced”, version of yourself.
Here is what Aaron had to say about it: “You know, we can really develop good relationships virtually at this point if you are willing to be who you really are. One of the things that frustrate me when people reach out to me about personal branding is that they are like ‘isn’t this just renting Lamborghinis and making it look like you’re better than you are?’ and I’m like ‘No!’, it’s literally about showing who you really are, and there may be some aspirational things, […] it wouldn’t be bad to show that car in their feed as longs as it’s in the context of ‘hey this was the car from our photoshoot!,’, because it builds your brand, you know, you invested in those photos.”
This couldn’t be more true, one of the most basic mistakes people tend to make when they start thinking of themselves as a brand is that they start to believe in the necessity to create this big illusion of success. Yet, if you’ve ever had a conversation with someone that was trying too hard to sound impressive, you’ll know how superficial and annoying it can be, no good relationship is ever formed from that. People can tell if you are lying, and if they realize you are, they’ll never trust you, and your personal brand will be stained by that. This is actually a subject I’ve touched in previous episodes like my talk with Doctor Marnie Lishman.
For personal branding to work, rather it is being built through a photoshoot like the ones done by Aaron, or through engaging LinkedIn content like I teach people to do through my program, the key is always to make sure it is the real you shining through the content.
Sure, there is such a thing as over-sharing but if people get to know your history, dreams, and the qualities you bring to the table, your business or professional life begins to get the full benefits of personal branding.
If you’d like to learn how to reach this fine balance along with all the secrets to a strong personal brand, you can contact me either through the information provided on this site or on any of my social media.