Most creatives hate branding. We think of confining ourselves into a box labeled with adjectives, job titles, or celebrity comparisons.
I’d rather you think of branding as an empowering and expansive exercise—helping you move forward with a clear sense of direction.
Today, I wanted to share three reasons why you can stop stressing about (or over-thinking) your branding.
1. Your brand is your name.
You can be whatever you want to be in this world, and your career will likely change and evolve. Actors become directors, dancers become choreographers, and some of us even become Backstage authors and speakers! However, we can circle back or continue following new paths and callings—it’s part of being creative!
At the end of the day, your brand is your name. That’s the constant—your identity and reputation rolled into one.
Don’t put too much focus on fonts, colors, wardrobe, job titles, etc. Focus on your reputation. What do people say when your name is mentioned?
2. Your brand is your image.
Beyond your name, the other constant is your face. It’s important to invest in high-quality images and video. A picture says a thousand words. Video doesn’t lie.
We do judge a book by its cover, so let your media be a capture of you at your best. Your photos and videos don’t have to be the most expensive, but the quality has to be great. Here are several examples... click to see the photographers.
People will believe what you tell them. If you want to be a movie star, look the part. Remember that you don’t really want to be the next __________ (fill in your role model). You want to be the _____________ (fill in your name).
Please don’t overthink a photo or video shoot with “costumes” or crazy backgrounds. I actually prefer “celebrity portrait”-style (neutral yet authentic) rather than work focused on “typing” (getting super specific).
Imagine your media materials showing up on Inside the Actors Studio in twenty to thirty years. Don’t be embarrassed by cheap quality or bold hair/wardrobe choices. Aim for timeless and classic. Focus on telling your story and/or shaping your next chapter.
3. Your brand is all about your goals.
I teach a personal branding formula called 1:1:1. (It's my take on Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why” TED Talk for business owners.)
Always take inventory of your:
- No. 1 Goal (What do you want today?)
- No. 1 Audience (Who can make that happen?)
- No. 1 Self (Are you sharing the best version of you both online and offline?)
All three of those No. 1 items will change and evolve. For example, if you change your No. 1 goal, your target audience will change. You then have to look at the choices of how you present your No. 1 self for that No. 1 audience.
Neil Patrick Harris is an example of a brand that shifts based on what's being promoted. Imagine if he was still clinging to Doogie Howser, M.D.!
Even though you’re creative, work on some consistency in what people see from you (and therefore think about you). Let your name and face be the constants. Let your latest content (news, photos, videos, résumé, etc.) specifically tell the story about what you’re up to today.
Let your goals guide your work. Your work will guide your brand.
Now carry on and be fabulous!
Tony Howell is a digital strategist dedicated to helping you design your future—creating offline success from your online presence.