Building a personal brand as an artist

One of the most important tools for advancing a career in the creative world is the use of a personal brand. Once the domain strictly of commercial enterprises, the principles of branding are now used successfully by individuals who want to clearly communicate why they are the best person to provide a service to the audiences they want to reach. The same principles that have made Steinway "the finest pianos in the world" and Nike products for athletes who "just do it" can be applied to musicians and artists who want to distinguish themselves from their peers.

Branding is an especially powerful marketing tool for creative artists because having a brand is about knowing your authentic unique gift and communicating that gift to the people you want to attract.

In short, a brand is your vision of who you are and what you do for your audiences. It encompasses a message that expresses what makes you unique and memorable and distinguishes you from your competition so that your target audience connects with you emotionally and wants to work with you.

Think of all the wonderfully talented musicians and artists out there. If you perceive yourself as just one of hundreds of talented musicians, it is easy to feel discouraged from pursuing the career of your dreams. This is where having a brand can help turn your career around. Once you see yourself as unique, it reduces the pressures of competition because you know that you have something special to offer. It is the start of trusting your gift.

In the traditional business world, successful companies are built around the notion of Brand Promise. A Brand Promise is the commitment to deliver something specific to the people who interact with the brand, on a constant and consistent basis. To some extent, it’s a mission; it’s how the company creates and delivers value.

So how does this relate to building an acting career you might be asking? Well, let’s consider the Brand Promises of some of the most successful actors working today. A Brand Promise in the acting world is so essentially connected to it’s Brand (the actor), that you may not even notice it. In fact, it’s the core of what makes an actor “bankable”.

Will Smith for instance, can always be counted on to be “Inspiring, Brave, & Charmingly Heroic”, Jennifer Lawrence is “"Self Deprecating, Approachable, and Relatable". These actors don’t “announce” their Brand Promise, of course, but it is clear.

The 3 basic steps to identifying your brand, and translating it into a Brand Promise are:

  1. Identify your “type” - what type of roles are you PERFECT for? (eg: working class mom, prep school brat, high powered executive, urban youth, etc).
  2. Identify your unique Personality & Essence (eg: “trustworthy, kind, & generous”, “wild, bohemian, free-spirit” or “intense, dark, rebel” etc.).
  3. Identify your Brand Promise - which is essentially how your Unique Essence would be of value to those looking to hire an actor to play the “types” of roles you are perfect for. (eg: “Wild, Bohemian Free-Spirit who will light up a room with her vibrant glow and an infectious laugh).

Here are four recommendations for creating content online that will build a solid foundation for your career:

Use Images – pictures speak a thousand words. In fact, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text.

Make Video – create video content: Twitter video, YouTube Facebook video, Vimeo and explore the video space with your actor brand.

Write – build your own blog and create article content.

Infographics/Design – get some good imagery and fonts working together to share your actor brand content. Don’t settle just for an image if you can push it further and create something really eye catching that communicates more about what you wish to share.

Podcast – create a podcast. There are a ton of really good podcast shows out there that are worth listening to. It is only another way for you to communicate your actor brand to the world. Create and generate your own show!

Apps – there’s some pretty neat apps out there that you can mix it up in that you can express your own talent through.  Look what’s going on with musical.ly or dubsmash or vine. Get on Snapchat and explore the medium. Do the research and see how you can create through those platforms if you think they are right for your personal actor brand.