This is a topic that keeps coming up not just among artists, but around the entire social media community, and that’s Personal Branding. For those who are unfamiliar with the now household term, “branding”, I consulted businessdictionary.com and the following definition came up:
“The process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.”
In the most simplest of terms, branding refers to making a name for yourself, with a goal of eventually becoming a household name. These days, it’s not so much what you should do, but instead what you should NOT be doing. We must always keep in mind that our actions, both positive and negative, both contribute to the name we try to make for ourselves.
Oh yes, being negative can ruin your chances of getting the right attention, customers, repeat customers, a job, and most importantly… respect. Did you ever notice that the majority of what you remember online is negative… sprinkled with a little bit of inspirational quotes, a dash of warm and fuzzy photos, and a teary eyed video here and there? Let’s face it, the brain loves gossip even if we can’t openly admit it. All this means is that you will be remembered for all of the horrible, negative, and bashing things you say, instead of for those things you wish to be associate with. You also can’t expect others to understand flip-flop activity. By this I mean, you can’t have 3 posts talking about the person who “wants your man” and have it peppered with every obscenity you could think of, and then post a photo expressing how you only welcome positivity in your life. (Huh?)
Whether you are an aspiring artist, writer, or building a business, people like to feel that you are relatable. Don’t fall into the bad habits of some celebrities (who will remain nameless) who thrive off of headline drama.
Confusing Your Audience
Not sure what this means? So, what happens when you, as an artist (of any kind) decide to use play-on-words with your name? Or more simply, change your name? Whether you change it just on your social media profile or everywhere, you could potentially be committing a branding NO NO. I often shake my head when I see people change their names to things like, Jillmindyourownbusiness Jones, or Mikequarterpounderwithcheese Smith or worse, when they change their name completely to something like, Sippinandsmokin Alldayeveryday or Mz Poetically Free-as-a-bird.
While these names are purely fiction, (at least we hope) we all know that there are some doozies out there! What happens next though?
Let’s say you are out at a networking event, or perhaps even at your OWN art showing or talent showcase. You pass out some business cards, flyers, or programs and a potential client loses it and tries to look you up online. Perhaps you are already connected online, but when they go to look you up, they can’t find you or think, “Hmmm, maybe he or she deleted me”. Worse still, if and when they do find you, they immediately lose respect for you. Bottom line, no matter what your reasons are, make a name for yourself and stick to it.
I’m a reflection of my words
This might not be true, but you will be associated with what you post, share and say. We are guilty by association and often found at fault by what the masses are doing, just because they are on our “friend’s list”. Let’s break this down even further. Leud comments, twerk after twerking video, and subliminal rants may be “cute” to you, or may describe your personality, but ask yourself this – “If a customer/client were in front of me… right now, is this what I would want them to hear?” Or, think of it like this, a person shouldn’t be scared to pull your page up at work. (Someone out there knows exactly what I mean.)
No.. I don’t have my business card… or my portfolio… or or or…
Let’s put it this way, how frustrated do YOU get when people aren’t prepared, but are trying to win your business? You can’t make a name for yourself if you don’t make sure you aren’t forgotten. For every card you don’t hand out, there are a dozen more of your hungry competitors waiting for that same opportunity. Every time someone asks to see your work, you shouldn’t still be sporting the same dim camera phone photos or video that show not only your work, but a plate of food, a sock, and maybe even your leg. Camera phones have come a LONG way! Do your artwork justice and take the time to photograph your work in the best possible lighting and remove miscellaneous items from the photo – and then CROP THE HECK OUT OF IT! Keep all of your photos together and don’t mix them in with 25 selfie photos.
Are you a performing artist? The same rules apply! Don’t just rely on video someone else took of you from the audience. Take the time to make a good quality video of yourself free from the distractions of:
- Audience clapping
- Side conversations of the person behind the camera
- Shaky camera movements
- Poor focusing
- Poor sound quality
- Technical difficulties
Remember, this is YOUR name and YOUR Brand. Be remembered for your talent and the quality of your work. If you don’t take yourself seriously, no one will.