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Branding For Actors (Part 1)

August 30, 2010

A great Brand leaves you with an emotional aftertaste!

What’s a brand? What’s the difference between Coke and Pepsi.

Defining your brand is the key to your social networking success, and your success as an actor in general. In this series of posts about Branding, we’ll define your unique brand, and develop a brand toolbox to apply throughout your social networking efforts.

So what exactly is a brand?

  • A Promise: It informs people what they can expect when they interact with you.
  • An Emotional Aftertaste: It creates an emotional reaction in your audience specific to you.
  • Quality Assurance: It identifies who you are and what you stand for as well as develops trust in your product, giving your audience an assurance of quality.

A great brand is a summary of how your audience emotionally and psychologically relates to you, what they expect from you, and how they see you.  Great brands invoke a look, smell, taste, sound and feel.

Successful brands have three very important factors:

1. They are consistent. This is the number one rule of branding. Your brand is a message that you transmit via every single element of your business (and yes, you are a business so start thinking of yourself this way!). This message resonates through your look, your sound, your behavior, your online presence, your language, your conversations, and your supporting messaging (anything with your business printed on it). Every single element relating to you and your business comes together to create your unique brand. So, it’s essential that every single message you send out must consistently tell the same story.  This ensures that your audience is never in doubt about what you are selling, gaining their trust and loyalty.

2. They are authentic. The story you tell, the promise you make to your audience, must be true to who you are. Your brand represents you, a unique combination of your values, your expertise and your personality. This is why it is so essential that your brand is a truthful extension of the real you. Insincerity can be felt a mile away, that’s why some of the most expensive, complex and slickest marketing campaigns don’t work.  The essence of your authentic, unique self is what people will be compelled to connect to.

3. They differentiate you. Your brand should clearly communicate how you are different from your competitors. Any interaction that your audience has with your brand should elicit a specific, unique feeling, psychological association, emotional taste and mental picture. All of these factors together create your unique brand that differentiates you. The key to a successful brand is to define the unique elements of your business and then deliver against them.

A side note: I am intentionally using the terms ‘business’ and ‘sales/selling’ in this blog. Yes, I understand that you’re a creative force to be reckoned with, but you are also a business selling a product. Don’t think of this as a negative, ‘anti-artist’ thing, instead this shift in perception will give you the distance to make decisions based on your smarts and not your ego.

Coke Vs Pepsi?

Homework!  As you got about your day, make a conscious effort to analyze just a couple of the many Brands that float in-front of your face. Whether it’s a breakfast cereal or a car brand, ask yourself a series of questions:

  • What is my immediate reaction to this Brand?
  • What image immediately comes to mind when I think about it?
  • How does it make me feel to be engaging with it?
  • Who (what group of people) would most appreciate this brand?

Tomorrow I’ll share 3 steps that will help you define your personal Brand.

Until then – Keep sharing!

“With malice toward none; with charity for all.”

Abraham Lincoln

Image by JNed via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

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