The transformation of a child’s shabby stuffed toy into a beautiful princess saving the world, visualising worn Lego pieces as a space rocket or play-acting wizards with super magic powers is imagination in splendiferous action.
Similarly in business, imagination is the fuel that burns creative fires, It’s the impetus of dazzling marketing ideas that build personal brands, rouses pathways to solve complex problems, ignites commercial artistry, entrepreneurial fire and creates products that have changed the world in ways once unbelievable.
We bear witness to the positive manifestation of imagination in breathtaking form all around us. But there is a flip side too. Like all behaviours there is a time and place.
If our imagination is running wild in the wrong place, fog and negative assumptions can fly high. This often occurs where there is minimal evidence or information provided. A blank canvas without detail can bubble up a sea of divergent conclusions and hypotheses. And these may or may not be correct ones. Truth is often stranger than fiction and rhetoric doesn’t always meet reality.
In business the issue of trust and transparency is fundamental for growth and client acquisition. And in the personal arena such as online dating, trust is crucial. Yet in both situations many hide their identify touting many excuses leaving a blank canvas to conjure up negative theories.
There are countless examples from dating sites of people who didn’t have photos or important information. The upshot often was they were married, had been incarcerated or had some other untoward motive.
Likewise in the business sector, there are many examples of owners going to considerable lengths to ensure they didn’t have a digital footprint of any kind. And there are many who have purposely construed conflicting information to take the scent off joining any dots. If you have ever fallen prey to such shenanigans you will have built a finely tuned nose to detect any future concerns.
Establishing business trust ASAP cannot be underestimated. With Google, social media, LinkedIn and websites, all relevant research is at our fingertips. Potential, clients, suppliers and staff are checking before, during and after contact.
Many professional sectors are wading through significant PR and damage control with many buckling a spotlight of suspicion (ie marketing and digital services. Every sector has both brilliant and appalling operators. Adverse perceptions can slide the gamut of questioning fraud, credentials, integrity or of having 5 heads (ok that is a little jest there). In today’s market businesses cannot risk sprouting any seed of doubt.
So it’s imperative that every business minimise the potential for imaginations to run off the tracks. It’s also a great opportunity to showcase great personal brands as a standout in sectors suffering a poor PR rap.
Yet I am constantly dismayed at how many websites there are without photo visibility or information on owners and/or directors. A lack of photos, full names and personal background information is a real barrier to building confidence. And it’s staggering how many SMEs, solo operators don’t even have a direct name to contact just a phone number.
We simply cannot trust who we cannot see. I have heard every excuse in the book for a lack of personal visibility and information such as:
- I’m getting photos done soon (what for the last 12 months?);
- I hate having my photo taken (sorry put your big girls or boys pants on)
- I don’t want to be in the spotlight (why would you go into business then?);
- I don’t want to be contacted directly (why ever not if you wish to grow your business)
- My mobile doesn’t work well in my area (yeah right, ha).
- It’s the business brand that matters not mine (you are clearly asleep in understanding the importance of people to build trust in a distrusting marketplace)
- I went to do it, but… (many an excuse here).
- I want to look like a bigger business (you can still with positioning and marketing)
People buy from people
Service businesses just cannot hide behind a logo or their company brand. People buy from people and personal brands is at the epicentre. Any notion that a business brand is all that is required to inspire enquiry and convert is unwise at best, ludicrous at worst. The brand promise is congruent across both the business and personal.
And yes it’s true that we make decisions visually within a split second. It’s human nature and there is no point denying it. But I’m not talking here about discrimination or inappropriate bias but simply the reality that is true for you as the owner of the photo and the ideal client that resonates with that, ie:
- I like your kind smile;
- I trust the warmth in your eyes
- I trust you are a friendly open person
- I sense great gravitas and competency in your posture
- I feel you are a respectful person via your expression
- I sense your sense of humour may be aligned
- I trust your conservative appearance
. Whatever is authentic and true for you is the image and information that needs to be shared transparently on all your public digital assets. And team (2+) photographs build a real platform of attraction for staff, suppliers and prospects.
Suffice to say that when people check out a website or social media profile resulting in zero or minimal personal information imaginations may conjure up many and varied things. And whilst it is true that not everyone cares about seeing photos, mobile numbers or background information, the vast majority absolutely do.
So unless you are part of the ‘mob’, are fraudulent, just released from jail, have multiple spouses (none of which are aware of your polygamous life) or have a head that would melt Google and metatags, ALWAYS put your photos, background and contact numbers up on your website and social media assets.
And even if you tick the aforementioned ah, still show up and step out anyway. There is always someone for everyone’s imagination and your vibe will attract your commercial tribe at any rate.
Have a visible, transparent and brilliant 2021.