Professional photographer portraits and business headshots in Boston | Cynthia August Images Photography
Professional headshots and business portrait photography in Boston for award-winning entrepreneurs and mission-driven companies who want to present their corporate spirit through powerful and energetic team portraits and headshots. The best headshots are photographed on location in natural light for a fresh, approachable and authentic feeling. Boston's Cynthia August Images Photography, a commercial and corporate portrait photography company with a studio on the North Shore, is a professional studio producing high-quality photography for the Boston business community.
CEO portraits and headshots for websites and marketing!
A Professional Portrait of Successful Branding
One of my entrepreneur friends is about the most magical visual expert I’ve ever known. Her business is a pleasure to take photographs for, and we frequently update her website and social media pages with headshot portraits of her ever-expanding staff, fresh, compelling product photos, and candid pictures of her business in action. She has a strong understanding of her mission, her brand, and how it translates into a consistent marketing look that is immediately – and positively – recognized by her loyal client base. Her branding is, to put it simply, on point.
But it wasn’t always so.
At the start of her business adventure, she thought she had it all figured out. Creative, ambitious, authentic, she knew her brand and what she was selling with confidence. She burst upon the scene in the first month with promotions, events, blog posts, product spotlights, collaborations, margarita parties, you name it. All went well for the first eight months or so. I mean…come on, margarita parties! How could it not?!?
But then…her sales started to slip. The newness and novelty of her business began to wear off for her first customer base, and she hadn’t quite hit the next level. And her business plan, while solid, didn’t anticipate the slump well. Here is where my dear, dear friend made her mistake.
She panicked. Instead of going to the mattresses with her brand and its mission, some expert advice, and those margaritas in order to figure out how to stick to her post and weather the storm, she did the opposite, reaching out for any and every thing she could add to her brand (and product line) that might bring in ANY customer who was willing to pay. I am talking stuff waaaay out of left field, changes that required more investment on her part without any promise of return. In doing so, she diluted and diminished her million-dollar idea to the point that it was indistinguishable from every other run-of-the-mill business in her area of expertise. While it may have brought in a few more dollars in the short term, the far-reaching damage was pretty bad – her overall brand severely suffered, and she ended up with a big restructuring of the company just months into the process.
Which brings me to the secret. It’s actually a little list of secrets:
• DIVE DEEP
• BE DECISIVE
• BE CLEAR
• HOLD TIGHT
• BELIEVE WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT
• MAP YOUR OCEAN BEFORE YOU VOYAGE
• WATCH THE WEATHER and KNOW HOW TO ADJUST YOUR SAILS (BEFORE YOU NEED TO)
DIVE DEEP – This is the best way to start, but even if you already have an existing brand you are looking to give a boost to, nothing works quite like a back-to-the-basics, deep look at the core of the brand – how your mission statement (you do have one of those, don’t you? If not, check out this article here) has created the face of your business. Don’t be afraid. Look closely. Find your bedrock reasons for doing what you do. Write them down.
BE DECISIVE – If you are like me, you have more good ideas than you can round up at once on any given day. And if you do, congratulations – you are definitely an entrepreneurial spirit! But now’s the time to get decisive and make some hard choices. Which ideas and beliefs support your brand the best? Which others might be helpful at some point, but not now? (For example, I have a great set of ideas for when I move more into directing work, but that’s on the back burner for now, so I try not to let those out of the gate until it is time.) And which ideas just don’t work, even if they are great, even if you love them?
Divide, decide and stick to those decisions. Then…
BE CLEAR – You now know what you are all about. Now, it is time to make it CRYSTAL CLEAR to your target audience. It goes back to that 10 second elevator speech rule. If I can understand what you do in ten seconds, and you feel like you have adequately described it in a way that makes you feel confident, energized and positive, success! If not, keep at it. Ask yourself: What does my brand look like? How can it be instantly and positively recognized? This is a great time to enlist the help of those trusted friends and colleagues who understand your aspirations. Ask them: “What do you think I do?” and see what they say. Are they right? Did they miss anything important? What do they see?
BELIEVE WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT – Anyone who knows me will say that I am NOT a blind optimist, but I can tell you that I have a pretty strong faith in our power to make dreams a reality. I’ll write more on that another time, but for now let’s just say this: you can’t not believe. If you don’t truly, at the core of your being, believe that it is possible, it will not happen. Don’t worry about how it will happen. Just believe that it will. How does this apply directly to branding? Well, if a business has complete faith in what it does, the way it gets done, and why, the brand simply radiates. Start looking at businesses through that lens for a while, and you will begin to see who’s got the mojo and who doesn’t. And I guarantee success levels will correlate.
Ya just. Gotta. Believe.
HOLD TIGHT – Now your branding ship is starting to look seaworthy! So be prepared to stick to what you’ve built. The time and energy you have spent working to shape the face of your business is precious and unique. There is nobody who will do it the way your business does! So hold tight to that, even in the face of slumps and setbacks. The spark that got you this far is the same one that will take you all the way, if you keep it close. Every single day before I start work I read my mission statement and brand description to remind myself what Cynthia August Images is all about. It is a fire under my feet on the good days, and a light in the darkness of tougher ones. I’m holding tight. You should too.
MAP THE OCEAN BEFORE YOU VOYAGE – Pre-planning is key to brand success. Know your audience – if you have a clear understanding of your brand, you should equally as clearly understand your ideal client – which means knowing what they want, the way they want it, and, perhaps most importantly, the way they look for it. That way you can show up in the perfect place, with the perfect solution, delivered in the perfect way. Don’t randomly wander, looking for the shore – there be pirates. Map your ocean. And know how to speak mermaid.
WATCH THE WEATHER and ADJUST YOUR SAILS – Remember back at the beginning of this list when I told you to be decisive, clear, and sticky? Here’s where I kinda say the opposite. Bear with me. Just like my friend’s business, your business will encounter challenges – economy fluctuations, changes in demand, shifts in technology, slumps, floods of activity, etc. It happens to all of us! While you can’t see everything that’s coming, you can keep an eye on the weather, and be prepared to make changes to your course, even in a hurry. The difference between what I am suggesting and the mistake my friend made is this: if you have a solid understanding of your brand, with its capabilities and limits, what it is and what it isn’t, you can adjust your brand’s sails with confidence instead of panic and continue to move forward without taking on too much water. You never know – the new tack you take just might bring you out ahead of the competition, especially if you are riding the wave of an industry change.
You already know the happy ending to my friend’s story – she’s now the joyful head of a powerful brand – it’s clear, it understands and serves its client base perfectly, and it looks towards the future with confidence instead of confusion. Since she has tightened up her brand image into a beautiful, cohesive, clear visual statement that sells her powerful and positive product, we’ve been shooting images and drinking those margaritas after every successful campaign. And her business, of course is flourishing.