I recently chatted with Maria-Ines Fuenmayor who, by most standards, would be my “competition.” But I don’t believe that we need to operate from a space of competition. In fact, I view Maria-Ines as my soul sister and my colleague. We do the same work and we speak the same language. I think that’s so beautiful, don’t you?
So without further ado, let’s get into what Maria-Ines and I talked about!
Why a brand is an investment in yourself
When Maria-Ines and I talk to a new client, we usually leave with pages and pages of notes. While you may not be able to see what is special about you, or what really stands out, we can. This is why it’s so important to really work with a brand strategist when you’re ready to really step into your greatness and work with more of your ideal client.
A brand strategist will be able to see what you cannot. They can see your blindspots. They can fill the holes that you’ve been struggling with. It’s also important that you take time to find a brand strategist and branding service that aligns with you. That feels good. So often, we see female entrepreneurs going for “big names” and larger branding services… only to feel like they’re not getting what they need or they end up with a brand that feels templatized.
We aren’t saying all of these services are bad; We are just saying that you need to find a brand strategist that you click with and that feels like “home.” They will be able to pull out what makes you unique and bring it to life much better for you, which makes your investment so much more impactful.
The importance of brand photography
In a previous life, Maria-Ines was a photographer, so part of her work is really bringing out her clients’ brands through their photography and imagery. This is something that we both think female entrepreneurs underestimate; A brand photo session isn’t just a way for you to fill a couple holes on your site and get a good headshot for your social profiles.
Brand photos can be how you express your brand, serve as an extension of your brand, and offer a diverse range of assets that you can use to promote your brand. From your website to your social to your email marketing, ads, you name it; brand photos get a lot of mileage and should really be given the attention (and investment) they are due. This is why Maria-Ines recommends working with a brand photographer, rather than just a family photographer or friend.
A brand photographer will be able to pull out your personality, the right colors, tones, and vibes, and also the right props or angles to really make your expertise and brand shine.
Maria-Ines and I also shared our three tips for rocking your brand photoshoot:
- Hold off on your brand photography until you have a brand created — preferably with a website and full brand guide created. This will give your photographer a framework to guide the shoot and get the right images.
- Work with an actual brand photographer. Yes, this will likely cost you more money but it is worth it.
- Find props and locations that reflect your brand story. For example, if a cornerstone of your brand is earthy and green, take photos in a botanical garden or surrounded by plants. If you’re a bookworm and that’s reflected in your brand, bring your favorite books!
Trust us. You’ll be blown away by the images you get, and you won’t be stuck hoping that your pictures turn out. You’ll know exactly how the shoot went and you’ll feel great knowing that you’ll have an extension of brand that you can share with the world!
Branding to build authority
Final thoughts from my chat with Maria-Ines? Brands are more than a pretty logo or website. Brands are how you present yourself and your business to the world — and they need to be strategic. They need to be intentional. This is where Maria-Ines and I really want to drive home the value of brand strategy. Yes, you can have the prettiest dang website in the world… but if you’re not sharing your messaging and using your brand platform to grow your reach, nobody is gonna see that website or book your services.
A brand strategist can help you show up and say the right things to the right people, so don’t underestimate the value in this! You can learn more about my brand strategy services here, or you can connect with Maria-Ines. Her website is currently undergoing some changes, but she has an amazing branding path quiz to help you identify your journey and what stands out about your business and how you run it.
- Maggie Giele’s podcast episode: Using Brand Personality To Grow Your Biz.
- Figure out which stage of your branding journey you are in, and what steps you need to take to up-level to the next step FOR YOU with Maria’s quiz.
- Stay connected with Maria on Instagram: @mariainesstudio
- If you’re unsure about the best ways to show up and share your brand with the world, then download my free checklist 52 Ways to Build Brand Visibility
For more insights on how to feel more rooted in yourself, your business, and your brand, make sure you’re subscribing to the Brave New You podcast!