As an independent artist, you need to brand yourself. At first, this might sound or feel at bit odd: you’re used to hearing about multinational corporations as “brands”…but you? Yes. YOU. You need to build your brand, and you need to start thinking about how to do that right now.
“The Brand Called You” by Tom Peters was published in Fast Company back in 1997.
“The good news — and it is largely good news — is that everyone has a chance to stand out. Everyone has a chance to learn, improve, and build up their skills. Everyone has a chance to be a brand worthy of remark.” — from “The Brand Called You”
A lot has changed since 1997, of course, but the idea at the heart of the article is still right on. Everyone is a brand, both personally and professionally, and those who take their branding seriously will have a better chance of coming out ahead in the long run.
Okay. So you need to brand yourself. Where do you start?
There are a ton of good resources for you to tap into. I’ll discuss a couple of the ones that I like here. You can find many more with a simple web search.
“The Art of Self-Branding” is a 3-part series by Lea Alcantara that walks through the process of brand creation.
“Creating brands for others is already a difficult exercise, but self-branding is often an exercise in torture. The process forces you to look at yourself, your personality, and your skillset with harsh eyes. In translating those truths into descriptive copy, you’ll have to walk a fine line between confidence and arrogance, cleverness and insincerity, and appearing knowledgeable without being condescending to your audience.” — from “The Art of Self-Branding”
Over the course of the series, Alcantara discusses what questions you’ll need to ask yourself, how to decide on a logo and color scheme, and the necessity of brand appropriate copy writing. She even includes a downloadable spreadsheet that will help you get started.
“Personal Branding 101: How to Discover and Create Your Brand” by Dan Schawbel offers a number of good personal branding suggestions. The first thing you need to do is some serious soul searching.
“Brand discovery is about figuring out what you want to do for the rest of your life, setting goals, writing down a mission, vision and personal brand statement (what you do and who you serve), as well as creating a development plan.” — from “Personal Branding 101″
After you’ve conceptualized your brand, Schawbel lists the various tools that you’ll need to create that brand. In the follow up post “Personal Branding 102,” he then explains how you can communicate and maintain your brand.
“A 9-Step Path to Personal Branding” includes an infographic from Sestyle translated by Jorgen Sundberg that breaks down how to create a personal branding strategy. The infographic provides a good overview of each of the 9 steps, and is great for people who prefer to digest information visually.
“50+ Tips to Brand Yourself Online” by Jacob Share is a great list of ways to implement your personal branding strategy. Share offers suggestions pertaining to what type of website to build, where to put your brand information, and what type of original content to produce.
Remember, building a brand isn’t easy: sometimes it’s more of an art than a science, so it’s okay if you don’t get it right on the first try. The important thing is to keep working at it. As an artist, your personal brand is one of the most important things you will ever create.