As a marketing media professional I receive questions about advertising, personal branding, plus social media management on a regular basis and felt that it was time I write a blog post about the subject. Though I’m an actor and filmmaker full-time I like to avoid starvation to death by way of broke actor-dom mainly via media freelance work.
My grandiose college plan was to get degrees in advertising and journalism, then work for some media/entertainment companies so that I would know what the heck was up and of course, be able to pay my rent. Being an actor is hard enough especially if you don’t know how to market yourself or what your brand is.
I have seen marketing in many fields working for companies like NBCUniversal Bravo Network’s Emerging Media Group, Fox, The House of Blues and Smart Clinic App.
What I noticed is that the majority of individuals and small businesses in America do not know how to effectively create a brand name or execute marketing strategy.
This is a huge detriment in terms of generating revenue, creating awareness, inspiring interactions and engagement. The amount of missed opportunities in marketing and spreading the word are just overwhelming, most noticeably the free ones. No matter your field of work or study knowing your brand (or your companies’ brand) is paramount. Without a definitive brand image to attach to a product or name, you cannot determine a target market.
This means that you don’t know exactly what you’re selling, or to whom you’re selling to.
What you’re selling doesn’t have to necessarily be a physical product on the market/for sale such as a toaster; it can be an idea, a person’s image or a feeling. Every thing and person from celebrities to politicians to cell phones to home goods stores need a brand identity or image.
How is a brand image/identity defined?
According to the Business Dictionary brand image is, “the impression in the consumers’ mind of a brand’s total personality (real and imaginary qualities and shortcomings). Brand image is developed over time through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme, and is authenticated through the consumers’ direct experience.”
Consistency of your brand is also vital to the consumers’ direct experience. Without consistency we go from marketing Miley Cyrus, circa Hannah Montana days to tweens, to Wrecking Ball Miley. There’s a big difference folks.
Reliability in the eyes of your audience and recognizability are also huge factors for success. Recognizability ties right in with consistency. When you think of Walter White from Breaking Bad you don’t think of your partying buddy from college, because he stands for and represents something completely different. His brand identity changes and evolves throughout the show, as did Miley Cyrus throughout her career. When you think of both of these people, they have very clear brand personalities and are marketed to audiences that are receptive to what they are selling or representing.
A brand can have multiple facets, but there need to be certain qualities that come together to create one total personality for the brand to be associated with the name. This also means knowing what a brand is not.
Once you have determined the brand identity of whatever your are selling or bringing attention to, then you must determine your target audience. Without a target audience you are going to spin your wheels telling everyone on the planet about something that is not meant for every single person on the planet. I.e. you wouldn’t first market your edgy new web series to your Grandma and her friends; you would create awareness amongst people your age or the millennial bracket.
Novels upon textbooks have been written about determining your target audience. It’s a tough subject for many companies and people so do your research. This is only the surface level of marketing and still may be dense for non-communications career folks. A clear starting point can be determining your personal brand. You can start with what you are or aren’t, then determine who would or wouldn’t be receptive to those qualities.
Knowing your target audience will not only increase response rates and interactions, it will eliminate unnecessary or wasted time marketing something to a group of people who clearly do not fall into your target audience.
Once you have determined your target audience you need to create a system for connecting to them. Connections equal things like eventual financial backing, support and free marketing. The same way that you wouldn’t market a children’s movie in a college bar, you wouldn’t want to post an article to Facebook that could be ill-received by your viewers or followers. They have become a fan of your brand for what you represent and if that changes in great strides, so will your audience.
Engaging your audience, building relationships to the brand and inspire sharing is the goal.
What do I mean by sharing? Not the kind when your boyfriend or girlfriend asks to share your delicious dessert… back away from the cake.
It’s the good kind of sharing that makes your target audience want to go tell ten friends about your brand that they love, then their friends will go tell ten friends. Sharing in today’s social media driven space makes a world of difference.
There’s a reason Instagram and Youtube stars exist… dang good marketing.
Once we’ve determined our target market we need to consider metrics. This is important because it requires that you create your own content, which is incredibly beneficial to creating an online brand for yourself. It’s also within your control since you are creating what is going out onto the web.
Creating your own content can positively impact your career!
Most social media outlets and web hosting sites allow you to view basic forms of media metrics. This means that if you host your own website, like mine (eliseberggreen.com), then you can go into the back end and see how many people for example view your blog posts, on what date, what time of day is most popular and what posts are doing the best. This makes it easy as can be to tell what content and posts are working versus what’s not. Simple hosting can be done at a cost efficient price point though sites like Wix and WordPress. This can also be done with your social media accounts on the back end. See what kind of content is working and what isn’t.
After reading all of this, if your head is spinning a great place to start is by Googling yourself.
See what type of content comes up and if it matches with the idea you have of yourself. Consider your image, personality and how much that lines up with what other’s impressions of you are. Nobody is telling you to change a thing about yourself, but if all the posts and search results that pop up are of your wild partying days, when you want people to take you seriously for the work you’ve accomplished in your career, consider increasing your shared content about your achievements and projects.
If you liked this article and want to see more like it, or similar content, feel free to reach out or comment below.
Creating a personal brand can be challenging, but by reading articles like this you’re already making progress!